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July 1, 2017

Working In China- 5 Years On!

So it’s coming up to Bristol Maritime Academy’s 5-year anniversary working with Beijing Sailing Centre, in China through our consultancy brand Blueprint Watersports. To commemorate the journey we have taken together,  we thought we would have a stroll down memory lane.

Where did it all start?

The Bristol Maritime Academy’s director Chris Eades first started working with the Beijing Sailing Centre (BSC) when the founder Rick Pointon contacted us to assist with finding UK RYA instructors.

Beijing Sailing Centre was the first sailing training centre in China , working with both local and foreign groups wanting to learn to sail. They had always had some UK instructors and Rick had put a lot of effort into training local Chinese instructors, however, with the increased demand, Rick felt they needed some support.

Via a long Skype conversation, we agreed to not only help recruit seasonal RYA instructors from the UK but also support BSC long term as training partners and consultants… so Chris got on a flight and headed out to China !

To begin with, the focus was on giving RYA instructors the amazing opportunity to see and explore China. Once there, they would see the great wall of China, Beijing itself as well as be a great example to local Chinese instructors learning. However, it was pretty intimidating for them as well for Chris (although he’d never admit it).

Today, the majority of the instructors we recruit are looking to work for the prestigious Beijing Sailing Club for their career development and the chance to explore China is more of a bonus! RYA Senior instructors develop themselves into managers over a couple of years with the language barriers and opportunities they are given, it’s a great place to develop.

“I wanted to work with Beijing Sailing Centre as it was something new from what I had done before. I had been traveling out this way before but never thought about working in China so when I had the chance I went for it.” – Georgina, Senior Instructor.

The first milestone…  

Putting on a training course for non-English speaking Chinese trainee instructors was the first big step for BSC and although there were only a small number of students, the majority of them are now managers. There was no Royal Yachting Association system (or anything similar) in China , so everything was created from scratch and aimed at developing foreign language training.

Over time, this lead to the Chinese instructors becoming capable in their own right and helping BSC set up further centres around China .

Once the message got out that BSC was there to help people go sailing, Chris & the Bristol Maritime Academy team trained a variety people from centres all over China who came to BSC. We even had China ‘s very own Olympic sailing gold medallist Lijia Xu, training with us to become a sailing instructor and continue the development & promotion of sailing in China!

Where are we now?

Since then, we have supported BSC through many changes to their present progress! They created the new thriving brand, Vanhang Sailing, which is more focused on school groups and outdoor adventure.

We have recently celebrated both Aofan Sailing centre (BSC owned) and Vanhang Sailing Centre gaining their Royal Yachting Association recognition, making them the first RYA training centres in China. This was a long process of not only working with them to meet the RYA standards but also the RYA to make sure everyone felt comfortable with the way things work in China at sailing schools.

Beijing Sailing Centre work with some of the most respected schools in China and we have supported Chinese staff and instructors coming back to the UK to educate themselves with new ideas and examples of best practice.

November 2016 marked Chris Eades’ 10th visit to China to help with large school groups, delivering multi watersports activity weeks and a Schools sailing regatta. He was also made the unexpected guest speaker at a headmaster conference and symposium.

Things carry on as before, just on a much larger scale. Even as we type, the Bristol Maritime Academy’s Operations Manager, Mike Norris, is flying out to China to work with their windsurfing instructors.

The future looks bright for China !

The Chinese public and school groups have the fantastic opportunity to try sailing and develop themselves once they get inevitably hooked.

We have ran instructor training courses for up to 50 trainees at a time, from assistant instructor to Instructor and even Centre Managers. This has created an amazing atmosphere about sailing in China and the Topper worlds is set to be held at a Vanhang site in 2018!

We are also working on giving greater access to instructors and young sailors to England and Europe through are long lasting partnership with BSC. It’s a memory still being created every year, seeing young people in China being able to work, develop and carve a career out of something they love.



Working for BSC

Over the past 18 months we have recruited roughly 50 instructors for centres in China- do you want to work for the leading Sailing centre in China? Then check our Jobs Board for available positions with Beijing Sailing Centre.