OnBoard at Portchester Sailing Club

‘OnBoard’ was developed by the RYA to encourage more young people onto the water through local sailing clubs and centres throughout the UK. The original aim was half a million new sailors and it is hoped to achieve that figure this year. By lending its support and expertise through County Development Officers the RYA has brought Sailing and Windsurfing within the scope of all young people. Portchester Sailing Club became actively involved in OnBoard in 2011. There are now over 200 clubs and centres flying the OnBoard flag.


‘Sailing and Windsurfing have everything – from a cool and sociable relaxing leisure pastime to – a high adrenaline high-performance sport!’


The OnBoard scheme is aimed at helping  clubs and centres to work with any local groups of young people such as schools, clubs, and other youth groups such as Scouts and Guides.

A PSC OnBoard course consists of 10 hours of instruction both on and off  the water. The school or youth group takes up one years temporary membership with PSC covering two staff and up to 12 children. The course follows the RYA Youth Sailing Scheme Stage One which gives a basic introduction and understanding of how a boat is rigged and sails.

In our first year, having gained all the necessary  County approval and completed CRB checks etc, we signed up a combined group from Portchester Community School and Cams Hill school.  Of the 12 students, one or two had sailed before but the majority had never been in a dinghy.  Whilst one youngster decided sailing was ‘not their style‘, the remaining 11 youngsters completed the course and all but one gained an RYA stage one certificate.

In 2012 we decided to aim at a younger age and approached Portchester Castle Street and Northern Portchester Primary Schools who agreed to work together and two rural schools Droxford and Swanmore who similarly agreed to share a course.  All of the schools have PSC members in their numbers.  Our offer was met with great enthusiasm  and two courses were booked.   Regrettably due to other commitments the local schools had to withdraw but their places were swiftly taken up by children from Swanmore Primary school.  Both May and June courses were completed despite the poor weather and 23 out of the 24 children completed the course and were each awarded an OnBoard and RYA Stage one certificate.

Three OnBoard children went on to take part and enjoy the club’s Summer Holiday Club in August and others have joined up as full members and fully enjoy club racing.

All the OnBoard Children were invited to take part in the annual  Hampshire OnBoard Festival at Spinnaker Sailing Club at Ringwood. This is a really fun day where the children, (and some parents!) get to try out different boats and have fun and games on and in the water.  This super day is run by Samantha Jones the RYA OnBoard Development officer for Hampshire!

We hope to be able to run at least two more OnBoard courses this year involving the two local schools above and have already been approached by schools further a field. A good deal of organisation is required to plan and run these courses together with many hours of volunteer time. However apart from when they receive their certificate, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing the satisfaction on a youngsters face as they sail away from the shore in ‘complete’ control of their ‘dinghy‘.


More information on OnBoard from the RYA at here:


Geoff Pavey

OnBoard Coordinator PSC

Related Links

Portchester Sailing Club Cruiser SailingOnBoard at Portchester Sailing Club
Portchester Sailing Club Dinghy SailingOnBoard at Portchester Sailing Club
Portchester Sailing Club TrainingOnBoard at Portchester Sailing Club
Portchester Sailing Club Club MembershipOnBoard at Portchester Sailing Club

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