Scottish Sailing Institute

24 Mar

Update on behalf of sportscotland and Royal Yachting Association, Scotland.

sportscotland National Centre Cumbrae and RYA Scotland have been working with the Board of Directors of the Scottish Sailing Institute (SSI) to develop a sustainable Scotland wide training & event resource for 2017 and beyond. These new arrangements will enable clubs and classes, through out Scotland, access to world class race management and training and event support.

  Cumbrae understands that clubs & classes have very “bespoke” requirements for race management and training and also the hire of equipment for their events. For this reason Cumbrae are encouraging clubs & classes to contact the Centre directly to discuss their requirements. With further discussions a “package” will then be worked on to meet the bespoke requirements.

  Further to this, by utilising the marketing support available through sportscotland, Cumbrae & Inverclyde and RYA Scotland and engaging with interested organisations and clubs, continued efforts will be made to bring water sports events to Scotland, so making the most of Scotland’s naturally varied locations, complementing the world class championship facilities in Largs.

The SSI “brand” will still be nationally & internationally promoted due to its track record and reputation of organising world class events, whilst in 2017 operating within the work of Cumbrae.

  Further details on how to access the support and resources available will be found from 1st April 2017 on the Scottish Sailing Institute Website.

By Viki

Senior Instructor Training

07 Mar

Those considering the RYA Senior Instructor course would do well to read the words below of former SI candidate Ian Munro Ian did the course a few years ago but his insight is just as relevant today. He helps dispel the myths and share the reality of RYA Senior Instructor training. The next Senior Instructor course is on the 8th - 11th April 2019 at Cumbrae for more info click here or give us a call 01475 530 757

  “As I travelled to Cumbrae I have to admit to feeling a little apprehensive about the RYA Senior Instructor Training and Assessment that lay ahead. My nervousness was based on anecdotal tails recounting the mercilessness of SI training. I had convinced myself that we would spend the next four days sailing rudderless, and backwards, and with our eyes shut and spinnakers up etc etc I am sure you get the picture, and so it was on the night before the course began I found myself …calming my nerves with a fish supper.

  The next morning 13 budding SIs met with their coach / assessors who outlined what lay ahead, and to be honest, this was a fairly pivotal moment in the whole process for me. From the outset, our coaches created a safe, enthusiastic and constructive environment. As a group we even took time to share our hopes and fears for the course, which I think helped put everyone at ease. Now, this is not to say that the next four days were exclusively about pats on the back, massaging egos and giving false praise; instead, honest and insightful advice was given on how to make the SI standard. We were also shown clearly how we would be assessed over the course, and told that any areas of concern would be flagged up early on so that there was time to make amends.

  With the scene set, the time had come to get out on the water and lead sessions, sessions which we had been given advance notice of. This was a nice feature of the course, we were fully in the loop and there were no real surprises as to what would be expected of us on a daily basis. Indeed, you always had a wee bit of time to organise your sessions, and drawing on the experience of your fellow candidates was fully encouraged. In practice, building sessions together actually meant that we could develop targeted areas of our own personal sailing as the course progressed.

  We soon settled into an established pattern of sailing during the day, and then contributing to candidate led discussions in the evening. The discussions were fantastic: the topics had been carefully selected by our coaches and they provided the perfect framework for candidates to share their varied experiences. I think everyone had their own area of expertise and I certainly learned a lot.

  There was a really natural progression throughout the whole course, both in terms of theory and on the water. For example, on the second day we discussed different learning styles, and then built them into our briefs and debriefs. On the water, we started the course in singlehanders, before progressing to doublehanders and then onto performance boats. On the final day we were given a group task.

  What ‘made’ the SI training for me was two things. Firstly, the experience, enthusiasm and camaraderie of the candidates: we were very much a team, and whether it be sharing ideas or grabbing a racing mark for a session, we backed each other up. Secondly, the feedback offered by the coaches was first class. Everyone knew where they were at, and were offered specific advice on how to improve. Indeed, as I departed from the course I was genuinely sorry that it was all over, although this did not stop me from grabbing a celebratory ice cream!”

  With thanks to Ian Munro

By Viki

Instructor Vacancies

15 Feb

Cumbrae is currently inviting interested watersports Instructors who wish to be included in our pool of Associate Instructors to submit an application form for working at National Centre Cumbrae. Shortlisted applicants will then be invited to attend the relevant Staff Inductions as part of the selection process. Please note we are recruiting for two separate types of posts; Centre based Watersports Instructors and for Cruising / Yachtmaster Instructors. The application form is the same for both posts Please note the closing dates are different to accommodate the required staff induction training 

  Shortlisted candidates from the application process will be contacted and will be expected to attend the appropriate Induction days at the National Centre Cumbrae. 

