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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.

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Founded in 2016


The 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 it's activities.

The charity aims to help young people to benefit from being able to sail, especially those children who might otherwise not have the opportunity. The mission of RDYST is to correct this. It aims to make it possible for many more local youngsters to benefit from the challenge of participating in water sports on the beautiful River Dart.

We want our local youth to enjoy sailing on the waters of the River Dart under the care and guidance of RYA registered instructors. Sailing in small boats is exciting. It gives children the chance to take responsibility for their craft, learn the mechanics of sailing and enjoy healthy competition. It builds teamwork and is really fun!

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2022 Taster Weeks


Our main events are the three Schools' Weeks. This initiative gives children a taste of water sport on the river and many of them will be out enjoying sailing, possibly for the first time, where they are able to progress through the RYA Youth Training Scheme.

They achieve RYA Stage One qualification. Essentially this is the basic principles of how to get a boat sailing.

Imagine the sense of personal achievement and confidence that inspires in a young person. Each day they arrive excited but anxious and wary. They end the day wet and happy. They’ve earned a qualification, learnt new skills, made new friends and sometimes opened a new door to future employment in a marine environment.

Over the past few years the taster weeks have helped over 100 local Year 6 children and this year pupils from Dartmouth Academy, St John, Kingswear, East Allington, Blackawton, and Stoke Fleming primary schools will all enjoy training on our Quest dinghies.

We use as many of our ‘home-grown’ young instructors as possible and it was particularly pleasing that the school children were taught mainly by older teenage RYA-qualified instructors who had successfully progressed through many years in our own RDYC-based Junior Sailing programme.

The RDYST has supported 3 youngsters through RDYC Junior Sailing to achieve their Stage 1. The Trust will continue to support them to instructor level. The plan is to support a similar number in the coming years.

A number of pupils have sent letters of thanks to their instructors. For the RDYC assistant instructors and dinghy instructors the initiative provided by the RDYST enables them to put their skills to better use, learning not only to be better sailors but how to impart their knowledge to others. A win/win situation.

The Trust also supports older children. This year Dartmouth Academy (Secondary) will include sailing as part of their Challenge Week and 2 groups of 13 pupils will come for 2 days, each working to gain Stage 1.

In addition, 12 pupils will complete a 5-day sail on ‘Prolific’, a 26m, 114 tonne sail training ship built in 2005 and 6 pupils will race aboard ‘Pegasus’, a 30m sailing vessel in the Channel Classic Regatta between Plymouth and Paimpol. in July.

RDYST Dinghy Fleet


In addition to supporting dinghy sailing training for juniors, the Trust also seeks to ensure that there is a suitable and sea-worthy fleet of dinghies to deliver the courses. Recently the Trust bought a Seascape keel boat to help bridge the transition of the oldest teenagers through to yacht racing. The boats are maintained by the RDYC.

Raising Funds


The Trust has no regular source of income other than fund raising. Whilst a Sport England grant and sponsorship by Rockfish restaurant have, in previous years, been very important, so too were Gift-Aided donations from individual RDYC members and the fantastically well-supported auction of promises.

Covenants are also 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 Amazon Smile and 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.

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