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Only Girls Afloat initiative in Wales

by Hamish Stuart, RYA Cymru-Wales 14 Jun 2017 20:14 BST 10 June 2017

Almost 50 future sailors helped to launch the new Only Girls Afloat initiative in Wales, a programme designed to grow female participation in watersports.

The scheme, run by RYA Cymru Wales, is aimed at getting women and girls into sailing, windsurfing, powerboating and personal watercraft (jet skis), through working with RYA affiliated clubs and training centres.

The Wales wide programme, Only Girls Afloat/ Merched ar y Dŵr, was launched in Llandudno at one of their monthly girls only nights, after the project was piloted there last year.

There were 45 women and girls who took part in activities including dinghy sailing, yachting, powerboating and personal watercraft.

The programme was officially launched by Mary Meldrum, president of Conway Yacht Club who has sailed for over 50 years. "Get out and do it! Sailing made a massive difference to my life," she said.

The programme actively encourages social sailing and fun in a female friendly environment and facilities.

"The emphasis is as much on the social side as the training, it is all about sailing together and having fun," explained RYA Cymru Wales national development officer Ruth Iliffe.

"Any formalised training like Learn to Sail must take place in an RYA Training Centre environment, but this scheme is to help clubs to attract new members, have a more active membership and simply have fun.

"It is a Wales-wide programme funded by Sport Wales, any interested clubs should contact their RYA Cymru Wales regional club development officer."

RYA Cymru Wales North Wales development officer Rosy Hearn added, "The club or centre needs to identify an Agent within the organisation - they're an agent for change.

"The benefits include greater support from the RYA Cymru Wales development team, prioritised access to a community coach, Only Girls Afloat kit at a discounted rate, as well as use of the branding, publicity and promotion. It will also mean access to an Only Girls Afloat Ambassador "Llandudno sailing club did a fantastic job supporting the event with some token males – or honourary women – helpers!

"This is a great start and we look forward to rolling this scheme out all around Wales."

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