August 31, 2016
A new record has been claimed for the most people trying sailing in a single day at one venue. Ullswater Yacht Club in the Lake District hosted an 'I Am TeamGB' event on 27 August with a total of 507 people given taster sessions.
The achievement was even more remarkable because the premises had been badly damaged by flooding during Storm Desmond last December and huge efforts by volunteers were required for the club to re-open.
A team of 21 club instructors took 490 of the visitors out on the water while another 17 people with disabilities went sailing in two adapted boats provided through Sailability.
“The response was amazing. 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. “All our instructors and their helpers were terrific and just kept on going.”
Ullswater Yacht Club was the only sailing venue with an 'I Am TeamGB' event promoted by the National Lottery and ITV to celebrate the Olympics. The event was supported nationally by many sports club who ran free taster sessions encouraging people take part in a variety of sporting activities. ITV cameras were there to broadcast the result.
Two members of the British Sailing Team, 470 sailor Anna Carpenter and Laser sailor Jack Wetherell were on hand to helm boats as well as taking gold medal cyclist Philip Hindes out for a sail.
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.”
It was a far cry from the day in December when the lake level rose and devastated the clubhouse.
A Flood Recovery Sub Committee was set up to devise a strategy to get the club up and running.
The club opened as usual in March with the changing room facilities restored professionally but with the kitchen, bar and club rooms replaced by temporary buildings.
In April members decided to refurbish the rest of the clubhouse using volunteer helpers as much as possible, though they will no longer be able to get the premises insured.
Peter Lewis explained: “Long term we will be building a new clubhouse above the flood line but it was decided that a temporary solution would be to restore our old clubhouse as cheaply as possible.”
The club was fully open again for the Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy in July. A bonus was winning the award for Cumbria Tourism Event of the Year.
More than 20 people booked for learn to sail courses at the club's Sailing School in September and special offers on courses are being offered for September and October.