Candidates applying for both Cruising Instructor and Centre Watersports Instructor will need to attend both Inductions,.however please complete only one application form and submit by 16th February, (the Cruising Instructor closing date) 

1 - Centre Watersports Instructor: Your role as a Casual Instructor will be to provide high quality instruction at the Cumbrae centre. You will be a skilled water sports Instructor, with appropriate NGB Instructor qualifications in one or more of the following disciplines: dinghy sailing, windsurfing, powerboating, and paddlesports. You should also have experience of working in a training centre, delivering water sports to a wide variety of client groups. Instructors must have excellent organisational and communication skills.

  Centre Watersports Instructors, Closing date for completed application is: Friday 16th March 2018

  “Save the date”. Inductions for shortlisted Centre Watersports Instructors will be on Saturday 31st March and Sunday 1st April 2018. You will need to attend both days.

2 – Cruising / Yachtmaster Instructors Your role as a Casual Instructor will be to provide high quality instruction on board one of our yachts. You will be a skilled Instructor, with either RYA Cruising or RYA Yachtmaster Instructor qualification. You should also have previous experience of working at a RYA training centre and delivering RYA syllabus’s to a wide variety of client groups. Instructors must have excellent organisational and communication skills.

Cruising / Yachtmaster Instructors, closing date for completed application is: Friday 16th February 2018

  “Save the date” Inductions for shortlisted Cruising / Yachtmaster Instructors will take place on Saturday 3rd March 2018, please be available for this day.

  Please complete the application form. and send to More Information and an application form for both posts can be obtained by following this link 

By Viki

Laser darts for SALE

03 Feb

An exciting opportunity to purchase a Laser dart 16 sailing catamaran. Purchased new in 2005 by Cumbrae these “cats” provide a great sense fun, exhilaration and speed while also providing a stable platform compared with many other types of dinghy. The boat comes with a set of launching trolley wheels. and the sails have been replaced since we originally purchased the boats in 2005. They are being sold on an “as seen basis”.

If you are interested and / or if you wish to come and have a look or test sail then please contact us on 01475 530 757.

We have three Dart 16s for sale which could make them an attractive “bulk” purchase for a club.

Cost each is £1,400 (this includes VAT).

By Viki

Get Ready For The Season - Day Skipper Theory Course - Glasgow, (Feb - March)

30 Jan

Cumbrae is running an RYA Day Skipper Shorebased course at Clyde Cruising Clubs Bardowie Loch venue. The course is being run over a series of dates; Sun 12th Feb, Sun 19th Feb, Sat 25th Feb and the weekend Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th March.

  This classroom based courses provides a sound introduction to; Chartwork and Navigation, Safety and Rules of the Road, Passage Planning, Weather, Tides and Pilotage. The course is being delivered by Cumbrae Instructors in Glasgow at Bardowie Loch, Milngavie. Spaces are now available on this course which has been opened out by the club to anyone wishing to take part, As this is an introductory course no prior experience is necessary although some prior experience of sailing will help with understanding of some of the theoretical concepts

  The cost of the course is £240 This includes the course fee and the training pack complete with charts and exercises as well as the accompanying training almanac. candidates will need to provide their own packed lunch. To book a place on this course or for more information please call the Cumbrae centre on 01475 530 757.

By Viki

Happy New Year - We re-open on 9th January 2017

04 Jan

All the staff at Cumbrae wish you a very happy new year, While the office is closed until Monday the 9th January, our full range of 2017 course are now available to book online. Instructional and office staff will be back on the 9th Jan and will be happy to discuss courses options or group bookings with you then if you have any questions

  We look forward to seeing you out on the water in 2017

By Viki

Natalie McWilliams, the first female Scottish Windsurf Champion, gives us some insight…

13 Dec

A catch-up with Natalie McWilliams

  Natalie is a seasonal insturctor at Cumbrae and, in September, became the first female to claim the title of Scottish Windsurf Champion. She’s 21 and currently studying at Aberdeen. She recently took some time out to provide some insight to sportscotland, below:

  How did you get into windsurfing?

  I got into windsurfing at age 11, when my mum enrolled me in a taster course activity day at our local lake, James Hamilton Heritage Park. On this day, I tried sailing, windsurfing and canoeing but of course fell in love with windsurfing so persuaded my parents to do the Start windsurfing course and from then on I became addicted and went along to the local Team 15 club where I improved and learnt in a fun environment.

  What was your experience of sport when you were younger? What were the challenges you faced?

  Sport has always been a big part of my live. From very young I was part of swimming club, athletic club, as well as dancing. All of which I got to a reasonable standard with. However, being an outdoors type of girl and loving to be near the sea I took every opportunity to jump to the sport of windsurfing. Windsurfing is sometimes seen as a mainly male dominated sport and it has been great to see more girls within the sport.

  What does it mean to you to have become the first female Scottish Windsurf Champion?

  It’s so amazing and such an excellent achievement. The weekend consisted of hard conditions and competitors who were on bigger sails and boards than me, making it a challenge to try and beat them.However, that is part of the fun and winning this event has gave me the encouragement and determination to go further and improve my skills.

