Arnside Sailing Club in Cumbria can now look forward to providing more opportunities for more local groups to get out on the water as they were handed the keys to a brand new Suzuki-powered Rigiflex safety boat at the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show (Sunday 26 February).
Club Commodore Alasdair Simpson collected the £6,400 package, which includes an Extreme trailer, along with fellow Arnside club officers at Farnborough International on Sunday, with their winning competition entry having stood out from over 180 nominations received from RYA Affiliated Clubs across the UK.
“I was greatly surprised to have won the competition as I knew there would be many other very strong entries,” Alasdair explained.
“We’re very excited that the new safety boat will be coming home to Arnside and will allow us to expand our training offer more widely in the community.”
RYA Affiliated Clubs were offered the chance to win the superb prize package by outlining how its award would positively impact the ability to get members and new participants out on the water. A panel comprising of RYA Sport Development staff and representatives from Suzuki and Rigiflex had the unenviable task of selecting a winning club from the scores of very worthy entries.
Arnside Sailing Club was shortlisted for the RYA Club of the Year award in 2018 and 2022 and is also an RYA Training Centre and OnBoard venue. Their current safety boat provision means that they rely on the loan of a training RIB, but having doubled their membership since 2020 by reaching out to the local community, they say their new prize will be ‘transformational’, allowing them to double their training capacity at their Killington Reservoir training base as well as supporting activity at the Arnside site.
In 2023 the club plans to run sailing courses for 50 adults and 50 youths at Killington, introducing local people to sailing in addition to running powerboat and safety boat courses for club volunteers. They are also looking to expand their work with local school, youth and community groups and are working towards becoming an RYA Sailability centre. The club’s charitable aims also include promotion of watersports opportunities for low income, youth and disability groups, seeking to ensure that prices remain low so that cost is not a barrier to participation.
Rob Clark, RYA Director of Sport Development, said: “It was a very difficult task for the panel to identify one winner. However, the nomination for Arnside Sailing Club stood out for how they would be able to use the boat to help build on the considerable growth and demand in training the club has seen over recent years, their commitment to providing low cost opportunities to get on the water, and their strong links within their local community.”
Rob continued: “We have had hundreds of nominations for clubs to be awarded the Suzuki safety boat package, all demonstrating both the amazing work our clubs do in supporting sailing across the UK, but also the perfect fit this safety boat package provides to enable sailing and watersports activity to take place in the many different locations and environments that people enjoy taking to the water in.”
Richard Cosser from BHG Marine added: “We are pleased to have been able to partner with Suzuki and Extreme Trailers to offer this prize and would like to congratulate Arnside on winning this year’s competition with a very compelling entry.”