■ An RYA survey revealed a measurable increase in day boats and people using dinghies for day-sailing rather than racing. Seeking to rejuvenate our membership, Up River Yacht Club at Hullbridge, Essex took this on board for 2017, and organised a very popular series of fun sails.
The club is now actively encouraging day-sailors. This includes offering facilities to members who want to trail and sail, with secure parking for towing vehicles and trailers, etc.
We found the majority of our fun- and day-sailors are people new to sailing or getting afloat again after years ashore. New sailors are gravitating toward dinghies, while those with previous experience prefer dayboats/stable dinghies. However, it’s the fun element that has proven to have the greatest appeal: there is a real ‘buzz’ about the club on fun sail days.
With the exception of the start and finish of dinghy races, members can launch and recover a dayboat for easy access to the River Crouch. For those who prefer to escape this chore, there are swinging moorings.
We put a massive effort into the RYA’s Push The Boat Out sailing promotion. Our members took more than 130 people sailing: this was all about the simple enjoyment of sailing a boat.
Our membership has grown, and our sailing tuition programme has a waiting list stretching into 2018. To help folk who like the idea of dayboat ownership or trailing and sailing, we now have a dedicated section on the club’s website, http://upriver. org.uk/sailing/day-boatsand-trailer-sailors.
Up River Yacht Club may be small, and our cruisers and moored dayboats have to take the ground between tides: however, there is a new dynamic about the club, and the fun element has driven this transformation.