A TAMWORTH sailor insists, “We want to break down barriers so people don’t ask ‘Why sail?’ they think ‘Why not sail?’” as a month of free Push The Boat Out ‘try sailing’ events launches across Birmingham and Solihull from next week.
Mitesh Patel was cricket mad growing up. But having discovered a love of boats during a post-university gap year in Australia, he couldn’t wait to learn the ropes after attending Tamworth Sailing Club’s free Open Day in 2013. Now the 38-year-old primary school Assistant Head is passionate about opening up sailing for all.
Five venues are hosting Push The Boat Out events around Birmingham and Solihull with Tamworth SC and Shustoke SC welcoming anyone to ‘have a go’ on Saturday 5 May with Tamworth also opening their doors on Bank Holiday Monday 7 May. Midland SC and Sandwell Valley SC are inviting all comers to Push The Boat Out the following Saturday 12 May with Earlswood Lakes SC hosting their ’try sailing’ open day on Sunday 20 May.
All kit and safety equipment is provided so bring a pair of old trainers you don’t mind getting wet and your sense of adventure and fun.
Mitesh believes you won’t regret it. He said: “Sailing was never on my radar as a kid. Now giving people the chance to enjoy something I love is the best feeling. I always wanted to learn more about sailing when I came back from Australia, but I was 22 then, life gets in the way.
“People have opened their eyes to some of the barriers that have prevented people from sailing in the past. It’s getting easier and more affordable all the time. I really love it and it’s a skill that’s opened up new avenues in my life.”
After doing his RYA Start Sailing certificates it didn’t take long for Mitesh to want to put his own teaching talents to use and he became an Assistant Instructor, supporting others learning to sail. With a growing passion for raising the appeal of sailing and making it more accessible he also served a term as Commodore helping to run the club
Last summer, Mitesh qualified as a full Dinghy Instructor and wants to broaden his own horizons too by learning more about coastal sailing and the different challenges that brings.
He added: “For the first three years I sailed every weekend all year round. I loved the challenge and feeling of getting better and better. I started racing early on and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but I’m glad I did it because I learned so much so quickly.”
No fewer than 23 events are taking place across the West Midlands in total. Refreshments will be available at all Push The Boat Out events, with a host of shoreside activities and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy too. Find your nearest Push The Boat Out event at www.rya.org.uk/ptbo
Almost 400 venues across the UK are inviting people to Push The Boat Out throughout May. Over 22,000 people regularly go along to their local sailing club every month across the Midlands, sailing small sailboats or windsurfing.