Free sailing and windsurfing taster sessions are well underway across Scotland as part RYA’s Push the Boat Out (PTBO) campaign. The first weekend saw 12 of the 45 venues across Scotland getting visitors afloat for the first time.
The Try Sailing in May initiative is run by clubs and their volunteers who come together to celebrate their activity with the local communities and to share their love of getting afloat, and it seems to have been a hit so far.
Myra Shuttleworth, a teacher from Dumfries was encouraged to come along by pupils in her local school after their positive experiences with Solway Yacht Club in Kippford.
“I used to take classes for outdoor education at Loch Ken, so I had heard about this event last year, but was not brave enough. However the kids at the school I now teach encouraged me to come along, so I thought I would come and try it myself.”
“The club member who took us out was super and I learnt a lot, while having some great fun, so I hope to be back over the summer.”
Solway Yacht Club was awarded the RYA Scotland Club of the Year and current Commodore, Lindsay Tosh said.
“We’ve seen some good steady numbers, with weather better than forecast and we managed to get 115 visitors afloat today, with 6 new memberships on the day, which is fantastic and the best open day we have ever had, despite the chilly weather.”
Over on the West coast at Toward Sailing Club, there was a real community feel as the RNLI and various local charities and businesses got behind the event.
The Nelson family from Dunoon were one such family who came along to give sailing a try.
“We just saw the posters and through Facebook so thought we’d make a day of it. We got out on one of the larger keelboats with our three children and we saw a porpoise, which the kids loved! It’s great to be able to come down and get the opportunity to jump out on a boat for free, you don’t get that chance very often and it was great for the kids.”
Elaine Nichols from Innellen also came along to find out what was on offer at the Club.
“I have been out for a sail on a dinghy, I like being out in the water, not something I have done before and I found it very informative and enjoyable. I would absolutely recommend being out on the water, it’s a different experience being out there and looking back at the land.”
Susan Chandler Commodore of Toward Sailing Club said.
“We have been doing PTBO for the past 4-5 years and it’s a really, really good way for getting people interested in what we do. Visitors are often surprised by how much they enjoy being out on the water. We get youngsters coming along year after year, who then go on to join our cadets, for sailing and has been a really good way of building up the community awareness of what water sports can offer.”
No experience or kit necessary
PTBO open days are aimed at complete novices, as well as more experienced sailors, everyone is welcome. All kit and safety equipment will be provided, visitors just need to bring a pair of old trainers they don't mind getting wet, and a sense of fun and adventure.
Events are continuing throughout the month so why not find events near you and join in the fun! www.rya.org.uk/ptbo.