In 2016, Eastbourne-based commercial centre, Buzz Active, together with Pevensey Bay Sailing Club (SC) launched a new social racing series aimed at providing a pathway to retain more youngsters who started sailing with the RYA OnBoard initiative.
Two summers on and the four-event ‘Buzz vs Bay’ series has been so successful that this year it is being extended to other members of the East Sussex Coastal Federation and more events. Buzz Active lead instructor Katy Wilfort takes up the story:
The initial idea for an Interclub Regatta Series came from our ongoing ‘Buzz V Bay’ series. This was a series that has been running for a number of years now; we would organise four dates a year to race against Pevensey Bay’s juniors. We would host two dates and they would host two.
During my second year at Buzz Active (2017) I was heavily involved in our RYA OnBoard Programme and saw how well ‘Buzz V Bay’ worked and thought why not roll it out as a bigger initiative to get more junior sailors into the world of racing.
This year I have managed to get Pevensey Bay SC, Newhaven & Seaford SC, Eastbourne Sovereign SC and our local Sea Cadet detachment definitely signed up, and Hastings and St. Leonards SC has expressed interest. So far we have events at Buzz Active on the 9 June and 4 August, Pevensey Bay are hosting on 7 July & 15 September and other dates are to be finalised.
The series is open to all local sailing clubs within the East Sussex Coastal Federation, and it will be a handicap series so any boat is welcome. Juniors of all abilities can enter – coaching will be given during the series so that everyone gains valuable skills and experiences. Where possible the juniors will sail to the hosting venue – another fantastic experience for them before the racing even starts!
Throughout the series there will be prizes on the day of each event for first, second and third; there will also be participation certificates for everyone so that everybody leaves with something. On the final event we will round up all the results and come up with an overall top three, as well as participation prizes and things like most improved racer, best capsize etc.
Weather permitting, Buzz Active plan to host an after race BBQ to give participants and families a chance to socialise and mull over the day’s racing.
The whole point of the series is it’s relaxed, there’s no pressure and the kids have fun. It isn’t serious racing, but it gives them different experiences, such as sailing over to the host club together, which helps to improve their skills. The best bit has been seeing sailors who’ve initially been quite nervous come back absolutely beaming.
To discover how to get into sailing across London and the South East visit “start boating” at http://www.rya.org.uk/rya-regions/london-south-east/Pages/hub.aspx