Sailing in the sunshine in Lymington!
130 beginners have a go at sailing at the RYA Sail for Gold roadshow, with members of the British Sailing Team on hand to inspire and encourage.
Yesterday the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) brought their 'Sail For Gold' roadshow to Lymington, inviting locals to try sailing for free and to be inspired by the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The day was part of a week-long initiative by the RYA to encourage and inspire newcomers to sailing. The RYA team were busy throughout the day, with 130 participants having a go at sailing during the day.
Members of the British Sailing Team were on hand too, with inside knowledge on all the action in Rio as well as advice on how you can get into sailing. Jack Wetherell and Lorenzo Chiavarini, both British Laser Team sailors, each spent over 5 hours on the water. "It was fantastic to welcome so many newcomers to the sport," said Lorenzo, who is one of Nick Thompson's training partners. "We helped them to overcome any worries about being out on the water and they all went away with a smile."
Three different dinghies were available to sail: RS Quests, RS Visons and Lasers. "Hopefully some - or all - of them will feel inspired to do more sailing," said Jack.
The event coincided with the start of Royal Lymington Yacht Club's youth week, where approximately 150 of Lymington youngsters aged 8-18 spend 5 days racing in Optimists, RS Teras, RS Fevas, Lasers, 49ers, 420s, 29ers and Scows. Members of the British Sailing Team were also on hand to coach the youth week fleets. Kirstie Urwin (Nacra crew) spent the day with the younger sailors in Bronze Fleet: "It was fantastic being back at Lymington where I learnt to sail. I ended up sailing an optimist and was able to show the children what to do. It was funny being back in an optimist again - I'm a bit big for it now!"
Sophie Weguelin (470) also started her sailing career in Lymington and spent the day inspiring the Gold Fleet with racing tips: "I have very fond memories of youth weeks here in Lymington and it is great to be back to help with the coaching."
Meanwhile Sam Batten (49er crew) coached with the Scow Fleet and Elliott Hanson (Laser) helped out with the Silver Fleet, who had lots of questions about how he had progressed from Optimist to Topper to Laser over the years. Elliot is now one of Nick Thompson's sailing partners. "I had a really fun day giving the young sailors tips about their racing. This youth week is really impressive and well-organised, with so many taking part."