Photo gallery: New sailing school set for Southwold
10:00 24 September 2012
Â© Archant 2012
THE next generation of talented sailors could be taught off the coast of Southwold after plans were unveiled this week to establish a new sailing school in the town.
Southwold Sailing Club has been awarded £10,000 to buy six boats and train a five instructors in a bid to inspire people to embrace the sport.
The announcement comes just weeks after the government placed grass root clubs at the heart of its Olympic legacy plans to help boost the number of young people taking part in sport and ensure that a fresh crop of talented British athletes emerged before the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Robin Watkins, the commodore of Southwold Sailing Club, whose headquarters are at the town’s harbour, said his aim was to encourage people to abandon a “Game Boy” culture of mobile phones and video games. He said: “Sailing can be challenging at times, but if you pick the right day then you can have a really good experience. It is about getting people off their backsides and away from this Game Boy culture which is not real. This is the real thing - there is wind and water and no respite.
“They will get wet and they will get tired, but they will come away with a good experience.”
The cash injection, awarded by the Big Lottery Fund, will pay for five volunteers to train as Royal Yacht Association instructors.
Meanwhile, the money will also be used to purchase six Laser Pico boats from across the country. The vessels are described as a small sail boat that can be manned by one or two children or one adult.
Hopes are high that the new school will be ready by May next year, providing classes every Saturday morning for up to 14 people.
Mr Watkins said the majority of sailing will take place on the River Blyth, but there will be opportunities to sail in the Sole Bay area – when the conditions are right. He said: “We will tow our boats from our slip way in the harbour, underneath the Bailey Bridge where we will have a huge section of water. This is perfect for sailing and safe.”
He added: “We will start off on the other side of the beach, but if we get a good day and they have become good sailors then we will be taking them out to Sole Bay, which is a fantastic place to sail.”
“If you want to sail, but don’t have a boat, we will look after you and teach you from there. In some sailing clubs, if you turn up without a boat then you are the one left behind. Some clubs are a bit cliquey, but we want to open it up a little.”
Southwold Sailing Club is situated at Southwold Harbour approximately one mile from the mouth of the River Blyth.
The club has about 150 members ranging from novices to experienced seaman who sail dinghies, cruisers and power boats.
Their dinghy fleet comprises of a wide range of craft from Javelins, Picos and Mirrors to Hobi Cats and Laser 4000s.
Meanwhile, the cruiser fleet includes both lightweight cruiser-racers and heavy displacement cruisers ranging from 7m to 15m.
People wanting to join will have to pay a small charge to help fund the upkeep of the boats.
•For more information about Southwold Sailing Club visit www.southwoldsc.org or contact Robin Watkins on 01502 478874.