Teesdale Sailing & Watersports Club is looking forward to getting its juniors back on the water after taking delivery of six new training dinghies thanks to a grant of nearly £6,000.

Activities were restricted in 2020 due to Covid-19 and low water levels but the club continued to work hard behind the scenes to support a successful return to the water in 2021.

The club at Grassholme Reservoir in Lunedale submitted a bid to Teesdale Area Action Partnership (TAAP) for funding to replace its fleet of 20-year-old Optibats after realising they were literally falling apart at the seams.

It was awarded nearly £6,000 of funding and six colourful new Topaz WWS dinghies have now been delivered to the club. As Imogen Gibb, RYA Principal at the club, summed up on behalf the club’s many volunteer RYA qualified instructors: “I can’t wait to start teaching kids to sail in these fantastic new boats!"

The clubs said one of the appealing aspects of the grant application to TAAP was that the instruction and use of boats is free of charge and so accessible to all. The club also has a successful track record of delivery on previous projects involving TAAP.

The club has provided opportunities for youngsters in Teesdale and the wider area to experience sailing for many years as part of its F3 Club, which it has renamed as its OnBoard club as part of the RYA’s nationwide programme encouraging children and young people to enjoy sailing.

Commodore Anthony Tubbs said: “We are really looking forward to getting back on the water and introducing youngsters to this exhilarating pastime.  The new boats will really help us to introduce even more young people to the sport, and we thank the TAAP for their support. Without this grant we would not have been able to continue to offer this opportunity.”

Teesdale SWC’s successful junior programme has seen youngsters progress to regional and national recognition and two of its young sailors have been awarded John Merricks Sailing Trust boats in the last two years to support the development of their sailing.

Government restrictions permitting, the club aims to reopen for watersports activities from 4th April 2021, with its junior sessions resuming on Saturdays from early May onwards. Find out more about Teesdale Sailing & Watersports Club here or visit the RYA OnBoard hub to find out more about introducing children and young people to sailing and windsurfing.