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Emily is making a splash

March 4, 2016

Teenager Emily Lofthouse-Hill, a junior member of Ullswater Yacht club, is making a splash in the world of dinghy sailing.

Even though she learned to sail less than two years ago, the 14-year-old has been selected to join the Northern Area Zone training squad for the Topper Class dinghy and is on the way to achieving her dream of national and international success.

Emily is keen on a range of different sports including rowing, hockey and netball. From a non-sailing family, the sporty teenager had a go in a dinghy for the first time in May 2014 through friends at Ullswater Yacht Club, near Penrith in Cumbria, and was immediately hooked.

She joined the Lakes District club and with the support of her sailing friends took part in all the training UYC offers. She was soon part of the thriving junior single-handed Topper racing fleet – and soon winning races. In 2015 she won a string of club junior trophies and found out about the extra training offered by the Royal Yachting Association through its squad system. With just 14 places for budding young racers from all over the North, she managed to get a coveted place and has spent several weekends over the winter taking part in special training sessions.

Emily said: “As soon as I had a go at sailing I knew it was for me. I just love it. I love being on the water and I love the competition. Now I’m really looking forward to racing this year.”

David Clarke, Principal of UYC’s Ullswater Sailing School, who has watched Emily develop from a complete novice into a confident and competent racer in such a short time, added: “Emily is always keen to go on the water. She is so enthusiastic and always has a smile on her face. We are all very proud of her. She has done very well. Managing to get a place on the zone squad is pretty impressive.”

He explained that throughout the country there are only 256 places in the RYA scheme for talented young sailors hoping to develop their skills, in four different classes and six regional zones, the first step on a world class national training programme.

And there was also praise for Emily from Ullswater Yacht Club Commodore Peter Lewis. He said: “Emily is a great credit to the club and its training programme. The club is delighted that Emily has been selected for the North Zone Topper squad and we all wish her every success.”

The club is a supporter of Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign which aims to encourage women of all ages to take up sport. Its women-only informal Ladies Who Launch training sessions, held on Saturday mornings, have been a great success.

Ullswater Yacht Club has made it easier for youngsters from non-sailing families to join the club by introducing a new category of membership - a 50% discount for one of their parents to join for just a year. The parent of a cadet or junior who wants to join and sail and take advantage of all the training on offer, can become a member of the club and supervise them under a one-year introductory ‘non-sailing parent membership’, half of the single membership fee. Already several families with children keen to develop their sailing at the club have taken up this special membership.

Ullswater Yacht Club welcomes new members, both experienced and novices, of all ages and offers sailing courses through the Ullswater Sailing School. For more details visit or email