Please select your home edition
Edition
YY.com app (top)

This girl can sail with RYA Push the Boat Out

by Becky Gilbert-Wood 10 May 11:04 BST May 2019
RYA Push the Boat Out © Emily Whiting

A recent survey has shown the number of females actively participating in watersports is on the rise*. Often perceived as a male-dominated activity, we're seeing more and more women take to the water, proving sailing and windsurfing really is for everyone.

Joining your local club and learning or relearning to sail, is a brilliant way to get active, challenge yourself, meet like-minded people and most importantly of all, have a lot of fun!

The RYA's Push the Boat Out (PTBO) campaign returns this May, offering free or low cost sailing and windsurfing taster sessions across the UK. Why not find out what's on near you and give it a go?

A sense of achievement

From setting foot in a boat for the first time, to becoming an integral leader at her local club, Vicky Collins has had a rapid transition. She commented: "Back in spring 2016 my girls brought home yet another bit of paper from school, our local club were having a 'try sailing' day - could they go? It was free, local and sounded fun - so off we went with a couple of friends."

"All the children had fun and got wet whilst we watched and half wished we were also having a go. We signed the kids up and spent a fun summer watching them learn to sail whilst getting to grips with our new kayaks - first step on the midlife crisis!"

Fast forward and the whole family had now become fully integrated club members. After a year learning to sail, helping out around the club and taking on various RYA courses, Vicky took on a new level of responsibility as 'Rear Commodore Sailing'.

"2018 was a whirlwind of learning. I bought boats, produced a sailing calendar, and learned a lot about organising people and events. In between race duties and helping our youth captain shape our young sailors, I got a bit of time out on the water in club boats, experienced my first capsize and learned to trust my instincts," explains Vicky.

"I've gone from a warm weather beach walker, to out on the water in all weathers! What joining has really brought though, is a sense of achievement, community, resourcefulness, determination and pride - those qualities stay when the wetsuit comes off and are completely reflected by all my sailors from 8-80. Do I recommend joining your local club? Yes, 100% yes."

A new chapter

Having lost her husband the year before and given up her job in London, Karen Corley discovered a love of sailing, and a new passion for life after trying the sport for the first time at a PTBO event in 2016.

"I was completely lost and lacking in confidence," she recalls. "But everyone at the club was really friendly and made me feel very welcome. I went out in a Pico dinghy with someone, it was a fairly brisk wind, so we got a bit wet, but I really enjoyed it and had a fabulous day."

It would be the start of a whole new chapter for Karen, who turns 60 this year. She joined the club and learnt how to sail, progressing to dinghy racing and crewing on yachts, and is now in training as a crew member for the Australia-China leg of the 2019-20 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

As a semi-retired freelance consultant, Karen says she is very much sailing on a shoestring but has nevertheless found the sport extremely accessible: "With dinghy sailing especially you don't have to spend lots of money to do it, and if you want to go yacht sailing, lots of people want crew all the time."

Karen enjoys the independence and decision-making of sailing her one-person Topper dinghy and by contrast, the teamwork of sailing bigger boats as a crew for the club's cruiser-racing fleet of yachts. She refers to the club as her second home but says her three grown up children would argue it's her first home!

She concluded: "Sailing is now a huge part of my life and I love being out in the elements. I like to challenge myself and go out in quite lively winds, that's part of the fun, and I enjoy learning new things. Once you're out in a boat on the water, you have to focus on what you're doing, so you're just transported somewhere else - it's another world."

Try sailing in May

The RYA's Push the Boat Out (PTBO) campaign returns this May, with more than 390 venues across the UK offering free or low cost, sailing and windsurfing taster sessions.

The national participation campaign aims to get more people on-the-water, having fun and getting active outdoors. All ages and abilities are welcome, with opportunities for children, families, beginners and lapsed sailors, as well as those with disabilities or special requirements for getting out on-the-water.

Last year, more than 39,000 people across the UK attended a PTBO open day, inspiring thousands of new sailors to join their local club.

Find out more about the RYA Push the Boat Out campaign and events near you at rya.org.uk/ptbo.

*Watersports Participation Survey 2018 - conducted annually by a consortium of leading marine bodies including British Marine, Royal Yachting Association (RYA), Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), British Canoeing (BC) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas). An executive summary of the report is available here.

Related Articles

Hundreds Push the Boat Out in Wales
The month-long, national participation campaign inspired thousands of people Hundreds of visitors took the chance to try sailing and speedboating for little or no cost in May, at 20 clubs and centres around Wales in this year's RYA Push The Boat Out. Posted on 18 Jun
Thousands tried sailing this May
RYA Push the Boat Out 2019 inspired people to 'have a go' This year's RYA Push the Boat Out (PTBO) saw some 400 RYA affiliated clubs and recognised training centres, invite visitors to try sailing and windsurfing for little or no cost in May. Posted on 5 Jun
Tell your friends to try sailing this May
Push the Boat Out final weekend With more than 50 PTBO open days offering free or low cost opportunities to try sailing or windsurfing this weekend, why not make the most of the Spring bank holiday and 'have a go'? Posted on 23 May
From politics to pontoon as minister tries sailing
Lord Dafydd Ellis Thomas has helped to Push The Boat Out in Wales The deputy minister for culture, sport and tourism and helped launch Adventure Smart UK in Cardiff Bay, building nationally on the co-operation of adventure sports in Wales. Posted on 20 May
Tell your friends to try sailing this May
RYA's PTBO campaign has already seen thousands afloat The national participation campaign aims to get more people on-the-water, having fun and getting active outdoors. All ages and abilities are welcome, with opportunities for children, families, beginners and lapsed sailors Posted on 15 May
Open Day visitors blown away by Blackwater SC
During RYA Push The Boat Out "Try Sailing in May" event Two weeks after the warmest Easter for years, on Saturday 4th May Blackwater Sailing Club chose the coldest May Bank Holiday on record for their annual Open Day and RYA Push The Boat Out "Try Sailing in May" event. Posted on 8 May
RYA Push the Boat Out 2019 gets off to great start
Feedback from those taking advantage of the opportunity to try sailing was very positive A double figure number of new sailors gave the sport a try at the first Push The Boat Out session at Llandegfedd, a great start with more opportunities to come in May. Posted on 8 May
SESCA's 'Push The Boat Out' Open Day
A success despite chilly conditions On Sunday, nearly 160 visitors braved the chilly conditions to try their hand at sailing at the St Edmundsbury Sailing & Canoeing Association's (SESCA) Open Day at Lackford Lake, near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Posted on 7 May
Get active outdoors with RYA Push the Boat Out
Escape from modern day life, switch off the screens and get active outdoors The family friendly 'RYA Push the Boat Out' (PTBO) open days offer something for everyone, with a variety of both on-the-water and shore-side activities, as well as BBQs and entertainment for the kids. Posted on 3 May
Swimming strongman Ross Edgley tries sailing
RYA Push the Boat Out campaign launches today! Endurance swimmer, Ross Edgley has taken to the water once again, but this time to try sailing, as part of the RYA's Push the Boat Out campaign. Posted on 1 May