Two weeks after the warmest Easter for years, on Saturday 4th May we chose the coldest May Bank Holiday on record for our annual Open Day and RYA push the boat out “Try Sailing in May” event. This didn’t deter more than 150 hardy visitors who came along to Blackwater Sailing Club to find out what we can offer. The day dawned dry and sunny, but we decided it was too cold and windy to safely offer our visitors sailing tasters, necessitating a change of plan. Our guests enjoyed tours of the extensive site finishing at our 7-acre training lake. Here many of our cadets and adults were demonstrating their heavy weather and capsize recovery skills. We also ran wet and wild RIB trips around the lake which were enjoyed by all. Before hypothermia had set in, guests were taken to the warm clubhouse where food and warm drinks were consumed. They were then able to watch our intrepid sailors taking part in a club race. The storm clouds built rapidly before the start and winds quickly built to a howling squall with 40 knot gusts which flattened most of the fleet. This quickly passed and returned to a steady force 5-6 and the race was soon underway with some spinnakers flying. Just after the race finished another squall hit causing more spectacular capsizes right in front of the clubhouse. Guests who had thawed out sufficiently took advantage of river trips on the Blackwater in one of our RIBs or the launch. This gave them a close-up view of the action and they all came back with smiles on their faces, if a little wet. We had static demonstrations ashore of the various boats sailed at the club. The membership desks were busy all day and over 20 new members signed up and another 26 took away details with the intention of signing up. A big thank you to the 60+ adult and cadet members who helped out and made this a fun day for our guests and thank you to all the visitors who came.
Photos © Nigel Butler & Zoe Nelson