Youngsters spent hours in the glorious sunshine during an open day at Hawley Lake Sail Training Centre.

To coincide with National Watersports Month, the Yateley sailing club encouraged as many people as possible to get out on the water and have a go at sailing and windsurfing.

Around 300 people of all ages and abilities took part in the free sports activities at Royal Yachting Association’s (RYA) Push the Boat Out weekend on Saturday (May 17).

Paul Rivington, club principal, said: “It was an amazing turnout, helped by the hot weather.

“The club has a beautiful location on the lake and our outside picnic area and beach were well-used.

“We had a constant queue of people, from toddlers to grandparents, waiting to sign up to sail, kayak, paddleboard or raft, and for the not-so-energetic there were tours around the lake in a power boat.”


The clubhouse, bar and outdoor seating area were popular, alongside a sausage sizzle lunch washed down with cold beers and fizzy drinks.

Mark 'Sparky' Smith, bar manager, said: “It was a fantastic response. I ran out of sausages and nearly out of pizza. Everyone was really relaxed and enjoyed the day.”

Duncan Truswell, RYA sport development manager, said: “Push the Boat Out provides the perfect opportunity for people to discover their local sailing venue, meet key volunteers and like-minded people, have a go at the sport and find out how much fun it is and how easy it is to get involved.”

Push the Boat Out is an RYA initiative which was first created as part of the association’s sail for gold programme that was launched in March 2011.

This year’s event saw clubs and centres across the UK holding open days and inviting those who live in the area to ‘have a go’ at sailing and windsurfing.

Mr Rivington added: “We recently changed status, becoming a registered charity and retaining strong ties to the army. But we are actively recruiting civilian members, and military personnel can still claim a discount.”