The West Midlands really did Push The Boat Out in style as 22 sailing clubs and watersports centres across the region welcomed thousands of people out on to the water to ‘have a go’ as part of the RYA’s national festival of sailing and windsurfing on 17-18 May.
With clubs and centres offering free and discounted taster opportunities for all, people across the West Midlands took advantage of incredible weather that weekend to enjoy the many free and discounted taster opportunities for all taking place all over the counties.
Amongst the larger events in the region, Draycote Water SC in Warwickshire took 300 newcomers sailing, with many of those signing up for RYA learn to sail courses and joining the club on the day, while Earlswood Lakes SC, near Solihull, had an unprecedented 240 first-timers enjoying a taster sail and 300 visitors in total.
Eight people signed up for an RYA training course on the day at Earlswood Lakes, with further subsequent enquiries coming via the club website in the days immediately after the event. The Lord Mayor of Solihull visited and the club staged its own mini “Americas Cup” with a live match race.
Charles Speakman, ELSC Communications Officer, said: “A turnout of 300 visitors for a small club like ELSC must be a success story. We also collected contact details on the day for 34 people who would like more information about the club. The club looked great, the weather was fantastic and we did an exemplary job of promoting sailing at our wonderful club.”
Himley Hall SC, a small club near Stourbridge, filled their next RYA Level 1 and 2 learn to sail courses from their 40 first-timers, while in Worcestershire, Trimpley SC near Bewdley had 80 newcomers sailing while Aztec / Upton Warren SC also boasted healthy attendances, with serious course interest.
Bartley SC and Midland SC, in Birmingham, also Pushed the Boat Out. Mike Gibson, Bartley SC Commodore, said: “We took advantage of the opportunity to open our doors so anybody who wanted to try sailing of any age ability, could get out on the water and see if they enjoy it. It’s important to try and show that the sport is not elitist and that it’s open to everybody.”
Gareth Brookes, RYA Regional Development Officer for the Midlands, said: “Push the Boat Out is all about giving people the opportunity to discover the sport at their local sailing club and to find out just how easy it is to get involved. We were delighted to see so many clubs and centres taking part in the weekend, running fantastic events for their local communities. Thank you to everybody involved for all of the hard work.”
Don’t worry if you missed out on RYA Push the Boat Out weekend. Clubs and centres across the West Midlands will be running plenty more RYA Start Sailing and Go Sailing courses and activities throughout the summer.
To find out how you can get involved in a fantastic outdoor sport, where real life really does get left on the shore, visit www.rya.org.uk/wheresmynearest