Discover Sailing at Colne Yacht Club

On coastline, lakes and waterways across the UK there are around 2,000 RYA affiliated clubs and centres offering opportunities for water-lovers of all ages to get afloat, with many of these based on the East Coast, inland rivers, lakes, estuaries and waterways. Plus, this summer some venues are running #DiscoverSailing sessions inviting you to come and ‘have a go’ for very little cost or FREE.

These events are aimed at giving individuals the opportunity to try sailing across the country. 

One of these events is being hosted by Colne Yacht Club, based in Brightlingsea, Essex. The Club offers training, cruising and racing in a variety of boats, including a Cadet section, and a popular Women on the Water group. The Discover Sailing Day is taking place on Sunday 15 May, from 10am-5pm.

Carol Eldridge came to the Club through an Open Day in 2018 and has not looked back since. She explained how, despite living in Brightlingsea for over 60 years, it was not until she was in her 70s that she plucked up courage to try sailing and, with encouragement from some of her friends who sailed at the Club, attended one of the Club’s Open Days in 2018. Although her husband sailed, Carol had never been on a yacht, and had instead ridden horses. Carol’s thinking at the time was “If I can ride a horse, presumably, I can stay on a yacht!”

On the taster day, she describes that the wind was ‘blowing a hooley’ and it was hailing, but she absolutely loved it, and thought of it like cantering on a horse. She found everyone very welcoming within the Club, and has since become involved in training, racing, is a founder member of the Women on the Water group, passed her RYA Level 2 and has even tried paddleboarding! Carol was also thrilled to receive the Club’s trophy for the most improved beginner in her first season. She also likes supporting the Club and giving back through maintenance of the boats – learning about rigging, engines and even antifouling! Looking ahead to this season, she is planning to take her RYA Level 3, but really just enjoys being out in the fresh air, and meeting lots of different people. She’s been on several cruises, and also enjoyed taking in all the wildlife – having seen porpoises, seals and birds all off the coast of Essex.

To anyone thinking about giving sailing a go, Carol says: “Just give it a go – it’s got to be on your bucket list. If you don’t try it, you won’t know how much you love it.”

Robbie Bell, Regional Development Officer for the East said: “The varied waterways of the East, from the coast to rivers, lakes and Broads, mean that there is something for everyone. Over the last few years we have seen the benefits for both physical and mental health that being active and outside in the fresh air can bring, and getting on the water is a great way to do this. Sailing is also very social, and a brilliant way to meet new people whilst learning a new skill” 

By joining a sailing club, you can give back to that community through volunteering and helping to run the club. So, what are you waiting for? Give sailing a go this summer.

For more information about a Discover Sailing Event near you, visit https://www.rya.org.uk/start-boating/discover-sailing

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