As RYA's Push The Boat Out came to a close yesterday many families and individuals from local communities experienced sailing and windsurfing for the first time, with many planning to try more over the summer.

 

In total, 42 clubs and training centres in Scotland hosted events from the 13th of May through to the 21st offering free taster sessions on the water.

 

A wide range of participants enjoyed the chance to set out on the waves, one of which was Gerry Green, who brought the 21st Paisley Scout Group down to experience windsurfing at Clyde Windsurfing Club at Lochwinnoch.

 

"I saw the event advertised and offered it to the explorer group who have come down to have a go at windsurfing today. We have been trying a number of activities and this has been a super experience which I am sure some of the group will be back to get wet again!"

From the club's perspective, Iain Tait of Dalgety Bay Sailing Club describes their event held on the Forth at the weekend.

 

"We had a great day with around 40 people coming to experience fantastic Scottish weather, with a bit of rain, a bit of sun; flat calm and lots of wind. It all showed what you can get out of sailing and all in one day."

 

"Everyone had a good time with lots of questions around how do you learn more and we have a few follow up courses planning for RYA Level 1 and 2. We are very happy with how it has all gone."

 

While in East Kilbride, Callum Lieber, a dinghy instructor at James Hamilton Heritage Park commented.

 

"We have had groups of families and couples head out and get wet and they enjoyed the sun at times too. The event brought a lot of the local community down which really showed the centre is an open, vibrant place and to see what activities are on offer."

 

The PTBO flag flew across a range of centres from sea venues offering cruising on small yachts through to inland venues. At Loch Ard Sailing Club, where Double Olympic Gold Medalist Shirley Robertson started sailing, Commodore Nigel Orr started by dispelling the grandeur in the title and thanked the volunteers for supporting Push The Boat Out.

 

"Commodore doesn't mean I wear a fancy hat, but means I have a lot of administration!

We have enjoyed a lot of publicity around the event, with a number of members putting in a lot of effort, as we have increased the overall participation at the club. We recently joined with Active Stirling in providing taster sessions for local schools. This covers aspects from how to rig the boats; the types of boats and equipment at the club, to going out sailing on the Loch.  It really opens up the possibilities of what sailing has to offer."

 

On the Clyde, the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club took part this year and organiser Craig Macdonald said.

 

" We've had lots of interest from young people wanting to find out how to get involved in our junior training programme and courses, and from adults interested in one-design keelboat racing at the club."

 

"We've held open days before but it was great to be part in the RYA's wider PTBO scheme. It's definitely helped to raise the profile of the club, and get more people along to try out sailing and hopefully in to club membership."

 

Martin Paley, of West Lothian Sailing Club, is one of those who started sailing through Push The Boat Out two years ago and was helping out as a volunteer this year by taking visitors sailing on Linlithgow Loch.  

 

"When my family came down two years ago we had a great time and then we joined the club over the past couple of seasons. It is a fantastic opportunity to go sailing and then the follow up tuition through the RYA schemes has been excellent especially for the younger members."

 

A number of clubs combined activities with other water sports organisations to get a real community atmosphere around the events. Nairn Sailing Club integrated the Push the Boat Out event with the Harbour Festival and had enormous success as Buchan Main reports:

 

"We've put 422 people out on boat trips today and we've got a dozen people signed up through Push The Boat Out. Our membership is going to increase through this event."

 

For many it was a thrilling experience, as David Clelland at Castle Semple SC found out when he went on the water for the first time with one of the club members for a blast across the Loch.

 

"It was great, thoroughly enjoyed it. I was out on a basic level catamaran, which was quite fast enough for me today! Don't know what speed we were doing but it felt like 60 mph! Very exciting and close to the water I'll definitely be back down."

 

Liza Linton, RYA Scotland Development Manager said.

 

"Clubs and centres provided unique and different overall activities, with something for everyone at each one. Massive thanks to all the volunteers throughout the clubs who made the events such a success. Those who gave sailing or windsurfing a go for the first time we hope that many plan to return to their nearest club and get involved on a regular basis."

 

James Allen, RYA Scotland CEO said.

"Local clubs have had some great turnouts for Push The Boat Out. I've had the privilege to be at a couple of the clubs involved and to speak to the volunteers and the people taking part and the feedback so far has been excellent. It's quite extraordinary how much one event can connect the whole boating community.  It is a great opportunity to promote what boating has to offer and to attract some new participants and club members."

Scotland offers some great places to get access to the water with over 280 affiliated clubs and training centres across the country running RYA courses there is plenty of opportunity to get afloat this summer.

 

To find out more about RYA affiliated venues visit www.rya.org.uk/wheresmynearest/

For full details of exactly what activities took place as part of Push The Boat Out at each participating sailing club and centre, visit www.rya.org.uk/go/PTBO