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his upcoming May from the 9th – 17th of the month is the Royal Yachting Association’s annual ‘Push The Boat Out’ campaign where people of all ages, experiences and abilities are encouraged to have a go at sailing and windsurfing at one of the many local sailing clubs across the country. These low-coast and often free days are open to everyone hoping to ‘have a go’ and see if they enjoy getting out on the water. For the first time the ‘Push The Boat Out’ campaign for 2015 will span over nine days - two weekends and five weekdays - as opposed to its previous one weekend, to give people even more chance to discover the sport that is right on their doorsteps. Last year more than 24,000 people nationwide ‘pushed the boat out’, with no fewer than 22 events taking place across the West Midlands including six in Staffordshire alone. With potential for more events in 2015 Push The Boat Out hopes to get even more members of local communities out on the water enjoying the sport. There are no fewer than 17 sailing clubs within a 25 mile radius of Stoke and nine clubs in Staffordshire itself. Here at Staffordshire Living we thought this all sounded pretty wonderful and were eager to have a go for ourselves and see if we had a taste for sailing. Rudyard Lake kindly invited our Features Writer, Rachel Jones along for a taster day but Mother Nature had other ideas and unfortunately we were unable to visit the sailing club (nothing like a pesky bit of ice to halt any plans). After the next best thing I was put in touch with a member of Rudyard Lake Sailing Club to hear about their experience getting out on the water.

Neil Walker is 46 years old and lives in Fenton. He joined Rudyard Lake Sailing Club in

it out on the water. I knew about Rudyard Lake Sailing Club as my dad was a member in the past but for some reason or another stopped going to the club. I knew a few people at the club and knew a few names so I thought I could go along and see if I should join too.’’ Staffordshire Living appreciates that sailing may seem like one of those sports, unlike football or rugby, where it isn’t accessible to the masses. Well this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes at first glance sailing may seem like a ‘posh’ sport or one that you can only be a part of if you’re really rich but this are exactly the sorts of misconceptions that the Push The Boat Out campaign and Open Days are making an effort to dismiss. Neil explains: ‘’The actual process of becoming a member is really quite easy you just fill in a form, pay your subscription and you’re away. You don’t even have to own your own boat! There are club boats available if you want to have a god first and get a feel for it before you invest in your own boat.’’ ‘’I bought my own boat once I joined, an old wooden Solo and I started racing right away. I am now looking to buy my third boat, a K1; its more powerful with two sails. When I first got out on the water on my own I was a little bit nervous of course. You get in a dinghy, you’re on your own and there’s no one there to tell you whether what you’re doing is right or wrong.’’ ‘’I don’t know about other clubs but Rudyard is a great club. Everyone there gets talking to one another and there’s a nice atmosphere and very much a social element to being in the club. If you’re thinking about joining I would highly suggest coming along one weekend and see what you think. Just turn up, say you’re interested and there’s plenty of people to talk to and they might even take you out on the water.’’ ‘’How involved you want to be is entirely up to you. This season I am the kitchen galley and will manage the kitchen but we all do our duties and help out. The season typically runs March – December and I am really looking forward to getting back out on the water.’’

June 2014 after attending an Open Day and recapturing his love for the water. He says: ‘’I had done a lot of water sports as a kid with my dad, we went windsurfing and canoeing. My dad had 48 foot yacht and we would take

Martin Lilley

"Last year more than 24,000 people nationwide pushed the boat out"


Issue 64 staffordshire living  

March/April 2015 Staffordshire Living Magazine

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