Marconi Sailing Club will discover if it has the distinction of being named Britain’s best in March after being shortlisted for the prestigious RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Award. Voting is now open for the RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Award 2018 which recognises and promotes the outstanding achievements of sailing clubs across the UK.
Marconi Sailing Club, on the Blackwater Estuary, is one of five finalists keeping everything crossed for when the 2018 RYA Club of the Year is revealed at the RYA Dinghy Show at Alexandra Palace, London on Saturday 03 March. For more information about Marconi visit http://awards.yachtsandyachting.co.uk/marconi-sailing-club/ For the first time ever you now have the chance to vote for the sailing club that you think deserves to be named Club of the Year 2018. To find out more about the finalists and to cast your vote visit http://awards.yachtsandyachting.co.uk/rya/ Voting closes on 20 February.
The RYA, sailing’s national governing body, presents the annual award in recognition of how well clubs promote the sport and make sailing as inclusive and accessible to all by running activities that are appropriate and appealing to the local community. Nominations were received from affiliated clubs up and down the country across five categories which throw the spotlight firmly onto the core values for any successful sailing club.
Marconi has been specifically recognised for achievement in innovation. Since identifying an issue back in 2015 whereby the club had an increasing number of new members who wanted to learn to sail yachts while participating in racing, but insufficient boats to cope with this demand, the Club invested in a number of boats to increase capacity, and in 2017 entered the British Keelboat League (BKL), organising a selection day of BKL style racing. The day generated significant interest amongst club members, was heavily over-subscribed, and resulted in a Youth team being selected to represent the club in the BKL youth event on the Solent in October. The club’s involvement in the BKL provided great opportunities for members to gain racing experience and develop their skills in numerous ways, including as race officials or umpires. In addition, the cruiser racing section of the club introduced 50 non-sailing adults to big boat sailing and developed regular race crew from new members in 2017. As a result, 21 new members have joined the club and now race regularly. The average age of the cruiser racers has reduced and the number of boats racing regularly has increased. Such is the success of this initiative, the club is now once again looking to increase the fleet of club keelboats for the coming season. The Club rounded off their success by recently becoming a recognised Dinghy Training Centre.
The Commodore of the Club, Michaela Dowley commented: “We're absolutely thrilled to have won the innovation category and be in with a chance to be crowned overall RYA Club of the Year. A few years ago keelboat sailing was non-existent at Marconi so we've made huge progress over the last 12 months and are now working towards starting our own keelboat fleet and organising a competitive league with our local clubs. Keelboat sailing has been a fantastic success with our members, including those new to sailing and our more experienced sailors. The British Keelboat League was a great opportunity to generate some competitive rivalry in the Club as our best sailors competed for a place in the team. It bought all of our fleets together and is something we are excited about growing in the future.”
RYA Sport Development Manager Alistair Dickson said: “We’re delighted to announce the 2018 finalists of RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Award. The people involved in each one of these clubs have worked hard to create fantastic projects and activities which make it possible for people to enjoy being out on the water at their venue. Don’t miss the chance to cast your vote and have your say in which club will lift the coveted trophy this year.”
The category winners have been selected by a panel of judges including double Olympic medallist and award ambassador Saskia Clark, RYA CEO Sarah Treseder and Yachts & Yachting Editor Georgie Corlett- Pitt.
The finalist awards will be presented on Saturday 03 March at the RYA Dinghy Show on the Suzuki Mainstage at 16:00, before the overall winner is revealed.
Special thanks go to Arthur J. Gallagher who continue to support the Club of the Year Award and to Sailing Awards who donated the perpetual RYA Club of the Year trophy when the award was first introduced in 2008.
For more information about how you can get involved at Marconi Sailing Club visit http://www.marconi-sc.org.uk/ or like Marconi Sailing Club on Facebook.