Chelmarsh Sailing Club is one of 10 finalists from across the UK in the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Awards 2021, supported by Gallagher, with public voting to help decide the overall winner now open.
A dedicated drive to support its members and reach out to new ones has seen the volunteer-run club driving down costs and diversifying its activities, with a new radio-controlled sailing section and a booming stand-up paddleboarding programme.
Commodore David Partridge said: “One of the positives of the pandemic has been people discovering activities on their doorstep that they didn’t think they could do close to home, and the physical and mental health benefits of being on the water.
“People have been enjoying the fun and excitement of sailing at the club without having to travel and those who’ve dreamt of paddleboarding or seen it, have been able to do it with us at low cost and in a very safe environment.
“As a club we’ve worked hard to become much more accessible so that the local community can really enjoy this fantastic facility and this beautiful piece of water and it’s a real privilege to be able to share it. If you’re an enthusiast for sport in the Midlands, please vote for us.”
Working with the RYA, the club has ensured all its activities meet Covid-secure guidelines, while sustainability pledges have included sourcing and utilising eco-friendly sanitiser for boats and equipment.
The club has run more than 500 paddleboarding courses and now has over 100 paddleboarding members, including families and juniors.
Meanwhile, radio-controlled sailing has likewise been enjoyed by all ages, including grandparents introducing their grandchildren to the sport. The club is considering sailability activities for disabled sailors and hopes to gain approval for open water swimming.
The annual RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Awards recognise the achievements of sailing clubs across the UK and the hard work and dedication that goes into running a successful club.
Michelle Gent, RYA programmes manager, said: “A huge congratulations to all 10 Club of the Year finalists. This has been an especially challenging year for clubs and the people involved in the running of these organisations have worked tirelessly so that others can safely get afloat.”
Rob Peake, of Sailing Today with Yachts & Yachting, added: “A good club will show you how to get better at sailing and encourage you to continue sailing. A great club will help you simply enjoy sailing – and it will welcome people from all parts of the local community.
"The Club of the Year Award is unique in that it recognises the hard work that goes on behind the scenes by volunteers to make sailing clubs great, and to encourage more people into our sport.”
Voting closes on January 25, 2021. The overall winner will be announced at the RYA Virtual Dinghy Show in spring.
To cast a vote, visit awards.yachtsandyachting.co.uk/chelmarsh-sailing-club