Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Sailing club buys paddleboards and kayaks to add appeal

GORING Thames Sailing Club will offer more varied activities once lockdown ends.

The club, whose premises are off Wallingford Road and the Ridgeway north of the village, has bought four stand-up paddleboards and four kayaks, worth about £1,600 in total.

It hopes these will attract new members who don’t feel ready to try sailing in the club’s dinghies and there will be dedicated paddleboard and kayaking classes.

The club’s calendar is due to start next month with refresher days and a Royal Yachting Association weekend. The junior racing is due to start in early April, followed by a spring party on April 10 and an open day on April 17.

Vice-commodore Rob Jones said: “Although we’re a sailing club, we’ve got great access to the river more generally and the past year has made us think of ways to get more people involved.

“When the first lockdown ended in the summer and we could carry on more normally, our participation rates increased from about a dozen on a typical day to nearer 24.

“It was harder for people to go abroad on holiday, which may also be the case this year, and paddleboarding and kayaking are becoming more popular anyway so we’re embracing that demand.

“You don’t need to know much to have a go whereas the dinghies require a degree of experience and supervision which might deter some people, though we welcome all abilities. These are more straightforward and complement the sailing perfectly because some family members could go out in the dinghies while others paddle alongside them.

“There has been a lot of support for this idea among our members. We know we’re privileged to enjoy a beautiful resource like the River Thames so it only felt right to broaden our appeal.”

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