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OLAS 2020 - Leaderboard

Building a yachting community in the landlocked Midlands

by Karenza Morton 28 Jun 10:46 BST
Midlands Yacht Cruisers and Racers © MYCAR

A new Facebook community is giving Midlands-based yacht sailors year round access to their favourite pastime hundreds of miles from the sea.

There are more than 5,000 known yachting enthusiasts who live in the landlocked Midlands. Now an exclusive new Midlands Yacht Cruisers and Racers Facebook Group - or MYCAR for short - is bringing the region's scattered big boat sailors together virtually in one place.

MYCAR, which has RYA Affiliated Club status and is free to join, gives sailors access to training, cruising and racing opportunities, the chance to 'meet' and network with other like-minded Midlanders, a way to stay up-to-date on relevant current affairs and sailing news and a platform to proactively share advice, information and experiences.

To be part of the MYCAR community, sailors don't have to own a boat, just have a passion for them and live in the Midlands.

Judy Lambourne, MYCAR founder and RYA Midlands Cruising Representative, explains: "There are seven cruising clubs and a number of shore-based RYA Training Centres dotted around the Midlands doing great work in enabling the region's big boat sailors to meet regularly, learn new skills and enjoy annual cruises, rallies and races at home and abroad. But only around 10% of the Midlands' known yachters are members of these clubs.

"MYCAR is about strengthening the community of yachting enthusiasts across the region so that anyone who loves sailing on the sea, wants to do more or has opportunities to offer others can connect and capitalise on being part of a network of like-minded landlocked Midlanders."

One of the first to join MYCAR was 20-year-old Ethan Harries, who lives in Bedworth, North Warwickshire, situated some two-and-a-half hours from the nearest bit of coast. Ethan had his eyes opened to yacht sailing when, on an RYA Start Sailing dinghy course at Draycote Water, the then 14-year-old met two people who were about to do their RYA Competent Crew.

When Ethan discovered Shustoke Sailing Club, just 11 miles from his home, had an offshore section he couldn't believe his luck.That was five years ago and he's since taken part in cruises and deliveries around the UK and Channel Islands and competed in the Round The Island Race. He achieved his Day Skipper theory last year and is now waiting to undertake the practical part of his training.

Ethan said: "If my experience with Shustoke is anything to go by, I'm looking forward to joining and networking with more like-minded people and discovering what opportunities might arise and experience I can learn from. Being able to do that online is also particularly important at the moment and it provides a way for people to check in more regularly than meeting up in person.

"Yachting for me is about the potential to explore. I still sail dinghies, but I can get bored sailing round the same lake for 20 minutes! In the past two years the offshore sailing I've done has whetted my appetite to do more and go further afield. It's been lovely to discover this group of people with so much experience and knowledge on my doorstep at Shustoke. Now I'm looking forward to extending this through the wider Midlands yachting community."

MYCAR doesn't organise activities; its sole purpose is to complement and expand on the work the Midlands cruising clubs, training centres and RYA do to promote and celebrate yacht sailing with those who live in the region. If you want to expand your yachting horizons while sat at home, search 'Midland Yacht Cruisers and Racers' on Facebook and request to join.

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