What transferable skills have you gained, both from competitive sport and being an instructor?

  As an Ex Scottish Squad member for several years and being in the British youth squad, I learnt a lot and had the chance to make friends from all over the world. This understanding of how people react and respond has in turn allowed for me to adapt and encourage people intowindsurfing, as an Instructor. It has taught me to participate and work as a team as well as developing leadership skills.

  How do you balance training and competing with your studies?

  To make sure that my assignments are performed to the best of my ability, I start assignments as soon as they are given, allowing me to spread work over a couple of weeks, rather than crushing it into the last few days before it is due. I have found this is the best way to balance my training and competing with university work.

  Why do you think it’s important for girls to be involved in sport and physical activity?

  I think it’s important because it helps lead to happier and healthier lifestyle and you can make lots of new friends and learn new skills. Also, physical activity is a good stress buster. Thanks to windsurfing I have also travelled worldwide seeing a variety of places, such as San Francisco, Helsinki and Cesme for example.

  What do you think stops some girls from getting active, and what do you think might encourage them? I feel that some feel self-conscious about what other think and I believe no matter what shape, size, appearance and goals you have. You should do everything possible to achieve it, no matter what other people think.

  What advice would you have for girls considering taking up a new sport such as windsurfing?

  Find a local club or enrol in a course in the many activities offered at the National Centre Cumbrae…but most of all go have fun, go out with others and don’t be afraid to ask and talk to other budding windsurfers. Everyone is friendly and helpful.

By Viki


08 Dec

NEWS RELEASE on behalf of the SSI Board


As a result of a challenging financial environment, the board of directors of The Scottish Sailing Institute (SSI) has agreed to merge the SSI with the sportscotland National Centre Cumbrae in order to sustain a Scotland wide event resource for the future. The new arrangements will ensure the SSI continues to work closely with RYA Scotland, clubs and classes to provide world class event support through out Scotland.

  Utilising the marketing support available through Inverclyde and RYA Scotland, the SSI will continue to seek to bring sailing events to Scotland making the most of Scotland’s naturally varied locations and the world class championship facilities in Largs.

  Continued support will include race management training, event consultancy and physical resources to enable clubs all across Scotland to benefit from the world class water sports event management experience held within the SSI. Coordination of race management training will be undertaken by RYA Scotland and will enable more courses to be delivered across Scotland. The physical resources will be accommodated by sportscotland in its facilities at Cumbrae & Inverclyde, in Largs and will be available for hire in 2017.

  Further details on how to access the support and resources available will be found on the Cumbrae Website in 2017.

  The SSI Board is confident that these changes will secure the skills, experience and resources of the SSI for the future and will ensure Scotland continues to attract events to our shores.

  Quote from John Kent – Principal sportscotland National Centre Inverclyde & Cumbrae:

“The merger is a great opportunity for Scottish sailing to take advantage of the skills & equipment developed over 17 years of operation. By joining the SSI with sportscotland and working closely with RYA Scotland the SSI will be able to offer a truly Scottish service in 2017. sportscotland, Event Scotland and the RYA& RYA(S) will be working closely together to also attract major sailing events to Scotland and Largs. 2017 sees the SSI expanding its horizons for the benefit of Scottish sailing.”

  Quote James Allan of RYA Scotland:

“The SSI has been a key element in securing major sailing events for Scotland over the years. I am pleased that the partners have been able to come together and find an arrangement that keeps the core elements of the SSI available for everyone to benefit from and maintains the commitment to Largs as the premier location in Scotland for major national and international sailing events.”

  Quote Ewan Macpherson Commodore of Largs Sailing Club:

“Largs Sailing Club looks forward to continuing to work closely with RYA Scotland, sportscotland, the Scottish Sailing Institute, Largs Yacht Haven and other partners, building upon almost two decades of success in the hosting and delivering almost 200 major Scottish, UK and World Championship sailing events. Together with contributions from across Scotland we have forged a world class team with a reputation which extends across the oceans. We look forward to working closely with all of our partners to build upon this success into the future.”

By Viki

Cumbrae’s Tom shortlisted for RYAs ‘Official of the Year’ Award

01 Dec

Hard work pays off…

  We’re delighted that the dedication and effort put in by Cumbrae’s Tom Thurlow is being recognised at the upcoming RYAs Annual Awards Dinner in January. Tom has been shortlisted for the ‘Official of the Year’ Award.

  Congratulations and Good Luck to all the nominees!

  For more information visit:

By Viki

A ‘Cumbrae Christmas’: Gift Vouchers Now on Sale!

24 Nov

Thinking of purchasing something a little bit different this Christmas?

  Why not give the gift of a memorable experience at Cumbrae?



  It’s a gift that offers great flexibility so just call the centre on 01475 530 757 or email if you’d like to make a purchase.

By Viki

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