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Horning Sailing Club Junior Regatta and RYA OnBoard Festival

by Michael Haigh, RYA 13 Sep 2014 08:02 BST 6 September 2014
Sailors at Horning Sailing Club Junior Regatta and RYA OnBoard Festival © RYA

Young sailors enjoyed a fun filled celebration of sailing at Horning Sailing Club's (HSC) Junior Regatta and RYA OnBoard Festival on 6 September 2014.

Some 48 young sailors between 8 and 16 years old, many of whom were introduced to sailing by the RYA OnBoard scheme through their schools, cub, scout or guide groups, took part. The regatta, held on the River Bure in front of the HSC's clubhouse, rounded off the season's training and put into practise all the skills learnt during the year.

The OnBoard fleet of less experienced sailors enjoyed a shorter, more informal course, while the more experienced sailors raced more competitively and had a coach on hand to provide tips as they sailed.

RYA sailing development officer Holly Hancock said: "After three races were completed, there was the opportunity for the youngsters and their mums and dads to have a sail in the Quba dinghies loaned by RS. This proved extremely popular and we struggled to get everyone off the water at the end of the day, they were having too much fun!

Mia Stenning (9) won the Tera and Optimist fleet. Mia only started sailing this year at OnBoard sessions for Horning Primary School and this was her first time racing.

The silver fleet was won by Josh Palmer (11). Josh, now in his second season, also started sailing with OnBoard and Horning Primary School. Jack Copping (9) took the honours in the gold fleet, and Charlotte Hammond (14) the fast handicap fleet.

Endeavour awards went to James Pettit (10) from Horstead and Grace Thrower (10) from Ludham.

James sailed his Topper in the gold fleet: he wasn't near the front of the fleet but kept on persevering. Grace sailed a Topper in the silver fleet. Having only recently made the transition from an Oppie dinghy to a larger Topper Grace was forced to retire in the first race, but she didn't give up and went back out for the second and third races.

Grace said: "I was totally surprised and so happy to get the award. It's made me realise that while I am bit nervous about sailing the Topper and sometimes things don't go very well, it's given me self belief that I can do it. The club is a brilliant happy place that has really helped and encouraged me to get over my fears. Thank you, I can't wait to come back to training next year."

Grace's parents Elaine and Guy added: "We are totally thrilled that Grace was chosen for this award. It has given her a massive boost. Grace has made some firm friends at the club and learnt new skills; it's been such a positive experience for her. Thank you so much."

Special achievement medals went to Kris Hayton (10) sailing an Oppie, who sailed despite being rather nervous at first, and Molly Barnham (8) and Bethan Nunhuck-Crook (8), both sailing RS Teras for the first time.

Molly, from Hoveton, said: "I loved every minute of it, especially trying out the Quba; now I want to buy one. Mum says I'll have to get a job first!"

A barbecue and buffet after sailing rounded off a memorable day, which Holly summed up: "The event was the perfect end to a fantastic season at Horning Sailing Club. Although the light winds could have proved problematic, this was turned around by Horning's great team of volunteers into a positive, with the young people's confidence growing all day, and everyone leaving with huge smiles on their faces. The RS Qubas loaned to the Club were a huge hit, and everyone wanted a go!"

Thanks go to RS Sailing who provided three Quba dinghies for the event.

Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres.

Over a ten year period OnBoard has introduced 500,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK and aims to covert 10% of them into regular participants. So far it's nicely on track.

For more information about RYA OnBoard and how you can get involved with the programme visit www.rya.org.uk/go/onboard

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