Stamford Endowed Schools are helping to get more local families sailing after a £10,000 Sport England Small Grants Award enabled the school to invest in two new boats to boost participation amongst its Sixth Form students and their pupils’ parents.
The school, which already has a very active sailing community amongst lower school pupils, set-up a project to increase the number of 16-17 year old and adult sailors about a year ago, which led to the formation of the RYA-affiliated Stamford Endowed Schools Sailing Club.
Although the school’s fleet of training boats could support its talented young racing sailor pupils in RS Feva and 420 dinghies, there were no suitable boats for newcomers-to-sailing Sixth Formers or parents to learn to sail in.
The Sport England grant has enabled the club to buy two Wanderer dinghies, which are excellent training boats for older pupils and adults. The club can also offer RYA Level 2 or 3 courses to parents, after which they can book the Wanderers to go sailing with their families.
All Stamford Endowed Schools Sailing Club’s activities are based at Rutland Sailing Club at Edith Weston on Rutland Water. The school was supported in its Sport England application by the RYA in the East Midlands.
Dr Andrew Crookell, Chief Instructor, Stamford Endowed Schools Sailing Club, explains: “Sixth formers have a sports afternoon every Tuesday and they can choose from a wide range of sports. We wanted to make sailing an option for them. Meanwhile, parents were spending a fair amount of time at the sailing club while waiting for their offspring, who were training on the water, so we thought why not get them out and sailing too?
“With the establishment of the sailing club we now have an infrastructure through which to advertise, organise and plan to socialise. By offering these family sailing sessions at the same times as the school sailors are training we can provide safety cover and a little coaching for parents as well. Sailing is a hugely sociable activity and if we can introduce young people and their families to a lifetime involvement in the sport we will be delighted.”
A number of the school’s pupils are very active on the national RS Feva circuit – a two-person dinghy class recognised as a pathway class towards Olympic sailing by the RYA – and are working towards qualification for the RS Feva World Championships in Tuscany, in July.
Meanwhile, many of the school’s younger pupils have learned, and continue to learn, the earliest ropes through RYA OnBoard sessions at Rutland SC. OnBoard is the RYA’s nationwide grassroots scheme to provide youngsters from local schools, community and youth groups with opportunities to sail regularly at low cost.
Dr Crookell added: “Our relationship with Rutland SC means whatever type of sailing our parents and pupils want to do, there is a network for them to explore and get involved in. One of the great things about sailing is there is always something new to learn so it is fantastic to be able to put our pupils and parents on that pathway.”
For more information about getting into sailing in Lincolnshire visit www.rya.org.uk/regions/eastmidlands