South Staffs SC and Glossop SC are in the running to be named Britain’s best sailing club after being shortlisted for the 2019 RYA and Yachts &Yachting Club of the Year Award, supported by Gallagher.  

The pair are amongst 11 finalists for the 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 2 March. 

South Staffs, which lifted the prestigious national Club of the Year Award in 2011, is also one of five finalists to have been specially-recognised for achievement in a particular area - the club claiming the accolade for 'Embracing Modern Communications’.

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 28 January. To cast your vote visit http://awards.yachtsandyachting.co.uk/rya/

Viki Packman, Glossop SC Commodore, said: “Thanks to the superb weather, we have had our most successful year ever, with the highest levels of activity in all areas. We have a reputation as a friendly, welcoming and inclusive club and are proud Glossop SC is now a fully integrated inland watersports club, offering dinghy sailing, windsurfing, powerboat training and stand-up paddleboarding, run to RYA best practice.  

"As a small Pennine, member-run club with a thriving grassroots OnBoard Junior Club, Team15 regional windsurfing success, RYA Zone Squad junior racing members, growing adult membership, success from our SUP activities being enjoyed by a growing number of women and our continuing podium placings up to European level, we not only grow our club locally but are ambassadors for the sport in a wider sphere."

Tim Coleshaw, South Staffs Commodore, added: "As a club we have worked consistently and incredibly hard to develop and improve our activities and facilities so we are inclusive and open to all. We really feel we are going from strength-to-strength.

"This year our free Open Day and RYA Push The Boat Out events saw 160 local people introduced to sailing, while we have been particularly successful in getting more women on the water, integrating our 80-strong junior and youth sailors into the club and supporting newcomers to develop their skills at the pace they are comfortable with, whether on a one-to-one or group basis." 

Big years

Glossop SC 2018 highlights include 60 children and young people aged 18 and under enjoying summer Junior Week, Glossop Gladiators Team15 club winning the Midlands title, with two team members then claiming ‘first girl’ trophies at the Nationals, 60+ novices, primarily females, taking part in introductory SUP courses and two junior dinghy sailors taking the prestigious Stanley Leach Cup at the Southport 24 Hour Race.

Meanwhile, 330 people are currently South Staffs SC members and notable 2018 achievements include the ongoing modernisation of the club’s facilities, with much of the work completed by volunteers saving over £30,000 in contractor costs, and achieving British Youth Sailing Recognised Club status for the quality of its junior race training, while members Mike Senior and Chris White were crowned GP14 class World Champions.

The RYA Club of the Year Award was launched by sailing’s governing body in 2007, and for the second year, the RYA and Yachts & Yachting have joined forces to present this combined trophy. The panel of judges has included RYA CEO, Sarah Treseder, Yachts & Yachting Editor, Georgie Corlett-Pitt, the British Sailing Team’s James Peters, Ben Bennett of Gallagher and Ross Ryan from the 2018 Club of the Year, Notts County SC.

Michelle Gent, RYA Programmes Manager, said: "It’s a privilege to be able to reward clubs and their volunteers for all their hard work and it has been truly inspirational to hear about all the exciting initiatives taking place in our clubs. I really look forward to meeting all of the finalists at the RYA Dinghy Show and encourage the local public to get voting!”  

Georgie Corlett-Pitt, Yachts & Yachting Editor, added: “We are very pleased to have received such a high calibre of entries. The nominations allow us an insight into some exceptional initiatives underpinning the grassroots of our sport and we look forward to recognising and rewarding the overall winners. It's certainly a tough competition, but now it's over to the public to decide."

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