The Royal Yachting Association has published this press release about what we are doing.
Felpham Sailing Club is proving that ‘This Girl Can’ thanks to special newly-developed ‘girls-only’ sessions to get more females sailing.
So far up to 20 females have been taking advantage of the club’s Women on Water – or WOW – sessions since they started in June in response to Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign to get more females into sport.
For the past three years the club has run sessions to encourage non-sailing female members to get involved, but this is the first year these sessions have been opened up to newcomers in line with the aims of the Sport’s England’s initiative.
According to Sport England, there are currently two million fewer women than men regularly playing sport in England, but 75% of 14-40 year old women say they want to exercise more.
A survey conducted by sailing’s national governing body, the RYA, showed that in 2014 average sailing club membership in England was 58% male and 42% female, highlighting the fact not only does the sport already have a lot of women involved but that figure had actually increased by 11% from 2013.
Felpham SC has wasted no time showing local females why sailing could be the sporting answer they are looking for, as Catherine Hemsley, who is leading the sessions, says: “In our experience there so many reasons women haven’t tried sailing, including being the main child carers, which often means limited time.
“In addition, some want to give space for their partner or child to sail or they feel self-conscious about learning in front of their partner or others. They are also sometimes nervous of water or don’t feel fit enough or think they can do it.
“The reality is sailing is a great hobby, which is accessible to all. The current success of WOW is down to the fact that the sessions are very relaxed, social, run by females and includes a shared meal prepared by one of the club members after sailing.
“For some of the women it’s been a chance to get involved in their children’s sport, for others it’s the appeal of the fresh air and opportunity to be fitter. The challenge of learning and mastering a new skill and satisfying a competitive streak are also reasons the women and girls have come along.”
The sessions take place every Thursday from 6pm until the end of August and are open to anyone of any level of experience to get involved. Depending on skill level and confidence, participants are guided through the basics, including land-based theory, with the aim of encouraging the women to enjoy being on the water and even start racing. Girls as young as 10 can join in and there is no upper age limit.
Catherine added: “Our motivation for launching WOW was to increase opportunities for girls and women in sailing and racing and to share the wonderful sport. We want to show women who watch their children and partners sail they can do it themselves, and women who have never had a go at the sport how easy and affordable it is to actually become a sailor. We’ve been delighted with the early response to WOW and are looking forward to seeing it grow over the summer.”
To get involved contact the club to let them know you’re interested or just turn up and make yourself known. The first two tasters sessions are free for non-members. Felpham SC is a recognised RYA Training Centre meaning it conforms to the highest standards of quality and safety.
To find out how you can get involved in WOW or all the other activities the club is running this summer visit www.felphamsailing.co.uk