The Leicestershire and Rutland Youth Sailing Association (LRYSA) was founded in 1967 operating from John Merrick’s Lake (Charnwood), Hinckley Wharf (Hinckley) and Bosworth Water Trust (Market Bosworth). The purpose of the LRYSA has always been to make water sports accessible and affordable to all sections of the community taking away the high costs and elitism of private clubs. We do this by charging no membership fee, providing all boats and equipment by fund raising ourselves, and by providing free instruction by our fully qualified volunteer instructors and coaches.

The LRYSA is a charity run wholly by unpaid volunteers (currently aged between 14 to 72) who are trained to the high standard set by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and all of its activities are governed by the standards and requirements of the RYA and of the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA) and all DBS checked.

Courses / Activities and who we reach …

Schools Training: 15 Leicestershire Schools in 2014 (from Syston to Hinckley) - Stage 1 + 2 Sailing and Canoeing

Dorothy Goodman School:  Wide range of Learning Difficulties - Stage 1 Sailing

Vista: Sight loss / The Blind - Stage 1 sailing

Mossaic: Severe disabilities - Basic water sports

Green Towers: Hard to reach / damaged backgrounds - Bell Boating and Team Building

General Mixed learning difficulties/physical impairments -Stage 1 sailing

Saturday morning Kids Club: for beginners of all abilities

Adult Sailing: Level 1 + 2

Advanced race training

Leicestershire Youth Racing Team: coaching and management. This is the only youth racing team representing Leicestershire nationally

Power boat/ safety boat training

Sailing Instructor training and qualifications (Assistant Instructors from 14 years +)

Racing coach training and qualifications

Organising and running local and national regattas

Who Benefits ?


Young people and adults from all backgrounds and abilities.  (The Race Team currently has 1 child with 50% sight, 2 with anorexia, 1 with autism and 1 with juvenile arthritis)

People on low income

People with low self esteem

People that have become isolated from society

People with dysfunctional families

People from areas of deprivation (including a number of schools in the 7 disadvantaged wards)

People recovering emotionally from mental illness issues

Sailors who want to progress on to become instructors, coaches and racing coaches

Sailors who want to progress to national and international competition

All of our sailors will have access to safe and usable equipment

Potential Outcomes


The potential impact of our activities for children and families attending our sessions ...

Promote Good Health and wellbeing and just having fun in the fresh air!

Provide a challenge by learning and developing new skills including working as a Team

Increase self-confidence, motivation and general self-worth

Improve communication / social interaction / comprehension / awareness skills

Provide the opportunity to gain RYA approved qualifications (with certificates) to gain a real sense of achievement

Provide an opportunity to become part of the race team (representing Leicestershire at national events)

Provide the opportunity to train as an instructor and volunteer their time to help others

Provide an environment where families can work together - parents & guardians are invaluable in the running of the LRYSA


Some of our recent Awards / Achievements …

LCC / 2006:  Best Schools Participation

LCC / 2007:  Award of Excellence

LRS / 2007:  Club of the Year

LCC / 2008:  Most improved Sport Association

RYA / 2008:  Community Award

LRS / 2009:  Club of the Year

LCC / 2010:  Most improved sports association

LRS / 2010:  Award of Excellence

LCC / 2011:  John Buckingham Award

LRS / 2012:  Club of the Year

HBBC / 2013:  Community Award

RYA / 2013:  Onboard

RYA / 2014:  Sailability (disabled sailing)

Many more awards have been presented to our volunteers and sailors over the years including a special award in 2013.  Our principal was awarded BBC East Midlands Sports Unsung Hero for 50 years volunteering for the disadvantaged.

Many of the young people who begin with us around the age of 9 or 10 continue with us until they are adults, and pursue careers from their experiences with the LRYSA.  One example is Mike Wood who began as a novice sailor aged 9 in 2005. Over the years Mike progressed on to become our racing team captain, and in 2010 became Topper World Champion.  Although Mike qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Rio he was unable to secure enough funding to take part.

Other successful careers begun with the LRYSA include Sports Science, Isle of White Cadetships, the Royal Navy, within the RYA and 2 of our former students now run water sports centres in Hull and Cornwall.