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RYA Club of the Year 2024 winners announced

by RYA Press 25 Feb 02:40 PST 25 February 2024
Draycote Water Sailing Club win RYA Club of the Year 2024 © Paul Wyeth / RYA

Draycote Water Sailing Club (DWSC) has been crowned RYA Club of the Year, supported by Gallagher. In front of a packed audience at the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show (24 February 2024) the trophy was presented by Olympic gold medallist Eilidh McIntyre.

The Awards Panel received numerous of applications from clubs across the UK with fourteen exceptional finalists selected. Each of these clubs have demonstrated an outstanding contribution to their communities.

Broad range of activities

From Discover Sailing Days and taster sessions to top level training and competitions, DWSC deliver a broad range of activities for all ages and abilities.

Commodore from DWSC, William Whittaker said: "I am speechless, it's brilliant. This is 10 years of hard work, and we are now seeing the youth and junior sector enjoying sailing on a daily and weekly basis. The kids will be very proud because they've contributed to this success".

Panel member Janet Viney said: "Choosing a winner for the overall award was challenging as the standard of the category winners was so high. We were impressed with how DWSC hasn't stood still. By introducing new groups and new opportunities, their membership has kept coming back to enjoy all the club has to offer."

New categories

This year, four new categories were introduced to align with the evolving priorities of the sailing community.

Young Person's Club of the Year

DWSC were announced as overall winners in addition to winning the Young Person's Club of the Year category, presented by RS Sailing.

This category celebrates a club which encourages participation and development in young people. DWSC were presented with a tailored package from RS Sailing which includes the loan of boats, coaches, and entry to a national event.

Community Club of the Year

The Community Club of the Year category presented by Suzuki Marine, Rigiflex and Extreme Trailers celebrates meaningful, welcoming and inclusive opportunities.

Gresford Sailing Club was recognised for commitment to inclusivity, offering free lessons to members' children, collaborating with charities, and hosting events for various groups. The club's partnership with the All Afloat charity has enabled sessions for local schools, with a significant number of children benefiting from these initiatives.

Active Club of the Year

The Active Club of the Year, presented by Sunsail celebrates achievements in developing strong participation opportunities, pathways and training which enable their members to be as active as possible throughout their life stages.

Colne Yacht Club engaged with the local community, providing training opportunities and hospitality events. Through initiatives like the Sonata Activity Groups, beginners have the opportunity to learn alongside experienced skippers, fostering a supportive environment for skill development.

Green Club of the Year

Etherow Country Park Sailing Club clinched the Green Club of the Year award presented by ePropulsion. The club overcame vandalism setbacks in 2021, turning adversity into opportunity. They embraced eco-friendly measures like rainwater harvesting, negotiated free electricity, upgraded to LED lighting, recycled waste, refurbished boats, and pursue ongoing environmental improvements.

Celebrating the breadth of club activity across the UK

Rob Clark, RYA Director of Sport Development concludes: "I think it's really important to recognise the full scope of different clubs and the breadth of activity that happens up and down the country.

"We know that without the volunteers and people that make it possible for others to get afloat, sailing wouldn't be viable as a sport. Hopefully Club of the Year goes a small way to recognise the huge efforts".

Congratulations to all the finalists of the 2024 RYA Club of the Year award, whose dedication and passion continue to inspire and enrich the sailing community.

Reward Partners

Thanks also go to Spinlock, Dryrobe, Navionics, ICOM, Green Blue and Rooster for donating prize packages.

Nominations for the RYA Club of the Year 2025 will open this June.

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