Notts County SC has been named Britain's best sailing club for 2018 after lifting the prestigious RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Award.
The Hoveringham-based club discovered they had topped the public vote to claim the distinction at the RYA Dinghy Show, presented by Suzuki, at Alexandra Palace, London on Saturday (3 March). The club received the award from Rio 2016 champion and double Olympic medalist, Saskia Clark.
Notts County was one of five shortlisted Club of the Year finalists after winning this year's RYA Facilities Development award. And having seen their number of members swell by 27% to more than 1,200 thanks to the investment of over £250,000 of grants to make the club's facilities and activities even more accessible and appealing to all, Notts County landed the top prize.
Former Commodore, Ross Ryan, was amongst the Notts County contingent that braved snowmageddon and made it to London for the awards. He said: "It's fabulous and we're delighted! The hundreds of members that help and do various bits of volunteering all year, it's what it's all about."
Club member, Kathryn Hinsliff-Smith, added: "There was a public vote so we're really so, so grateful to the sailing and wider community who know of us at Notts County and who took the time and trouble to vote for us. Thank you so much because you have made us overwhelmed with joy."
Over the past five years Notts County SC has undergone a massive modernisation programme. Not only has this transformed the look of the club, it has directly impacted the breadth and scope of activities it offers and the number of people from a wider section of the local community who now sail there.
As well as the overall growth in membership, the number of kids sailing as part of Notts County's Saturday Club has increased by 125%. Notts County also runs both the national RYA OnBoard and RYA Sailability programmes, which bring schools, youth groups, families and people with disabilities into sailing and provide opportunities to get and stay involved at low cost.
Meanwhile, the facilities development included doubling the size of the female changing rooms to cater for the increasing numbers of women and girls now involved, alongside refurbishing the clubhouse, adding a multifunction training room, updating the male changing area and expanding the pontoons and boat parking.
Everyone is invited to see what has made Notts County SC Britain's bestsailing club when the club hosts its free try sailing and windsurfing Open Day as part of RYA Push The Boat on Saturday 12 May. For more information about the Open Day and how else you and your family can get involved at Notts County SC visit http://ncsc.org.uk
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The RYA Club of the Year Award was launched in 2007 to recognise and promote the outstanding achievements of sailing clubs across the UK. This year the RYA and Yachts & Yachting joined forces to present this combined award to celebrate the vibrant clubs that introduce and retain large numbers of people from all backgrounds in sailing. This was the third time Notts County SC had been shortlisted as a finalist (2009, 2013).
Georgie Corlett-Pitt, Yachts & Yachting Editor, said: "We were extremely impressed with the calibre of entries. There was a really high standard and some great ideas out there. It's fantastic to see the innovation clubs are coming up with and then seeing through and delivering. It's not necessarily over one season it's built up over several years through very strategic thinking from the clubs."
Special thanks go to Arthur J. Gallagher, who continue to support the Club of the Year Award, and to Sailing Awards, who donated the perpetual RYA Club of the Year trophy when the award was first introduced. For more information go to www.rya.org.uk/go/cluboftheyear