Off The Water’s Podcast
Off The Water - Episode 16 - The Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust

Off The Water - Episode 16 - The Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust

July 5, 2021

The RYA Scotland podcast catches up with sail based charity the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust who have a base in Scotland. We find out a little more about how they use sailing to help rebuild the confidence of young people in recovery from cancer along with the plans for restarting activities this summer.

Since starting activities at Largs in 2013, Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust has welcomed hundreds of young people to Largs with support from the Peoples Postcode Lottery. The impact of the trust has been immense not just for the young people, but also for the volunteer, medics and skippers. 

James Hall and Scott Wilson of EMCT join Marc Turner, who has also been a skipper with the trust, to discuss what the trust does and how they have managed to build confidence in young people using the Trust trips. 

To find out more about the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust visit:






Off The Water - Episode 15 - The Hunter Family

Off The Water - Episode 15 - The Hunter Family

May 30, 2021

It is widely acknowledged that many people get involved in sailing through family participation, and this episode explores this with a quiet, unassuming family from the Isle of Arran as the Off The Water podcast catches with the Hunter family.

They are an inspiration on so many levels as they all have made a profession out of sailing, through their passion for all the activities on offer, from racing to cruising and the limitless sense of adventure it allows.

Ian and Sally have shared many nautical miles in ocean crossings and deliveries, although Sally’s involvement in the first all-female entry, Maiden, in the 1989/90 Whitbread Round The World Race was both iconic and trailblazing.

Together they had two boys who they immediately shared their love of sailing by taking them on extensive cruises around the West Coast of Scotland from the carry cot right up until their own sailing took them further afield.

Rory and Neil have carried on the family tradition on the world stage with some significant successes, both sailing together in the 29er and then in separate trajectories. Rory having won the 2019 Waspz games in Australia and Neil being called up to the UK America’s Cup teams in 2017 and 2021, to name a couple of highlights.

So we thought it would be great to get them all together and find out more about their journey as a family and the magic that has made them so successful in the sport and inspirational for any cruising family heading afloat this summer.

Here’s some more links about their past and present sailing voyages.

Hunter Yacht Deliveries:

Sally Hunter – Anything is Possible Bio:

Neil Hunter Bios:

Rory’s next adventure:



Off The Water - Episode 14 - Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Off The Water - Episode 14 - Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

March 22, 2021

In this episode of the Off The Water podcast we dive into equality, diversity and inclusion.

This is a clearly a huge area and can be perceived in many ways by different groups and individuals. To provide some insights we asked two new members of the RYA Scotland team to hold a discussion on the topic to bring out some key themes for them around the perception of our sport and to share their experiences and realities of the topic.

Georgia Moran has just joined as the Regional Development Officer for the East after a number of years working with Scottish Student Sport, while Robyn Phillips takes on the new role of Training Development Officer after working with Aberdeenshire Sailing Trust. They both share a passion for equality and inclusion within sport, bringing experiences on gender equality, LGBT, accessibility and aspects of financial inequality in projects they have been involved in.

Hosts Nikki Stewart and Liza Linton help set some context during a time of International Women’s Day and the launch of the RYA Strategy of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion which aims to create more opportunities for all to get on the water.

To provide wider context sportscotland conducted research in March 2020 around Equality and sport and is available below:

The RYA Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2021-2030:


Off The Water - Episode 12 -The Environment

Off The Water - Episode 12 -The Environment

February 21, 2021

The 12th episode of Off The Water explores the environment which we enjoy our activities within. As both a global and local issue it can be perceived as overwhelming and certainly has many aspects to understand where we can help reduce our impact on it and maintain it for future generations. 

Certainly it takes a positive collective attitude and many small steps to reach the net zero goal set out by world leaders, but what can we do in the boating community? 

Hosts Robin Nicol and Marc Turner open up the discussion with three inspirational people who serve up several examples of good practice and highlight resources and support that can help on this journey.  

Angie Fraser joins us from Aberdeenshire Sailing Trust, an RYA affiliate that has implemented a number of efficiencies on a road to net zero, taking the little steps that they can do themselves and for clubs in the region.  Kate Fortnam, is the campaign manager for The Green Blue, an initiative between British Marine and the RYA to help the boating community reduce their impact on coastal and inland waters. Barry Fisher is the CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful the charity for Scotland’s environment, who also has a keen interest in sailing having been General Manager for the Ocean Youth Trust Scotland.

The discussion touches on some useful sources of funding and support including:

The Green Blue provides resources for individuals, facilities and businesses:

The Climate Challenge Fund :

Community resources from Keep Scotland Beautiful:

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations :

Foundation Scotland :






Off The Water - Episode 11 - Volunteering

Off The Water - Episode 11 - Volunteering

January 23, 2021

Off The Water is back for 2021 with a new season of conversations which affect the boating community in Scotland.

Hosts Nikki Stewart and Jack Mitchell share an interview which gets to heart of why we volunteer and about the ethos and culture of our volunteers. RYA Scotland are fortunate as we have a volunteer run board with one person in particular who works in the voluntary sector and has agreed to share their experiences of volunteering.

Helen Keenan, is head of Volunteering for Marie Curie UK and she brings unique insights from her career in volunteer management. Helen joined RYA Scotland as a Non Executive Director for Volunteering in 2019, providing a voice on the board with genuine expertise in this area that is fundamental for our sport and activities. While the only boat she has been on is a ferry, her perspective is challenging and very welcome as we move through big challenges for the voluntary sector.

This pod is aimed at raising the conversation on volunteering to support clubs and organisations looking for advice and in showcasing the endless impact volunteering has on our community and the people involved. The hosts have both been volunteers and it has developed them as people and provided an opportunity for their learning. We hear about the culture behind volunteering, why do we do it and investigate the changes in society related to volunteering and hopefully leave our listeners with some tips and tools to try.

RYA Scotland has been developing a Volunteer Development Framework to assist volunteer led clubs and organisations to create a more sustainable approach to volunteering. It also highlights to volunteers that their actions are as important as the boating we all enjoy. The framework is in the final stages and will be available in the coming months as a practical tool that helps shape the questions you should be asking when it comes to volunteering.

The RYA tackle the reoccurring challenge and issue for clubs, particularly with regards to supporting membership growth - not enough volunteers! The insights suggests 52% of RYA Affiliated organisations report lack of volunteers as being a primary challenge to their growth and many reporting a small number of volunteers doing the bulk of the work. Hear about the findings of the research and also some experiences of clubs who have managed to successfully increase the number of volunteers below.

RYA Scotland offer a range of volunteer opportunities below.

sportscotland also offer workshops on volunteering available below.

Finally you can stay in touch with all the latest news from RYA Scotland via our website, and of course, across our social media channels @ryascotland

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