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Hundreds Push the Boat Out in Wales

by RYA Cymru-Wales 18 Jun 15:32 BST
2019 RYA Push the Boat Out, Cardiff Bay © Paul Wyeth

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.

The month-long, national participation campaign - which aims to get more people on-the-water, having fun and getting active outdoors - inspired thousands of people to attend their local PTBO venue around the UK and 'have a go'.

"It has been great to see so many taking the opportunity to give sailing a go all round Wales," said RYA Cymru Wales National Development Officer, Ruth Iliffe.

"We look forward to seeing many new faces continuing at those clubs which took part, but all this would not be possible without the help of all the volunteers who shared their passion and love for sailing."

One of the more high-profile events was taking Welsh Government deputy minister for culture, sport and tourism, Lord Dafydd Ellis Thomas, out sailing in Cardiff Bay.

He was helping to launch Adventure Smart UK, building nationally on the co-operation of adventure sports in Wales, but enjoyed a trip round the Bay to remind him of sailing experiences from his youth.

He was one of almost 200 people who tried sailing in Cardiff Bay over the month, thanks largely to an effective social media campaign to publicise the events.

PTBO proved a real family experience for some. For instance, at Llandegfedd near Usk, there were grandparents who saw the flyer, their son had sailed as a child and used the opportunity to give his children a first taste of the sport - three generations involved.

The feedback was that they would definitely be back, while around half were keen to follow up training and/or membership.

They were some of the more than 50 people who went through the doors - and out onto the water - at Llandegfedd. These were just some of the reactions.

  • Hoping to come again, loved the experience and enjoyed the boat
  • Overall a great time
  • More wind would be better to go faster
  • Great experience, just signed up for training in June
  • My kids are hooked, we'll be back, thanks
It was a combined effort between the sailing club and Llandegfedd Water Sports with 12 people supporting all three weekends and 26 volunteers helping out in total.

Llandegfedd PTBO Co-ordinator, Lynette Williams said, "It was a fantastic achievement for all, especially the public and supporting RYA, Llandegfedd sailing club and Llandegfedd Water Sports, with 54 people having great new experience on the water.

"Over the May event 26 club volunteers, together with LWS, fulfilled various roles. This was great commitment, hard work and was pivotal to the success of the event.

"A core LSC PTBO team saw 12 individuals supporting all three weekends supported by many more volunteers than in previous years."

It was also busy on the West Wales coast for Tresaith Mariners, who enjoyed a successful PTBO in Cardigan Bay.

The sunshine brought out greater numbers in the first and third sessions, with the overall numbers pushing up towards fifty.

There were several boats out on the water each time, in particular three club-owned Fevas bought with Sport Wales money helped to get more youngsters out on the water and sailing.

There were several new members as a result of PTBO, mainly juniors from the age of four upwards along with families. The focus now is regular Wednesday evening training sessions through to September.

"There were several potential members, a few previous members just coming back for the summer and a few of hardened all year round," said Emma Pearce, Tresaith Membership Secretary.

"In our final PTBO we had another 18 on the water in total, from age 4 upwards. We are starting our regular Wednesday night training sessions - £3 for members and £10 for non-members."

The numbers were lower for Pembrokeshire Performance Sailing Academy, based at Llanion Cove near Pembroke Dock on the Milford Haven Estuary, but the conversion rate to membership was high.

"We only had nine participants, but of those four have already signed up for more training on our PPSA Pirates night, so just about a 50 per cent take up - not bad," said PPSA Chief Instructor, Richard Owen.

RYA Programmes Manager, Michelle Gent commented: "It's fantastic to hear that so many people have been able to take this opportunity to get active on the water and involved with our sport. The feedback we have started to receive is really positive, with many clubs welcoming new members and visitors returning to keep sailing.

"Once again, we are hugely grateful to all the clubs, centres and volunteers around the UK, who have dedicated so much time and effort to make these events happen - it simply wouldn't be possible without your support."

Try Sailing this Summer

RYA Push the Boat Out has come to a close, but there are still plenty of opportunities to get out on the water this summer. Supported by the RYA, venues across the UK will be hosting Try Sailing events and open days from June - the end of September.

For more information visit rya.org.uk/go/TrySailing. To find out more about how to get started on the water this summer, visit rya.org.uk/go/StartBoating

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