Ullswater Yacht Club’s ‘I am team GB’ one-day event introduce 507 to sailing
Hundreds of visitors helped Ullswater Yacht Club celebrate Team GB’s Olympic success in Rio as part of the nation’s biggest ever sports day on Saturday, August 27.
At the club’s I Am Team GB Day, they had a go at a range of different sports on and off the water and got to meet Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Philip Hindes as well as two young sailors who are tipped for Olympic success in Tokyo in 2020, Anna Carpenter and Jack Wetherell.
The I Am Team GB Day was promoted by ITV and the National Lottery as a celebration of the Olympics and to encourage everyone in the country to take part in a sporting activity. Sports clubs all over the country ran free taster activities and ITV channels were turned off for an hour from 9.30am to encourage everyone to get off the sofa. The UYC day was the Flagship event for the North-west and the only sailing venue in the country and the club was thrilled to be able to celebrate Team GB as the top sailing country.
The club’s Ullswater Sailing School ran free sailing taster sessions and instructors were kept busy all day taking visitors out for a sail in the club’s fleet of training boats. In the bright sunshine, the wannabe sailors just kept on coming and by the end of the day a total of 490 people had been out sailing. Also 17 visitors with limited mobility were taken for a sail in two special Royal Yachting Association Sailability boats.
“The response was amazing with a total of 507 people taken for a sail. We think that this is a record in this country for the number of people taken out for taster sailing sessions in one day,” said David Clarke, who is Ullswater Sailing School Principal. “Our instructors and their helpers were terrific and just kept on going.”
He said he was proud that all the instructors and their helpers were ‘home grown’. They are all club members and most of them learned to sail at the club as children and have gone on to get RYA qualifications and are now totally committed to passing their love of sailing on Ullswater to others. The fleet of 17 boats being used for the sessions were all from Ullswater Sailing School, an RYA Training Centre and part of the OnBoard Scheme, which was set up just over three years ago. And he was full of praise for the two members of the British Sailing Team, 470 sailor Anna Carpenter and Laser sailor Jack Wetherell who came to support the event and helped by helming boats for taster session visitors as well as taking gold medal cyclist Philip Hindes out for a sail.
Also on offer on the water was SUP (stand up paddleboarding) with Ullswater Paddleboarding, a canoe polo demonstration and taster sessions from the Penrith Canoe Polo Club and a foiling catamaran from Outlaw Sailing. On land, British Canoeing’s high-tech ergo canoe paddling machine attracted lots of attention and touch rugby taster sessions and challenge games were run by Cumbria Rugby Union.
Many visitors spent the whole day at the club enjoying the sun in their free I Am Team GB T-shirts. They sampled the delicious home made cakes baked by the club’s own ‘Mary Berry’ Lilian Adams and her team, had their pictures taken with modest Philip Hindes who has two gold medals for the cycling team sprint (one from London 2012 as well) and visited the RNLI stall set up by the Penrith Ladies Lifeboat Guild. They also had the chance to watch UYC sailors in action in a series of races.
Ullswater Yacht Club Commodore Peter Lewis said that he was delighted with the turn-out. “It was great to see so many visitors at the club and so many taking the opportunity to see what it is like to sail on our lake. We hope that they will come back and learn to sail here.” He added: “We couldn’t have done it without the help of the dozens of club members who volunteered their time to make it all run smoothly. Our thanks go to all of them for making the event such a success.”
He added that the success of the event was even more remarkable because the club was severely affected by the December 2015 floods in which the level of the lake rose by more than nine feet. The UYC clubhouse was badly damaged and unusable and only re-opened in June after being restored by a team of volunteer club members.
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Sue Giles, firstname.lastname@example.org, 07721 384 298, 01642 586889
Captions: USS instructors: Ullswater Sailing School instructors and their helpers
1811: Anna Carpenter and Jack Wetherell of the British Sailing Team with gold medal winning cyclist Philip Hindes