Rudyard Lake Sailing Club, near Leek, has double cause for celebration having officially been recognised as amongst Britain’s best after being shortlisted for the prestigious RYA Club of the Year Award 2016 in its Diamond Anniversary year.

The RYA, sailing’s national governing body, presents the annual award in recognition of how well clubs promote the sport of sailing, encourage people onto the water and make their activities varied and available to their community.

After a landmark year Rudyard Lake SC has been named as one of five finalists alongside clubs from the Isle of Wight, Wales, Cheshire and Suffolk. The RYA Club of the Year Award 2016 winner will be revealed by RYA CEO Sarah Treseder at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show at Alexandra Palace, London on Saturday 5 March (4pm).

Mark Jacot, Rudyard Lake SC Commodore, believes 2015 saw the 60-year-old club go from strength-to-strength.

He said: “Totally volunteer run, with no paid staff, our 250 members are split between juniors, adult racers, newcomers and non-sailors. In 2015 we really focused on building the cohesion between all these different groups to provide the most enjoyable, accessible experience for everyone, regardless of ability or skill level.

“Programmes such as our RYA OnBoard school sailing sessions and a Sportivate-funded ‘Girls Can Sail’ project have enabled us to engage even more with the local community, while everyone who gets involved at Rudyard Lake can learn to sail and improve their skills to start to take part in racing or just sail socially if they prefer.“

2015 was a highly successful year of change, building on previous success, and it is great to be recognised as an RYA Club of the Year finalist. To win the trophy would be the icing on the cake of a remarkable 12 months and a great 60th birthday present.”

Amongst other new developments at the club in 2015 included a new midweek social sailing session, while a radical restructure of their summer programme to merge junior and adult sailing saw up to 40 people attending each mixed session. 

The club’s racers impressed on the national stage, including at the hugely popular Southport 12-hour and 24-hour races, and a number of Rudyard Lake youngsters are part of the RYA’s celebrated Junior squad programme at regional and national level. A new club-funded pontoon, constructed by members, was also built to accommodate more boats wanting to sail and the club’s support for disabled sailors continued with its Access boat used regularly.

Jackie Bennetts, RYA Club Support Advisor, added: “The RYA Club of the Year Award offers us the chance to recognise and acknowledge the outstanding achievements of the people who are responsible for creating successful, vibrant sailing clubs in the UK. 

“Without the ongoing support and commitment from individual, volunteer members clubs could not offer the range or quality of activities, which are crucial to opening the doors to sailing to as many different people in local communities as possible.”

Rudyard Lake SC is a recognised RYA Training Centre, meaning it conforms to the highest standards of quality and safety. 

The club’s free Open Day is on Monday 2 May with its RYA learn to sail courses starting in April. For full details of how you can get involved at Rudyard Lake SC this year visit

Special thanks to Arthur J. Gallagher, who support the RYA Club of the Year Award, and Sailing Awards, who donated the perpetual RYA Club of the Year trophy when the award was first introduced in 2008. 

For more information on the awards visit