Push the Boat Out is here - promising an entire month dedicated to open days and opportunities to try sailing and windsurfing all over the UK! As we share our sport and welcome new members into our clubs, we take a look back at some of the success stories from previous years…
This Girl Can – Vicky Collins, Pagham Yacht Club
From stepping foot in a boat for the first time, to becoming an integral leader at Pagham Yacht Club, Vicky Collins has had a rapid transition. She commented: “Back in spring 2016 my girls brought home yet another bit of paper from school, our local club were having a ‘try sailing’ day - could they go? It was free, local and sounded fun - so off we went with a couple of friends.”
Fast forward a year and the family are now fully integrated club members. Vicky has learnt to sail, taken on various RYA courses and is now Rear Commodore Sailing at the club.
“I’ve gone from a warm weather beach walker, to out on the water in all weathers! What joining has really brought though, is a sense of achievement, community, resourcefulness, determination and pride - those qualities stay when the wetsuit comes off and are completely reflected by all my sailors from 8-80. Do I recommend joining your local club? Yes, 100% yes.”
A step away from the screens – the Turrell family, Cransley Sailing Club
“Sailing is the perfect activity for the whole family to be involved in,” says mum of three, Alice. The Turrell family have thrown themselves into life at Cransley Sailing Club following a PTBO open day in 2018, with kids Leo (13), Max (10) and Eve (8) all enjoying life on the water.
Best of all, having all three taking part in the same activity, at the same place has given Alice and husband, Bob, time to relax sitting in the fresh air at a lovely location and watching their children thrive. Alice commented: “The children loved the open day and were on the water until pack up time. It was fantastic to see how confident they were and how much fun they were having. We stayed involved because it's fun, the children absolutely love it and the club is perfect for us as a family; friendly, affordable and very inclusive. We were recently there for five hours one Saturday and Leo didn’t give his Xbox a second thought, so it must have been good!
“The club is a hidden gem. I've lived nearby for 49 years and didn’t even realise it was there right under my nose! It's truly an idyllic location and now I've found it we are so excited about being part of it all. I'm telling everyone about it and all the chances to try sailing coming up!"A sport for life - Robert Blakebrough, Tamesis Club
On his return from working overseas, Robert Blakebrough decided to retire and set up a new life in south west London. “I’d been sailing keelboats all over the world for more than 20 years. I’d enjoyed the activity and the camaraderie,” Robert explains.
But with his old club now more than two hours away, he needed to find something closer to home. Having checked out his local club’s website, Robert decided he’d go along and find out more: “I was about to pop down and introduce myself, with a certain amount of anxiety in mind as I knew no-one and it was a very old and established club. Then by chance, I got a flyer through the door to say the club was doing a PTBO day the next Saturday and thought well this is more like it - I would be one of many! “I should not have worried - I was made most welcome, everybody was very helpful and I was taken out on the river, to find out what sailing a dinghy was like. I had a most agreeable day, enjoyed a tasty BBQ and met a lot of new people very quickly.”
Robert has now been a member of the club for two enjoyable years and is very much involved in club life. He says: “What I like most is, of course, the sailing, but also that I have been welcomed openly by the members, many of whom have spent nearly literally a lifetime there. I now sail regularly and am learning a lot about dinghy sailing.
“I feel if you do not belong to a sailing club then you are really missing out. It’s out of this world, all your cares disappear and there is just you and the river, and hopefully, a gentle breeze.”A new chapter – Karen Corley, Marconi Sailing Club
Having lost her husband the year before and given up her job in London, Karen Corley discovered a love of sailing, and a new passion for life after trying the sport for the first time at a PTBO event in 2016. "I was completely lost and lacking in confidence," she recalls. "But everyone at the club was really friendly and made me feel very welcome.
It would be the start of a whole new chapter for Karen, who turns 60 this year. She joined the club and learnt how to sail, progressing to dinghy racing and crewing on yachts, and is now in training as a crew member for the Australia-China leg of the 2019-20 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Karen is very much sailing on a shoestring but has nevertheless found the sport extremely accessible: "With dinghy sailing especially you don’t have to spend lots of money to do it, and if you want to go yacht sailing, lots of people want crew all the time."An investment in family time – the Czura family, Lee on the Solent Sailing Club
Having initially thought it would be too difficult and too expensive to join a sailing club, the Czura family went along to an open day at Lee on the Solent Sailing Club in 2017. Their three boys (aged 8, 10 and 14), took to sailing like ducks to water, and the whole family have since become fully integrated and active members.
Mum, Lucy commented: “Joining the club and learning to sail has been an investment in our family time. Nearly everything else we do is as individuals and this is something we can all do together. For the boys it’s been amazing, they get so much independence out on the water and the character benefits are huge. They are learning so many things and developing skills that are really going to benefit them in all walks of life.”Find more information about Push the Boat Out at www.rya.org.uk/ptbo.
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