Port Dinorwic Sailing Club / Clwb Hwylio Y Felinheli have been crowned RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year 2021 supported by Gallagher.

The annual award recognises the outstanding achievement of clubs across the UK.   

The North Wales club were one of 10 regional finalists selected by the RYA Awards panel and were ultimately crowned overall winner following a public vote. The coveted trophy was presented by Dinghy Show host, professional sailor Hannah Diamond and RYA CEO Sarah Treseder.    

Port Dinorwic SC / Clwb Hwylio Y Felinheli were awarded for being at the ‘heart of the community’ for their innovation and efforts to ensure activities could continue to run safely once lockdown restrictions eased.    

When many of their members were unable to get out on the water, the club’s ingenious online activities including training and eSailing continued to keep them entertained and engaged. Their social media campaign attracted new members from the local area, boosting their membership, and they also invested in a beach winch, allowing sailors to pull their boats up the beach while remaining socially distanced.   

Commodore Noel Bristow said: “Wow! I’m blown away! On behalf of all our members, who I know will be delighted, I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has voted. We were really proud to be recognised in the ‘Heart of the Community’ category and now to be named RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year is- it’s fantastic! Thank you to everyone who voted and RYA Cymru Wales for all your support”.    

During the virtual awards ceremony British Sailing Team athlete Kirsty Urwin congratulated all the finalists: “This year more than any other has provided clubs with challenges but has also proven what can be achieved under these testing circumstances. It has been a pleasure to hear everything that has been achieved."  

RYA Director of Sport Development Rob Clark said: “A huge congratulations to Port Dinorwic Sailing Club and all their volunteers. Whilst this has been an extremely challenging year for all sports organisations, Port Dinorwic SC’s hard work, commitment to their members and innovation made them stand out to the judges. Congratulations to all of our inspirational finalists.”  

 The 2021 finalists are:

  • Bolton Sailing Club
  • Chelmarsh Sailing Club
  • Debdale Outdoor Activity Club
  • Emsworth Sailing Club
  • Guernsey Yacht Club
  • Island Barn Reservoir Sailing Club
  • Port Dinorwic Sailing Club / Clwb Hwylio Y Felinheli
  • Prestwick Sailing Club
  • Ripon Sailing Club
  • Strangford Sailing Club  


Four of the finalists were also recognised for their particular achievements in the following areas:

  • Bolton Sailing Club- ‘Inclusive and Open to All’
  • Debdale Outdoor Activity Club- ‘Modern and Innovative’
  • Emsworth Sailing Club- ‘Sustainability’
  • Port Dinorwic Sailing Club / Clwb Hwylio Y Felinheli - ‘Heart of the Community’


‘Heart of the Community’ Recognition for a club who support their local community. This could be through the efforts of the club volunteers, allowing use of the club facilities to provide a service for those in need or encouraging local community groups to get out on the water.

‘Modern and Innovative' Recognition for a club who makes a break from traditional ways of running a club or delivering boating activity.This could be delivering different formats of training or racing to engage with new participants, new membership models or embracing the use of modern communications.

‘Sustainability’ Recognition for a club that has embraced sustainability and demonstrably reduced its own and/or its members’ impact on the environment through education, action or improved facilities.

‘Inclusive and open to all’ Recognition for a club or project which has been impactful in developing participation amongst people with disabilities or from other under-represented or disadvantaged groups.

‘Boosting membership’ Recognition for a club that has delivered the most impactful participation project, the outcomes of which are, attracting and retaining new participants and growing their membership. *not  awarded this year due to the challenging environment all clubs were having to operate under.

Applications for Club Of the Year 2022 will open in August 2021.


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