Your idea of sailing might be big, expensive yachts and a life on the ocean waves. But hundreds of people regularly go down to their local sailing club every month across the south, sailing small sailboats or windsurfing with friends - just loving the buzz of being on the water. You and your family could be out there with them.
Have you ever considered what might be possible on-the-water? With such a fantastic playground right on our doorstep, now’s your chance! More than 350 venues around the UK will be offering free or low cost sailing and windsurfing taster sessions at RYA Push the Boat Out open days this May.
Something for everyone
The Czura family went along to Lee on Solent Sailing Club (LOSSC) in 2017, looking for something to do together as a family. Mum, Lucy was out walking their dog when she saw the banner inviting newcomers to come and try sailing.
“Initially we thought it would be a good opportunity to give the boys a chance to ‘have a go’ and possibly something my husband, Peter and I could do together once the kids had all grown up. The club was so friendly and welcoming, we’ve all become involved and it’s now something we can all do together,” explains Lucy.
Peter had sailed when he was younger, but the family had always assumed it would be too difficult and too expensive to join a sailing club. They went along with their three boys (aged 8, 10 and 14), who took to sailing like ducks to water, and have since become active members of the kids Saturday morning ‘Gybe Club’.
Lucy and Peter have also become fully integrated members, with Lucy volunteering in the Gybe club and Peter completing his RYA Powerboat Level 2 qualification and providing safety boat cover. Both parents have learnt to sail through training put on by LOSSC and have achieved their RYA Dinghy Level 2 qualifications.
“I’m enjoying continuing to learn, I’d love to be better (at sailing) and keep progressing – the aim is to spend more time out sailing all together. It can be daunting as an adult trying something new for the first time, but everyone at the club has been so positive and encouraging. It’s a really welcoming environment to just get involved and have a go,” said Lucy.
"For the boys it’s been amazing, they get so much independence out on the water and the character benefits are huge - having to look after the boat, make sensible decisions, think of other people and now that they’re racing it’s added another element for them. They are learning so many things and developing skills that are really going to benefit them in all walks of life.”
An opportunity near you
If you’re looking for a way to be more active, spend time with family and enjoy the great outdoors – it’s probably closer to home than you think. The RYA’s Push the Boat Out campaign is returning this May with opportunities to try sailing and windsurfing for little or no cost. Venues up and down the south coast and throughout the UK will be opening their doors, offering a chance to get out on the water, have a fun family day out and maybe even enjoy a summer BBQ.
“It’s an opportunity to allow your kids to try it out without any financial commitment. That’s why Push the Boat Out is so good – it’s amazing to find out what they really think without any pressure. I’d definitely recommend other families come along and give it a go,” explains Lucy.
To find out more about Push the Boat Out and to find an event near you visit www.rya.org.uk/ptbo.