The club had already bought an adjacent car park from the local authority when it was offered on the market. The grant allowed the club to build a wall and gate to secure the area for much-needed boat storage.

Other improvements were to the changing facilities, in particular for the area used by people with disabilities, and to install roller shutters so as to provide a proper storage area for the club's safety boats.

"The Inspired Facility grant from Sport England has revitalised the club. We can now store our boats in a central location thanks to the doubling in size of our yard.", said Commodore Derek Atkinson. "This gives us access to improved workshop and toilets, including disabled changing and toilet facilities, something we sadly lacked. We have the space to expand our dinghy fleet, crucial to our plans to attract new members.

"An extra bonus is that we are now working more closely with the RYA, in developing our plans for training and taster sessions in the future."

Wallasey Yacht Club is one of three clubs where the oldest one-design boat is regularly raced, the Seabird. This half rater was designed in Southport for West Lancashire Yacht Club in 1893 when it was decided it should not cost more than �35(the sale price was �34 17s 6d). That limit was eventually discarded and today the cost of a new boat is around �36,000.

The Seabirds (all are named after sea birds or some aspect of them) can be described as mid-way between a dinghy and a keelboat and "quite difficult to sail well" according to the Commodore. They even have spinnakers but these are flown from inside the jib.

"Most of our boats (the club has sail numbers 8,9,10 and 11 amongst others) are shared by two or three people. We don't say we own them: we are just looking after them for the next generation."

All the boats get an annual mini-restoration while some have major work, including the renewal of frames, and traditional methods are used, such as planking being held in place with countersunk copper rivets and roves (dish-shaped washers) topped off with wooden plugs to give a smooth surface once trimmed.