A 400-STRONG crew hit the waves of Papercourt Sailing Club over the weekend as the club raised sails and spirits at their annual Open Day.
And plain sailing it proved to be as club Commodore Peter Wadham welcomed five special guests to the annual event.
In attendance were Olympic sailors Charlotte Dobson, Sophie Ainsworth, Nicola Groves and Mark Andrews, plus Paralympian and Papercourt regular Alex Hovden. The pros were in town as part of Volvo Sailing Academy’s initiative to get the country sailing.
Head honcho at the Ripley-based club, Peter, said: “It was just fantastic to have the Team GB sailors with us – I keep telling young members that the pros start out learning to sail on Optimists, and those are the boats we had out on the lake on Saturday.”
“Papercourt is a nice club and it very much reminded me of when I was a nipper and first learning how to sail,” he told the News & Mail.
“It felt good to give something back and maybe inspire a few people. It is quite a small lake so to see that many boats out there was quite a sight, even if there was not much room!
“But without places like Papercourt there would be no success at elite level like we have today. There is a huge amount of dedication down at the club and it is fantastic what they have done.”
Andrews also tipped his hat to the club’s ‘sailability’ programme, which offers the opportunity for disabled members to get out on the water.
He added: “There are definitely some stars of the future due to come from Papercourt, it is a great club and everyone asked good questions in the group one-on-ones.”
Last year Papercourt completed the purchase of their facilities to ensure their long-term future.
For more information on Papercourt Sailing Club and what they can offer to prospective new members, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01483 223904.