Lymington Town Sailing Club in the New Forest, has reached the national final of the RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Award 2022, supported by Gallagher.
The Award recognises the outstanding achievements of sailing clubs across the UK and promotes the hard work and dedication that goes into running a successful club.
As a RYA South Region Finalists, Lymington Town Sailing Club (LTSC) joins nine other sailing clubs from across the UK in a public vote to decide the winner. Both clubs are hoping club members, local residents and sailors will vote for their club in their bid to become the national RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year.
Lymington Town Sailing Club Commodore, Tony Evans, said: “Everyone associated with the Club is absolutely delighted with the nomination. This adds further acknowledgement to the effort, put in by so many, to create a direction and strategy for LTSC that is in line with it's members requirements and the trends within the marine sector.”
Special recognition - modern, innovative and forward thinking
The Club’s successful break from traditional ways of running a club and delivering boating activity, which are helping to drive the club forward, has been recognised with a special recognition from the RYA in the “Modern, innovative and forward thinking” category.
This large club offers a myriad of boating opportunities for members and has worked hard to expand its offering to the local community, including the launch of a new Watersports Training Centre.
The development of the Centre, along with a team of paid instructors, has been fundamental to increasing the range of on the water activities which LYSC now offers.
As Commodore, Tony Evans, explains: “The move to introduce a Watersports Training Centre was triggered very much by industry reports and market statistics that began to indicate clear trends from 2018. These trends clearly indicated major growth in the popularity of many watersports activities, such as standup paddle boarding, rowing and kayaking, and a steady decline in participation in sailing. Hence, we felt introducing these growing activities within the club would be beneficial to both retention of existing members and acquisition of new members. This has certainly proved to be the case.”
Tony believes the core objective of any sport club should be to increase participation within their sport: “We have focused on getting both children and adults on the water in as many ways as possible. To this end we have moved to a partial paid coaching model that ensures we have professional coaches available for all activities. We still have regular volunteers for both safety and coaching, but these are supported by paid instructors, and this ensures we have a continuity and wider availability of training opportunities.
“This approach naturally drives greater participation and has also allowed us to run children’s training camps over the summer and term holidays.”
These changes, along with other recently launched initiatives including a new partnership with the local outdoor sea pool, the launch of its RYA OnBoard programme and new links to schools, have helped the Club set a record-breaking year for youth and junior participation.
During the last two years, several areas of the Club have also been developed and improved to enhance the experience of members and visitors alike. This includes the availability of training, increasing the number of organised sessions on the water, access to a wider variety of watersports, extended opening hours, as well as an improved food offering. In addition, the Club has worked hard to further improve the operational running of the club by moving key operations to cloud based systems.
The Club, which celebrated its 75th anniversary this year, was quick to react to the local needs of the NHS during Covid lockdowns, with members sewing scrubs and producing PPE equipment for frontline NHS workers. The club also made charitable contributions which delivered benefits for Lymington Sailability, Oakhaven Hospice, Olivia Inspires and Greig City Academy.
In recognition of the club's contribution to both members and the community, the New Forest Sports Council awarded LTSC with the “Making a difference” Award.
Two RYA South Region clubs nominated
In addition to Lymington, Brading Haven Yacht Club on the Isle of Wight, has also reached the national final.
Rob Clark, RYA Director of Sport Development, added: “We’ve learnt over the years that each club is different, and all have their strengths. It’s great to hear the stories of these clubs and congratulations to each of them for making our final 10. Now it’s up to you to vote for the winner.”
The RYA has also recognised Warsash Sailing Club, as just one of three clubs from around the country, with a Certificate of Commendation for their outstanding work during the last year.
The overall winner will be announced at the RYA Virtual Dinghy Show. To vote visit here. Voting closes on 25th January 2021.