Please select your home edition
Edition
Sunsail 2017 July Windwards

All-change for Solva Sailing Club thanks to Sunsail's 'Funding the Future'

by Mark Jardine on 14 Mar 14 March 2017
Kids sailing at Solva Sailing Club © SSC

Solva Sailing Club is a tiny club which aims to encourage more people, particularly youngsters, to take up sailing. They are based in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, surrounded by some of the most beautiful and unspoilt coastal waters in the UK.

The club offers taster sessions for local schoolchildren, and follow-up development for keen youngsters who are looking to get into sailing. Until now the lack of changing facilities and storage lockers has held the club back.

Helen Hughes put in an application for Sunsail's innovative 'Funding the Future' competition, aimed at helping clubs increase participation in sailing, and at the London Boat Show it was announced that Solva Sailing Club had won! The club is using the £5,000 award to create the new changing facilities.

Despite being a very small club in a village with a total population of just 855, Solva has produced regular members of the Welsh and GB Topper and Laser Squads and a number of champion sailors. Currently one sailor is in the full GBR Laser squad and another is coaching promising young sailors at a national level.

We spoke to Piers Beckett, Vice-Chairman of Solva Sailing Club about what the award meant to the club:

"We take complete beginners out sailing from the local primary schools and hold regular taster sessions at the club in the six Optimist dinghies, three Toppers and a Wayfarer that we have. We've found that the kids start in Opis, then progress to Toppers where some get involved in the local youth racing circuit, and from there they move onto the RYA Cymru-Wales training where they progress as far as they want to go in the sport. We don't push people to race and we don't hold regular races, but what we do is lend boats and provide support for any children who want to move on in their sailing.

"We now have a nucleus of parents who've gone through the process and they are now providing the support for the next generation of sailors, which makes a very big difference.

"We try to keep things very simple and don't have many overheads as a club, which keeps membership cheap. We're much more interested in members who will come and help out at the club.

"Solva Boatowners' Association have been extremely accommodating to us, and the changing rooms that we are creating are displacing some of their members' lockers. They've been very supportive of the idea."

As part of the Funding the Future prize, Round the World Yachtswoman and Sunsail Ambassador Dee Caffari will be giving a talk at the club and Piers told us what interest this has generated:

"It's been quite phenomenal. We have 90 people already signed up to come and I think it's going to be quite a large local event. We have one or two local sailors who cruise quite seriously and they've generated a lot of interest in the talk. It's a very active village and if something's going on they want to know about it and come along and I think it'll make quite a big difference."

Solva Sailing Club is helping bring up the next generation of sailors, coaches and volunteers who will continue bringing people into the sport. Clubs like this, and the volunteers who run them, truly are the life-blood of our sport.

Related Articles

International Moth Worlds top contenders guide
Standby for the most competitive Moth Worlds ever The largest and most competitive Moth World Championship begins this week at one of the most glamorous racing locations in world sailing, Lake Garda. A record 240 Moths are entered from 25 countries from all over the globe. Posted on 24 Jul
Paul Goodison interview at Lake Garda
The Moth Worlds versus the America's Cup Jonny Fullerton interviews Paul Goodison, current Moth World Champion, ahead of the 2017 Worlds: talking about breakages, Moth versus America's Cup sailing, and what he has been missing these past two years. Posted on 24 Jul
WASZP International Games preview
Standby for take off at Campione, Lake Garda The most popular one design foiler in the world is hosting its inaugural International Championship only 1 year since production commenced on this product. The WASZP is taking grass roots sailing to new levels around the world. Posted on 23 Jul
Moth Worlds at Lake Garda preview part 2
So who's going to win then? We left this conversation yesterday at the critical point. It's the usual conversation that the armchair pundits like to start talking about in the run up to a big sailing event. Posted on 22 Jul
Ian Walker Interview
Musto ambassador, Volvo Ocean Race winner, Olympic medallist We speak to Musto ambassador Ian Walker about his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup, his new desk job, sailing for fun, and 20 years of the John Merricks Sailing Trust. Posted on 21 Jul
Moth Worlds at Lake Garda preview part 1
It's a wonderful time; it's a horrible time! It's a wonderful time; it's a horrible time. We're less than a week away from the start of the 2017 Moth Worlds and it really is a time of mixed feelings for Mothies. It's getting the heart pumping just putting these thoughts down. Posted on 21 Jul
Sailing history for sale
We are about to lose a major part of UK dinghy heritage The UK dinghy scene is unique in its richness and diversity. Sadly, it looks as though we may be about to lose a major part of this important heritage. Posted on 12 Jul
Knots are great, but beware of limitations
Paul Dyer tests the effects of knots and splices on rope strength Paul Dyer, technical manager at Marlow Ropes, tests the effects of knots and splices on rope strength. Posted on 11 Jul
Interview with David Chandler
VX One Champion, 37 years after PoW Cup win David Chandler recently won the VX One National Championship at Sunderland YC, 37 years after winning the Prince of Wales Cup, the one-race nationals for the International 14 class. We spoke to him about how he's 're-living his youth' in the VX One. Posted on 6 Jul
SuperFoilers are go!
Welcome to the flying boat era on Sydney Harbour SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets in the great scheme of things, they come together in the one form as harmoniously as a Rolls Royce. Posted on 2 Jul