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May 21, 2015
Ullswater Yacht Club is ‘going for gold’ on Saturday, May 30, with a visit from double Olympic champion Sarah Ayton OBE. Sarah, who won gold at the Olympics in 2004 and again in 2008, will be giving a talk to members on her medal-winning experiences and how to ‘Fight the Fear’.
She was invited to the club by two of the club’s projects which aim to get people on the water in an informal and friendly way – Ladies Who Launch and Blokes in a Boat. The groups meeting regularly on Saturday mornings and have been very successful in encouraging participation among newcomers to the sport. The Ladies Who Launch group is now in its third year at the club and has been so well received that the ‘blokes’ have followed their lead by forming their own men-only Saturday morning sessions.
Ladies Who Launch are pleased to be part of Sport England’s This Girl Can national campaign to encourage more women to take part in sport. “This really is a golden opportunity for our members and we are proud to welcome Sarah to our club and honoured that she has agreed to visit us. I am sure we will all be inspired by what she has to say,” said UYC Commodore Peter Lewis. “We are all looking forward to hearing her talk about winning her two gold medals and how she copes with stress and anxiety on the water.”
Sarah, 35, is one of this country’s top sailors, having won gold in Athens in the 2004 Olympic Games as the youngest member of Shirley Robertson’s ‘Blondes in a Boat’ crew in the Yngling class. She teamed up with former crew-mate Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson in a Yngling for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, where she won another gold medal. Having already received an MBE, she received her OBE in the 2009 New Years Honours. She began sailing aged six, when she was taken sailing by a family friend at Queen Mary Sailing Club in London. L
ike many of the top Olympic Classes sailors she began sailing in an Optimist dinghy. After making the jump to the Laser Radial class, Ayton decided she wanted to start racing and from a very early age showed real talent. It wasn’t long before Ayton reached the dizzy heights of British number one and at the age of 18 won a silver medal at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in 1998.
Sarah will be giving her talk in the clubhouse following a special meal at the club to welcome new members who have joined over the past year. “We are pleased that we have had so many people joining us over the last 12 months, particularly family members, and we want to welcome them into the UYC community,” said Peter Lewis.