Otley Sailing Club has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award following its success in making the sport accessible to all ages and abilities.

The club is one of 11 finalists in the 2019 RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Awards, supported by Gallagher. The overall winner will be determined by a public vote and the club is now urging people to help it claim the title.

Otley SC is the regional finalist for the North East and in addition has been specifically recognised for its achievement in providing sailing which is "inclusive for all".  

The club is a leader in the provision of sailing for disabled people through its Sailfree scheme, running an incredible 2,700 sessions in the last year alone for schools, charities and community groups thanks to a dedicated team of more than 30 volunteers.

There are also OnBoard sessions for children and young people at the family-friendly club, which is an RYA Training Centre for sailing and powerboating.  

Commodore Norman Stephens, who set up the Sailfree programme in 1990, said: "We literally do what's on the can, sailing for all. You can imagine how proud I am to see the club shortlisted for this award. Winning it would be a great thank you to all the volunteers above all else. We're a fantastic team!”  

To find out more about the finalists and vote, visit the online awards page. Voting closes on Monday 28 January 2019 and the awards will be presented at the RYA Dinghy Show in London on Saturday 2 March.  

Ian Smith, RYA North East Regional Chairman, said: "I was delighted to hear that Otley Sailing Club has reached the final stage of the 2019 Club of the Year awards, having also received special recognition for their significant and sustained contribution in the 'inclusive and open to all' category.  

"The club can be justly proud of their efforts. I would urge you all to cast your vote so that we not only have the winning club here in the North East but ensure that the club is rewarded for its fantastic contribution to making sailing a sport for all."  

Georgie Corlett-Pitt, Editor of Yachts & Yachting Magazine, said the high calibre of entries gave an insight into some of the exceptional initiatives underpinning the grassroots of the sport: “It's certainly a tough competition, but now it's over to the public to decide."