Draycote Water Shortlisted For Britain’s Best Sailing Club Award

10 Dec 19
Draycote Water Sailing Club is in the running to be named Britain’s best sailing club after being shortlisted for the 2020 RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Award, supported by Gallagher.  

The Warwickshire club is one of 10 finalists for the prestigious national award, which celebrates the outstanding achievements of sailing clubs across the UK and promotes the hard work and dedication that goes into getting people on the water. The winner will be revealed at the RYA Dinghy Show at Alexandra Palace, London on Saturday 29 February.

Draycote Water SC has been rejuvenated after the recession and protracted lease negotiations left the club in a challenging position financially. By investing in its facilities and training activities, setting-up regular sessions to appeal to specific groups of people and introducing successful mass participation events, including their Push The Boat Out open day, more than 200 local people are learning to sail at the club every year.

Jeremy Atkins, the club’s Commodore, said: “We took the opportunity to review all areas of our club activities and created a strong development plan to enable it to move forward. Supported by a Sport England grant, we invested in the areas we believed would have the biggest impact and we’ve not only reduced our turnover of members but have increased activity too. We now have around 750 members.

“Groups such as our youth and juniors, ‘Ancient Mariners’, Women on the Water and improvers are extremely popular, whilst we have diversified into other areas such as Stand Up Paddleboarding. We’re very fortunate to have strong volunteers who support our activities. But we don’t want people doing duties for more time than they are sailing, so we've increased our professional workforce to give us flexibility and scope to grow.

“By making our facilities available for organisations to hire during the week for meetings and 'away days' involving sailing, SUPing and dragon boat racing, we can also subsidise membership and invest more in our facilities. We’re delighted what we’ve achieved as a club, and the impact it's having within the local and wider sailing community, has been recognised with this nomination."

It’s now down to the public to decide which of the finalists will be crowned the overall RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year through an online vote, which is open until Monday 27 January. To cast your vote visit https://awards.yachtsandyachting.co.uk/rya/

The RYA Club of the Year Award was launched by sailing’s governing body in 2008, and for the third year, the RYA and Yachts & Yachting have joined forces to present this combined trophy.

Michelle Gent, RYA Programmes Manager, said: “We’re delighted to be able to announce this year’s finalists. The Awards Panel was inspired to see how much activity goes on in clubs all year round and the number of volunteers who go that extra mile to make it all happen. It’s been exciting to see the varied initiatives clubs are using to increase activity and engage their membership.”

Rob Peake, Editor of Yachts & Yachting added: “We had a tough time whittling down the high standard of entries this year to the shortlist of 10. But the tougher task is now yours! Yachts & Yachting is delighted to be supporting this competition, which recognises the hard work of club volunteers and shares best practice between clubs.”

The nine other shortlisted clubs are from Scotland, the Yorkshire Dales, Bolton, Anglesey, Northern Ireland, Dorset, Hampshire and West Sussex. For more information about the Club of the Year, to find out more about the finalists and to vote for your favourite club visit www.rya.org.uk/go/cluboftheyear. To find out more about Draycote Water SC visit draycotewater.co.uk or search @DraycoteWater on Facebook.