Derek Burchell – by Royal Appointment

We are all delighted to learn that our Chief Instructor, OOD and general sailing guru Derek Burchell has been nominated for and received an award for all the work he has done for the sailing community over the years and particularly his work with the Topper Class and the RYA Eastern Region. In November last year, Derek received his award from Princess Anne in a ceremony held at a posh London hotel. Perhaps the most surprising thing from these photos is seeing Derek in a suit rather than sailing gear as we all know him better!

The award handbook gave the following summary of his work:

“For many years Derek was Topper Class Training Officer. Whilst in this post he developed regional class training prior to RYA junior squad system. He was an outstanding junior Topper coach for several years, dealing brilliantly with youngsters of all abilities at all levels. He has been an RYA coach and assessor since 1998; the vast majority of his coaching since that time has been on a voluntary basis. His love of the sport and commitment to the class has ensured he has passed on his skills to as many people as he can.

From 2001 Derek took on the role of Regional Coach for the Eastern Region. He set about reorganising the training in the region by evolution rather than revolution. He managed to gently change the culture of training in the region whilst keeping most of the existing people on board. As Regional Coach Derek invested a huge amount of time and energy into ensuring standards across the region were more consistent. He had a major impact on the way dinghy training was organised in the East, gradually modernising the organisation of inspectors and encouraging a better structure of training and moderating during instructor training.”

Congratulations from us all to Derek for this award and well-deserved recognition.