by Bob Wonders
More than 2000 potential sailing enthusiasts gathered at yacht and skiff clubs across NSW and the ACT for the 12th annual Try Sailing Day on November 2.
Abbotsford Sailing Club - Try Sailing Day
A record 32 clubs supported the event, an initiative of the Boating Industry Association (BIA) of NSW and organised by its hard-working sub-group, the Sailing Industry Association and Yachting NSW.
Despite overcast conditions, clubs reported a strong turnout, with many participants enjoying the opportunity to try their hand under sail for the first time.
Club officials across the board reported ‘sheer enthusiasm’ from many of the attendees.
The Try Sailing Day program has proven itself a ‘remarkable success’ over the years, introducing many potential members to the clubs involved.
Prominent industry identity and BIA Life Member, Mr Bob Basham, the driving force behind the establishment of the program, said the original idea behind the Try Sailing Day was not necessarily to unearth competitive yachtsmen and women, but to demonstrate first hand the enjoyment of sailing.
Feedback from the clubs involved indicates that more than half of those who turned up had never previously been aboard a sailing vessel.
'The Sailing Industry Association is extremely grateful for the support from the clubs, without them the scheme would not exist,' Mr Basham said.
'It’s a grand gesture from the clubs and, importantly, from their members who use their own boats and act as instructors for the day.'
The Boating Industry Association and Yachting NSW, as part of their joint support of sailing education, donated 220 life jackets to the participating clubs as part of the on-going ‘Lifejackets for Children’ program.
Youngsters ready to try their hand during the Try Sailing Day program at the Concord and Ryde Sailing Club at Putney, on the Parramatta River. - Try Sailing Day
Domenic Genua, marketing and event manager for the BIA, said all involved with the Try Sailing Day program paid tribute to Bob Basham for his continuing efforts.
'Bob Basham’s commitment to the sport has never wavered; he is a credit to both the BIA and the Sailing Industry Association,' he added.
Try Sailing Day, 2009 has been set for November 1.
For detailed information visit the websites, www.bia.org.au or www.nsw.yachting.org.au
or contact the BIA of NSW, telephone (02) 9438-2077.