London clubs Push The Boat Out to get more people into watersports
- Credit: Archant
Some 10 sailing clubs and training centres across London welcomed visitors to ‘Push the Boat Out’ and try sailing and windsurfing for free or low cost.
The RYA's national Push the Boat Out (PTBO) campaign aims to get more people on-the-water, having fun and getting active outdoors.
The month of open days and 'have a go' taster sessions has once again seen thousands of people get afloat at their local PTBO venue.
Tim Jeffery at Greenwich Yacht Club (GYC) reported a fabulous response with over 300 visitors, of whom over 250 went onto the water to try rowing, powerboats or sailing.
He said: "We could not have done this without an amazing input from club members volunteering their time and their valuable boats. And thanks to RYA for making this whole thing possible.
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"It was about making people aware of this fabulous facility in the heart of London. As one returning sailor wrote: 'Thank you for today, we really enjoyed it. Your enthusiasm and caring attitude made me realise what I have been missing'."
Commodore Nick Day added: "The members who gave so much of their time to the community of GYC and — very significantly — to the community outside, deserve all our thanks and congratulations."
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Tamesis Club in Teddington also topped the ton with over 100 visitors and Carolyne Vines said: "Members turned out in force to prepare the club, greet visitors, take them out sailing, and prepare the sumptuous barbecue.
"The club was buzzing and everyone seemed to have a really good time. I'd like to thank everyone who was involved, the members, and of course, all our lovely visitors."
Blue Lamp Afloat (BLA) based at St Katharine Docks offers powerboat training. Principal Colin Trowles said: "We were very keen to get involved in PTBO. We had 18 people come along - many were new to boating and having got the "boating bug" are now keen to book RYA powerboat level 2 courses.
"Everybody who took part said how much fun the sessions were. Now we're planning something very special for Halloween".
Among the BLA visitors was actor David Suchet, who did his level 2 course there, and explained: "It's the first time I've handled a boat with twin engines and being able to 'turn on a sixpence' was great fun."
Nick Marley from Island Barn Reservoir Sailing Club in West Molesey said: "The feedback from club volunteers, and more than 100 visitors trying out sailing, power boating and the warm welcome of the clubhouse team, was overwhelmingly 'what a great day' and 'how much fun was had'.
"The galley team prepared food for the visitors and bacon butties to fuel the volunteer team. Visitors wanting to experience more sailing were enrolled to either TrySail or the forthcoming learn to sail weekends. Thank you to everyone that participated. We all had fun!"
Aquarius Sailing Club in Hampton quite literally had to push the boats out as Kevin Lavery said: "Over the two days of our open weekend the wind hardly blew. But that didn't disappoint the 80 or more visitors who came over the weekend."
RYA Programmes Manager, Michelle Gent added: "It's fantastic to hear that so many people have been able to take this opportunity to get active on the water and involved with our sport.
"The feedback we have started to receive is really positive, with many clubs welcoming new members and visitors returning to keep sailing.
"Once again, we are hugely grateful to all the clubs, centres and volunteers around the UK, who have dedicated so much time and effort to make these events happen - it simply wouldn't be possible without your support."
If you missed Push the Boat Out, it's not too late to start your boating adventure.
Supported by the RYA, venues will be hosting Try Sailing events across the London and South East region.
For more information visit rya.org.uk/go/TrySailing. To find out more about how to get started on the water this summer, visit rya.org.uk/go/StartBoating.