Ullswater Yacht Club has been named Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Club of the Year at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show where the awards were presented by the British Sailing Team’s Ben Saxton.

Beating off stiff competition, the Lake District club were selected as the overall winner by the RYA awards panel and were specifically recognised for their efforts in increasing participation.

Having started 2016 deep in flood water, the club members rallied together making a huge effort to get up and running for the start of the season.

Successful marketing and publicity made sure the club was more visible than ever, attracting new members and novice sailors to a taster sessions, sailing courses and children’s summer clubs and activities. Ullswater YC also ran an ‘I am Team GB’ event which saw more than 1,000 people get out on the water.

David Clarke, Ullswater YC said: ‘It’s just fantastic. All the work that our volunteers have done from the club house being built, to the taster sessions and so many visitors at the ‘I am Team GB’ event-this is the icing on the cake!’

New for 2017, all five shortlisted clubs were recognised for their achievements across five brand new categories: increasing participation, innovation, communication, inclusivity and facility development.

The Innovation Award was presented to the Heart of England Offshore Cruising Association which enables people in the Midlands who love sailing offshore, to stay connected to their passion despite living so far from the sea. The club organises charters and ‘shared cost cruising’ to make offshore sailing more accessible. It also offers a wide variety of yacht racing, training and social opportunities.

Finalists for a second year in a row, Rudyard Lake Sailing Club were recognised for their achievements in communications. The club has excelled in embracing digital and more traditional media to better connect and communicate with people, while introducing new activities to create a powerful support network for novices to improve their skills.

Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club, are this year’s winners of the Inclusivity Category, having worked effectively with their Local Authority to raise awareness of sailing and to provide accessible opportunities for all. This club have ensured that anyone, from any walk of life is able to experience the joys of sailing.

Whitefriars Sailing Club, in Gloucestershire, are the winners of the Facility Development Category for their project to build a brand new training barn. The inclusion of an accessible toilet, drying and storage facilities along with an indoor training space means the club is now in a better position to respond to and meet the needs and expectations of its members, both now and in the future.

Special thanks go to Arthur J. Gallagher who support the RYA Club of the Year Award and to Sailing Awards who donated the perpetual RYA Club of the Year trophy when the award was first introduced in 2008.

Find more information about the award and the all the finalists can be found at www.rya.org.uk/go/cluboftheyear