Photos © Volvo Sailing Academy
Annie Lush took time out from her Team SCA 2014/15 Volvo Ocean race training to take first time sailors out on the water
The Volvo Sailing Academy also offered 'try windsurfing and stand up paddle boarding' sessions at Queen Mary Sailing Club
Two of Britain's top sailors, Olympian, Annie Lush, who competed at the London 2012 Games and Rio 2016 medal hopeful, Nick Thompson returned to the grassroots this weekend, teaching over 200 first time sailors the fundamentals of the sport.
Queen Mary Sailing Club, located on the largest inland reservoir in the South East hosted the 'Volvo Sailing Academy' - the third event in a series launched by Volvo Car UK to 'get the country sailing'. Team Volvo sailor Annie, took time out from her Volvo Ocean Race 2014/15 training with all women's crew, Team SCA and spent the day on the water with Nick introducing beginners, young and old, to the sports.
The Surrey sailing club was a hive of activity and alongside the free sailing sessions there were lessons in windsurfing and stand-up paddle boarding – one of the most popular and fastest growing water sports.
"The spirit of the nation was incredible last summer, the games ignited people's imagination and it really turned around how people felt about sport. The Paralympics were especially outstanding and the realization hit that anybody and everybody can get involved and that anything is possible. We need to recapture the spirit, in all levels of the sport and continue to encourage and inspire the nation." Commented Annie.
On Sunday the two top sailors spent time on the water with club members, holding advanced, intense coaching sessions for those wanting to progress in the sport and passing on the knowledge that has helped them claim World, European and National Championship titles.
The Volvo Sailing Academy programme is a long-term plan for Volvo Car UK as part of its commitment to supporting grassroots sailing. During the three events - that included Hayling Island sailing club hosted by Olympic silver medallist, Saskia Clark and Rutland sailing club hosted by 2008 Olympic gold medallist, Paul Goodison over 700 people have got out on the water to try the sports, that also included powerkiting – a shore based introduction to kite surfing.
"All three Volvo Sailing Academy events have been hugely popular and it's clear to see there are a lot of people interested in trying something new and enjoying the sports.
"Volvo Car UK has eight weekend academies planned for 2014 and the aim is to work with our Team Volvo sailors to continue encouraging people to try the water sports and as Annie mentioned, to try and recapture last summer's spirit," Commented Nikki Rooke, Head of Corporate Communications, Events and Sponsorship for Volvo Car UK who also attended this weekend's event.