If you have ever fancied taking to the seas on a sailing boat, then this is your chance.
Blackpool and Fleetwood Yacht Club, which is tucked away on the River Wyre estuary, is hosting its annual Open Day on May 18.
The event is part of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) annual ‘Push The Boat Out’ campaign, which takes place at venues all over the UK during May, to introduce people to boating.
The local event is completely free and is open to anyone, including families, to have a go at sailing and to find out more about training courses and activities on offer.
They have a superb collection of training boats available and the team at the club are keen to give people the chance to experience the empowerment of sailing with wind power alone.
Instructor Adam Chaplin said: “The club is open from 10am until 2pm and we will take people out on the water from 10.30am until 1pm when the tide goes out.
“Subject to weather, we’ll have a mixture of sailing dinghies, small keelboats (yachts) and powerboats out on the water, with experienced sailors or instructors on board to give guests a flavour of the different types of boats that we sail.
“We recommend that people arrive early to avoid disappointment, as we have to bring our boats in when the tide disappears.
“Buoyancy aids will be provided and we ask that people wear warm, waterproof clothing and bring footwear that they don’t mind getting wet.”
Although children are more than welcome to take part, boat rides are not suitable for very small children or toddlers.
There is a cafe in the clubhouse, which will be open throughout for guests to buy drinks and snacks.
Blackpool and Fleetwood Yacht Club, on Skippool Road, is a RYA accredited sail training centre, and they offer a range of learn-to-sail and powerboat courses.
Sailing courses are suitable for ages eight and upwards and training co-ordinator, Andy Airnes, will be available on the day to discuss options.
For more information visit www.bfyc.org.uk, Facebook @bfyc1906 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Claire Lark and her family tried out sailing with Blackpool and Fleetwood Yacht Club...
There’s something peacefully appealing about sailing.
Whether it’s the sound of the waves lapping the hull or the thrill of empowerment as the wind fills the sails, there is definitely an awe about it.
We joined Andy Airnes and Adam Chaplin for a try sail to get a taste of sailing on the River Wyre. It was a family trip – my husband and I and our three boys, who were as keen as mustard to have a go.
By chance, we picked one of the hottest days of the year so far and instead of warm clothing topped with full waterproofs we managed to get away with shorts and t-shirts, plenty of sun cream and a cap.
It was also the weekend of one of the highest tides of the year and we had just under two hours at high tide to test the water.
Even though it was calm, there was still enough movement in the air to take out Purple Haze, a small training dinghy.
With Adam at the helm and Andy close-by in one of the club’s newest inflatable ribs, we hit the tide at its stand.
There were so many ropes. Each one had a purpose to swing the sails in the right direction to catch the wind. It looked complicated, but after a while, watching and listening to Adam’s instruction, it started to make sense.
We steered the tiller which controls the rudder and moved the sails to power across the river. There was a lot of swapping from side to side to counter-balance the weight - but there we were gliding along the River Wyre. It’s no wonder sailors are passionate about their time on the water. Feeling the wind fill the sails to glide the boat peacefully through the water was incredible. We were at the complete mercy of the breeze. It dropped to nothing on many occasions, leaving us bobbing about on a mirror-like tide. Until we spotted the ripples ahead as the wind returned.
Whilst they loved the speed of the powered rib, the children all had a go at steering the tiller and understood how the sailing dinghy worked and its reliance on the elements.
For us parents, it was a brilliant experience. I can understand the appeal, especially as it’s right on our doorstep too.