Jennifer Bryce from Donaghadee Sailing Club pictured with Commodore Frazer Menzies who is Helming the GP14. Credit: Joyce Gilchrist.

Through the programme, which is funded by Sport NI and National Lottery, women who have never tried sailing before are encouraged to try out the sport and an exciting new challenge.


Jennifer did the four week programme last summer and hasn't looked back since. She explains: "I hadn't sailed before but I had accompanied our school sailing trip a few weeks before for a couple of days and asked if there were any adult courses running, which is how I found out about the WOW sessions.


"It was great to go out with an experienced sailor in quite a large boat. It was lovely to have female instructors, who were excellent at teaching and leading us. We were all quite nervous the first day but the ladies were so good with us we just had fun!"


For Jennifer, the thrill was learning the basics from an experienced sailor but the other highlight was meeting five other women who she can now call "good friends".


"I really enjoyed the WOW course and I have been constantly recommending the course to other women all year! It's a fantastic opportunity to try out something new in a safe, no pressure environment," says Jennifer.


Since the course, four ladies in Jennifer's group have completed the Adult Level 1 sailing course and kept in touch. In February she went along to a meet and greet at Donaghadee Sailing Club and with two of her WOW group by her side, she did a course to learn how to crew in a two man boat.


Jennifer says: "After the course I was encouraged to join the sailing club as a member and go along to the Sunday afternoon sailing each week. I now go sailing twice a week and have been out in a GP14 with just about everyone in club it seems! I even went to my first big race at the Ulster Championships a few weeks ago and I am totally and utterly hooked on sailing, all thanks to the WOW Course!"


The Women in Water course is running at many clubs across Northern Ireland this summer. To find your nearest club or for more information on how to get involved, please contact RYANI's Active Clubs Co-ordinator Lisa McCaffrey on 07788238083 or email lisa.mccaffrey@rya.org.uk