Royal Dart Youth Sailing Trust

The Trust aims to help young people in South Devon benefit from being able to sail or be involved with water-based sport and in particular to enable those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to do so.

Founded in 2016

The Royal Dart Youth Sailing Trust (RDYST) was formed in 2016 as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of The Royal Dart Yacht Club. It has charitable status and relies upon donations to fund activities on the River Dart for local youngsters.

Aim of the Trust
The Trust’s aim is to help local young people to benefit from being able to sail, especially those who might otherwise not have the opportunity. Indeed one of our past participants made the comment “I thought sailing is only for posh people” and this is a shame as we want to encourage enjoyment of being on the water. Hence the Trust’s aim is to make it possible for local youngsters to benefit from the challenge of participating in water sports on our beautiful River Dart under the care and guidance of RYA registered instructors.

2024 Activities

We want to build on our successes from previous years and offer a varied programme of activities throughout the age groups. The keenest are supported to achieve Assistant Instructor qualifications. These ‘home grown’ instructors are fantastic role models for their younger colleagues and maybe for some, a launch into a career in sailing.

Summer Programme
Below are the details of our exciting programme for summer 2024 which we are pleased to be offering free to participants and our local schools. The programme is designed to give a flavour of water based activities, many of these youngsters having not had the opportunity to learn to sail despite living close to the water.

Schools Weeks
This initiative is broad based and aims to give a taster to all students, from top end of primary (10/11 year olds) through the year groups to the older teenagers. Many of them will be on the river for the first time, perhaps a bit nervous. At the end of the day most are wet and happy having developed team building skills, learnt the basic principles of how to get a boat sailing and with a RYA qualification.
School Activities
Year 6 – (Age 10/11yrs) – Dinghy sailing in our Quests at the RDYC for 6 local primary schools, including Dartmouth Academy, St John, Galmpton, East Allington, Blackawton, and Stoke Fleming Primary. Offered to all and approximately 130 pupils to take part.
Year 7 – (Age 11/12yrs) – Dartmouth Academy pupils, we fund c.60 places for paddleboarding on the river
Year 8 – (Age 12/13yrs) – Dartmouth Academy pupils, we fund c.70 pupils kayaking on the river.
Year 9 – (Age 13/14yrs) – We support 24 pupils to spend 2 days each working towards their stage 1, RYA qualification as part of the Dartmouth Academy Challenge Week (a time when pupils are off timetable to develop personal skills)
Year 10 – (Age 14/15yrs) – 15 pupils to spend 5 nights sailing from Poole to Brixham on a 30m sail training vessel, the Prolific. The Ocean Youth Trust South is an adventure sail training charity who are well qualified in developing the potential of the teenagers they take to sea.
RDYC Junior Sailing – The Trust is funding 2 pupils from  Dartmouth Academy to attend and complete RYA Stage 1 dinghy sailing. 2 pupils who completed their Stage 1 last year will be returning for their Stage 2. This forms part of an ongoing pathway towards an Assistant Dinghy Instructor qualification

Future Instructors
Over the past few years the Trust has helped over 500 local 11 year olds enjoy training on our Quest dinghies. The Trust’s programme supports those with the ability and motivation to work through the RYA qualifications to become Assistant Dinghy Instructors,

RDYST buys new Toppers

To run the Schools Weeks the children need boats!
And so the other part of fundraising for the Trust is to ensure that there is a suitable and sea-worthy fleet of dinghies to deliver the courses. As a continuing process to keep our fleet up-to-date, in 2023 we bought 4 new Toppers. The older teenagers can make use of the Seascape keel boat the Trust provides to help bridge the transition from dinghies through to yacht racing.

Raising Funds

Standing Orders are a good way to give. These regular contributions give the Trust the comfort of knowing a fixed income is coming in.

There are simple methods of fund raising that individuals can sign up to such as Easyfundraising. We would encourage anyone to sign up for these. It’s easy, cost free and effortless. When you make online purchases the seller donates to your cause.

Or please donate to us by bank transfer to:
Account Name: Royal Dart Youth Sailing Trust
Sort Code: 52-30-20
Account no: 33126038
or by sending a cheque to the RDYC office, made payable to RDYST.

If you are a UK taxpayer, you can download a Gift-Aid form here
If you would like any further information please contact our Chair: John Ellwood  (see contact details below)

Want to get involved with the Royal Dart Youth Sailing Trust?

For more information: contact John Ellwood, RDYST Chairman, c/o RDYC, 01803 752496 or

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