The countdown is on to the 2024 RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show and the full line-up of guest speakers is confirmed. The experts will be on hand to inspire and guide you in your own watersports journey over the season-opening showcase (24-25 February) at Farnborough International.
Packed with adventure, workshops, masterclasses and top advice from some of the biggest names in the small boat sailing and watersports worlds, the Show boasts three stages with experts to help you progress, whatever your level.
Olympic gold medallist Eilidh McIntyre joins the hosting team this year and alongside Lee Timothy will guide you through proceedings on the Main Stage and Knowledge Zone, while the Watersports Stage will be hosted by windsurfing legends Peter Hart and James Hardy, talking you through all things boardsports including windsurfing, windfoiling, winging and paddleboarding.
Here’s a flavour of what’s on offer over the weekend…
This year boasts two of sailing’s biggest global events – the Paris Olympic Games and the America’s Cup – and they’ll be bringing you the inside track on both of them during the Show.
Sailing was the first sport to select athletes for Team GB at this summer’s Olympics and with momentum to Marseille rapidly building, ‘Going for Gold’ (15:00–15:30) will hear from RYA Performance Director Mark Robinson on the British Sailing Team’s preparations and Games debutant Fynn Sterritt (Saturday only) on his journey to the Olympic startline. The talk will also shine a spotlight on the Crew4Gold talent ID scheme which aims to fast-track talented female athletes into the fast-paced world of 49erFX crewing.
‘Future Foiling Stars’ (12:30–13:15) will welcome coach Penny Clark and Hattie Rogers, James Crossley and Noah Fitzgerald of the Athena Pathway to share insights into preparations for the Youth and inaugural Puig Women’s America’s Cups this autumn and routes into the high performance foiling world.
Neil Peters, alter ego Stick Daring, dared to conquer the unpredictable waters of Britain anti-clockwise aboard his £50 Laser dinghy. You can relive his journey through vivid narratives and captivating images in ‘The Amazing Adventures of Stick Daring’ (14:15-15:00), while ‘Sailing the Shallows’ (11:45-12:30) sees returning Show favourite Roger Barnes sharing his tales of dinghy cruising around the coast.
British Sailing Team meteorologist Simon Rowell will be sharing weather tips to help you best prepare for your time on the water (‘Forecasting to get ahead’, 13:30-14:15), and you can hear about the experiences of para sailors Rory McKinna, Adam Billany and Jazz Turner in ‘Racing without limits’ (15:30-16:00).
You’ll find a host of practical workshops, talks and demos across the weekend in the Knowledge Zone.
Leading coach, tactician and RYA author Mark Rushall will be sharing his expertise in ‘Let’s talk tactics’ (11:00-11:45) including understanding wind shifts, faster racing starts, using a race compass and getting round the marks first.
Michael McNamara returns with his expert rigging knowledge in ‘In Tune – the hull, the rig, the sailor’ (11:45-12:30) to get you set up for success, while the British Sailing Team’s Sam Whaley is back with his top tips for boosting your ILCA downwind speed (15:30-16:15).
Understand how to harness that perfect helm-crew dynamic in our ‘Crewing masterclass’ (12:30-13:15) where Olympic gold medallist Eilidh McIntyre, RS500 champion Sarah Cockerill and leading 49er crew Fynn Sterritt (Saturday only) will be examining what makes a winning pairing.
British Sailing Team physio ‘H’ Draper will share tips to get you fit, whatever your goals, and help prevent injury this season in ‘Get race fit’ (14:00-14:45), followed by RS Feva and 420 coach Jake Elsbury and Optimist Lead Coach Josh Atherton will help prepare young racers for the year ahead in their ‘Youth and junior season starter’ session (14:45-15:30).
James Hardy and RYA Wing Instructor Mia Adcock will kick off proceedings with ‘Wings and foils’ (11:00-11:45), exploring the latest in foil and wing design, how to choose the right kit to get you up and flying and how to tune for performance.
Mia will then welcome Rachel Dobrijevic in the ‘She Flies’ session (12:30-13:15) talking about the winging initiative helping inspire women to start their own foiling journey, and will be joined by James Hardy and UK Wingfoil Slalom National Champion Hugo Dobrijevic for ‘Level up your winging’ from 15:30-16:15. This session will explore common mistakes and how to achieve your first flights as well as advancing your technique.
For windsurf and windfoil fans, James and Peter Hart have you covered. Peter will be sharing his expertise in ‘Windsurfing kit – no more confusion!’ (11:45-12:30) exploring the various categories and disciplines and how to choose the right kit.
Peter will explore classic windsurfing stumbling blocks, and how to overcome them, in his ‘Windsurf technique masterclass’ (14:00-14:45), while James and British Sailing Squad iQFOiL athletes Catrin Williams, Alice Read and Charlie Dixon (Sunday only) will talk all things windfoiling in their ‘Windfoiling workshop’ (14:45-15:30).
SUP rider Holly Bassett will share her ‘Essential tips for paddleboarders’ (13:15-14:00) offering advice on kit and technique for paddling in all conditions and location.
With over 170 exhibitors, brand new kit, hands-on displays, and stages crammed with experts and inspiration, the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show has something for everyone.
There’s also lots to keep even the youngest visitors entertained, including sailing and wingsurfing simulators, a windsurfing VR experience and a model boat pool for friendly competition. Our ever-popular treasure hunt will have the little ones on the lookout for their favourite marine wildlife as you browse the exhibitor stands, with some superb prizes up for grabs.
Kids aged 15 and under go free all weekend when accompanied by a ticketed adult.
Get your tickets today! RYA Members can access a complimentary ticket worth £21 for one or both days of the event.