Push the Boat Out

There is something for everyone as RYA Push the Boat Out gives you the chance to try sailing and windsurfing for free or low cost this May.

If you are on the lookout for something completely different, whether you are bored of the gym and want some outdoor health and fitness, are a bit of an adrenaline junkie, need something to switch your brain off from everyday life or simply want a sociable new activity you can enjoy with your partner or family, pop down to your local sailing club or centre during Push The Boat Out and have a go.

What’s it all about?

Throughout May, Push the Boat Out 2018 promises even more opportunities for people of all ages to discover the wonderful world of sailing and windsurfing.

Last year more than 30,000 people got out on the water at venues up and down the country and over 7,500 signed up for more activities, with many becoming members of their local clubs.

No matter what your experience, if you turn up to a Push the Boat Out taster session you will get the chance to sail or windsurf under the watchful eye of an experienced sailor or instructor. If you are a beginner they will show you the ropes and tell you what you need to get going. They make everything easy to understand and get you ready to have a go.

There is no need to worry about the equipment; everything needed is provided by the venue including a buoyancy aid or lifejacket. All you need to do is turn up with some warm clothes, a pair of old shoes and a waterproof jacket in case it rains.

“Many people do not know about the opportunities that are available in their local area to get out on the water and try sailing or windsurfing, or they may think it is too expensive or they need their own equipment. Push the Boat Out aims to prove this is not the case,” explained RYA Director of Sport Development Alistair Dickson.

All ages welcome

The beauty of Push the Boat Out is that the events are open to people of all ages and abilities.

Jean Hughes is 86 and was invited by friends to Shropshire Sailing Club’s free Push the Boat Out open day last May. She loved her sailing tasters so much she signed up for a two-day RYA Start Sailing course spending the rest of her summer Saturday’s learning the ropes and improving her skills.

Her only previous sailing experience came when her family brought a small dinghy which they put on the roof of the car and took to Bala Lake to try out. However that attempt did not go to plan and they had to row the boat back to shore.

Jean admits her experience this year has been a little more successful. “Learning to sail was on my ‘bucket list’. I have always enjoyed new challenges and thought sailing would open up a new world of experiences. It is certainly living up to my expectations and I am really enjoying getting out on the water, especially being able to ‘lean out’ when going fast!

“I have gone to the club on Saturdays when possible and found the people there very friendly. I am so thankful God has given me good health so that I have been able to try this with help and encouragement from everyone at the sailing club.”

Nina Harrison, who lives in Dunblane, also started to sail at a Push the Boat Out Open Day in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Although she had no previous sailing experience the 11-year-old got bitten by the bug so quickly she spent the rest of the year taking part in junior training at her club.

She made such rapid progress she attended her first RYA Scotland Zone Championships at the end of September and has since taken part in IOCA training at her local club and two RYAS winter academies.

Nina said: “I really enjoy learning and sailing in high winds. I even sailed in the tail of Hurricane Irma, which was the highlight of my week and an amazing experience. One of my favourite things to do out on the water is hiking and racing because it is always pushing you to your limits.

“I think if I keep up my hard work I will be able to get on to the British team as sailing is my new passion. If I had it my way I would spend all my time on the water practicing.”

Good for clubs too

Sailing has benefitted from significant investment from the RYA and Sport England in the past four years. Many clubs now have excellent, accessible clubhouse facilities, which include comfortable lounges, up-to-date changing areas and rooms dedicated to learning to sail and knowledge improvement.

Each year the number of clubs taking part in Push the Boat Out continues to grow resulting in thousands of people signing up to become members of their local sailing venues.

Marconi Sailing Club in Essex was one of the venues that opened its doors and welcomed hundreds of people to enjoy a day of windsurfing, sailing and plenty of activities for the whole family.

Graham Cross, one of the club’s Rear Commodores, said: “We took part in Push the Boat Out to attract new members, raise the profile of our club and bring all our members together as one team.

“With a safety boat team keeping a watchful eye, people of all ages were able to try sailing in a range of boats and windsurfing with instructors and also discover the facilities and lifestyle that the sailing club offers. Since Push the Boat Out Marconi Sailing Club signed 25 new family memberships.

“It went amazingly well. We could not quite believe how many people came through the gate. We took around 130 people out onto the water – a record for us – and many of them went out two or three times, meaning we did well over 200 trips, which was phenomenal,” Graham concluded.

How to get involved

Whether you are looking to get started, already a pro sailor looking to join a club or you want to give your kids the chance to have a go themselves, it could not be easier to get involved in Push the Boat Out.

The interactive map will tell you where the events are and what is on offer. The best news is that many Push the Boat Out events are free or very low cost so it will not break the bank.

Find everything you need to know about Push the Boat Out this May and visit www.rya.org.uk/PTBO.