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2024 RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show 'delivers'!

by RYA Press Office 26 Feb 17:48 GMT 24-25 February 2024

Flying start to 2024 season as thousands come together in Farnborough

Farnborough International welcomed a vibrant celebration of small boat sailing and boardsports last weekend as thousands descended on the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show supported by Sunsail (24-25 February 2024).

The much-loved season-opening show brought together passion, knowledge and a thriving sense of community, with some 8,900 attendees seeking out opportunities to learn, shop and network to get the most out of their time on the water.

Featuring dinghy sailing, windsurfing, wingsurfing and foiling as well as paddleboarding, the show brings together participants, clubs, training centres, Class Associations, equipment manufacturers and retailers from right across the small boat sailing and boardsports community, all sharing their skills and expertise and helping more people spend more time afloat.

The show expanded to see 171 exhibitors joining this 2024 edition, with visitors from all over the UK as well as overseas including from France, Norway, Spain, Bermuda and Singapore.

Inspiration for the season

"There was just an amazing atmosphere across the show weekend, with so many people discovering new kit, skills and techniques to help them progress their water-based passions, and some healthy business relationships to be had as well," said RYA Director of Sport Development Rob Clark.

"The RYA organises this show to bring together the small boat sailing and watersports community and there's really nothing else like it in the world. We're a community that's so generous in sharing our time, knowledge and passion with others and that is so evident in what we saw across a fantastic weekend."

"We're incredibly grateful for the support from our principal sponsor Sunsail, event sponsors ePropulsion, Rockley and Sebago, our media partners and our amazing exhibitors and speakers. I'm certainly feeling inspired for the season ahead!"

Show highlights

There was standing room only at a majority of the expert talks and workshops across the show's three stages (Main Stage, Knowledge Zone and Watersports Stage), including show favourite Mark Rushall's talk on tactics, instructor Mia Adcock on wings and foils, and the British Sailing Squad iQFOiL women in their windfoiling workshop.

The British Sailing Team's Sam Whaley shared his expert tips on downwind ILCA sailing, there were winging and windsurfing masterclasses from, updates on Olympic Games and America's Cup preparations, and insights into the experiences of para sailors who showed there are no barriers to on-water adventures.

Prizes awarded

During the show weekend, the 1948 Olympic Firefly 'Jacaranda' was the winner of the prestigious Concours d'Elegance - best boat in show - while Draycote Water Sailing Club was crowned the RYA Club of the Year supported by Gallagher.

Fourteen university sailing clubs were recognised for their commitment to green actions in The Green Blue's University Sailing Sustainability Challenge, while on-water achievements were marked in the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series prize-giving, and with Lucas Meldrum picking up his UKWA Windsports Personality of the Year trophy.

What our visitors said

"This is our second year here now and we love it. There's lots of choice and plenty of excuses to spend some money! There's also more to do for the children and it caters for all ages so it's perfect."

"We've done a little bit of shopping and seen one or two talks and looked at some new products. It's nice to actually be able to touch things and see what they look like, rather than just looking on a computer screen."

"There's so much to see. It's about exposure to all of the excitement and buzz and things that are going on, with people who are passionate about what they're doing and what they believe in."

"The best thing is definitely the activities. You can experience things like wing foiling and trapezing."

"It's quite amazing to have the younger kids, the new generations coming up, alongside the elder 'statesmen' if you like and everything in between. We all come together and hang out in the same place at stands or some of the talks."

What our exhibitors said

RS Sailing: "The RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show is truly unique. No other show is like it anywhere in the world. To get small boating under one roof where it's only focused on the dinghy scene is truly special and if you're in that marketplace, you have to be here."

Harken: "The show itself is what keeps us coming back every year - the fact that we get to interact with the end user, the general public, dinghy enthusiasts across the country and globally. It just brings us back every year. It's a friendly show, lots of great trade as well with our friends and partners. We love to come back here every year."

Rockley Watersports: "We get to meet a whole range of different people, we get to promote our courses whether you've never been sailing before and everything right up to Advanced Instructor level. You get young squad sailors, grandma and grandpa who want to get back into sailing as well as little nippers who are just starting out on their sailing journey. We love the show, so we'll always be here."

Ease Distribution: "We've had a lot of high quality people who know what they're looking for, what to come and explore the products before they buy. You can't have a sport without having a shop window [like this]. It's fundamental that we're here to support our retailers. You have to sell the sizzle as well as the sausage and this is the sizzle, shows like this!"

Hartley Boats: "It's been an absolutely fantastic show. The Saturday was absolutely heaving and Sunday we were also still busy going into the closing hour. As an exhibitor it's really easy to come here, setting up and closing down is easier than ever for us. It's been great and we'll be back next year."

Andrew Simpson Performance Academy: "The show is great for the Performance Academy. We can see Class Associations, customers and some of the suppliers that we work with all under one roof. That's unique - you never get that at any other events."

Win a Sunsail holiday in Croatia

In celebration of the new partnership with the RYA, Sunsail is offering RYA members and attendees of the RYA Dinghy and Watersports Show the chance to win a seven-night bareboat charter holiday from Dubrovnik, Croatia. Find out more and enter now!

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