The RYA Push the Boat Out 2016 is under way with almost 200 sailing taster events taking place across the country.
From 14-22 May, clubs and centres are opening their doors and inviting their local communities to get out on the water at free or low cost ‘have a go’ sailing and windsurfing taster sessions for all.
Hundreds of people across the UK took to the water during a weekend of perfect weather on 14 and 15 May.
Hugh McLean, from Clyde Cruising Club in Scotland, said: ‘We had a super day at Bardowie. Sunshine all afternoon, with many folks visiting throughout the day, and John Nicolson MP came and sailed with us. There were about 100 kids and adults on the water sailing. Altogether, it was a great day.’
Barrie Lyman, Commodore at Haversham Sailing Club, was delighted with the turnout at his club’s open day. He said: ‘If you’re thinking about visiting a Push the Boat Out event, I would very strongly recommend you do. You’ll find a very friendly welcome, experienced people to take you out on the water in boats that won’t frighten anybody, and you’ll make new friends as well.’
MP’s Liz Saville Roberts and Guto Bebb helped to launch Push the Boat Out in North Wales, where more than 100 people took to the water at Clywedog alone..
Roberts, MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, went out on the water in a dinghy and Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) in Pwllheli, while Bebb met officials, volunteers and those turning up for the day at Llandudno Sailing Club.
RYA Cymru Wales chief executive Phil Braden, who welcomed Bebb to Llandudno in his role as club commodore, said: ‘Push the Boat Out certainly got off to a strong start.’
He added: ‘Our thanks go to the many volunteers at clubs across Wales who gave their time and expertise to help other people get out on the water in a safe environment.’
In the south west of England, Upper Tamar Lake Sailing Club near Bude, in collaboration with the SW Lakes Trust, had four pirate ships working all day, taking more than 100 people out for a sailing experience, Sidmouth Sailing Club had a very busy open day, and between them, the OTC and the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre on Portland introduced more than 400 people to sailing and windsurfing.
Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club near Bristol tweeted: ‘Push the Boat Out at Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club with 55 visitors and a number of new members. Great day!’ while Shirehampton Sailing Club said: ‘Club members welcomed 30 guests and 28 of them took to the water in sailing dinghies with sailing instructors or experienced helms. A great time was had by all. The slightly worried faces of the guests as they got into the dinghies had turned into big smiles at the end of their trip.’
Axe Yacht Club near Seaton said on their Facebook page: ‘Push The Boat Out today – what a success!! The yard was full of visitors all day. Several enjoyed a trip out on sailing cruisers, 17 adults and 18 under 18s experienced taster sails in dinghies, lots of interest in motor boating/fishing and the RYA courses we offer too – and all enjoyed the fantastic refreshments put on by the social team. Thanks to all Club members who helped make it a great day. The feedback from visitors about the Club was amazing!!!!’
RYA club support advisor Jackie Bennetts said: ‘The first weekend of RYA Push the Boat Out 2016 has been a great success, thanks in part to some fantastic weather. We’re looking forward to seeing even more people get out sailing over the next week.
‘We’ve already had some great positive feedback from the clubs and centres who ran events and from people who went out on the water and had a go, which is fantastic.’
More than 65,000 people have discovered the sport through Push the Boat Out since its launch in 2012. Nationally, 2015 Push the Boat Out saw almost 28,500 newcomers attend events at almost 350 locations across the UK.
Duncan Truswell, RYA Sport Development Manager, said: ‘Over the past four years Push the Boat Out has enabled thousands of people who may never have even considered giving sailing a go the chance to try the sport. Many of these have since become club members and volunteers and are inspiring others to follow their lead and try the sport.
‘Clubs and centres continue to get better and better at providing a warm welcome, and we are really excited for this year’s Push the Boat Out, which I’m sure will prove even more popular. 2016 is gearing up to be the perfect year to get into sailing.’
Push the Boat Out will run until this Sunday, May 22 across the UK, so there are still plenty of opportunities wishing to get out on the water.
To find your nearest event, visit www.rya.org.uk/go/ptbo
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