Watersports in the North East Region had a significant boost last week when Coquet Yacht Club became the tenth club in the region to achieve RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Training Centre status.
Nestled on the south bank of the River Coquet, on the outskirts of Amble and under the shadow of Warkworth Castle, the newly refurbished clubhouse of Coquet Yacht Club looks out over a stretch of ideal sailing water, protected against the swell of the North Sea by Coquet Island and Amble Harbour.
RYA Training Centre status is only awarded to accredited establishments that meet the rigorous safety and teaching standards of the RYA.
“Coquet Yacht Club is and will continue to be a well established centre for offshore sailing in the region and taking the club on towards RYA Training Centre status seemed a natural progression,” explained Richard Hope, Commodore of Coquet Yacht Club.
“It has taken a lot of hard work by a dedicated team; led chiefly by Mark Phillips, our Training Centre Principal, and driven by our past Commodore, Phil Derry but the club has been transformed in the past two years.
“We have acquired more land, enabling us to store more boats during the winter and more dinghies all year round; a redundant council toilet block which we’ll be converting into family friendly changing facilities and showers and we now have a new balcony with magnificent views of the harbour, dunes, Alnmouth Bay and Coquet Island.
“Under the balcony we’ve utilised the space by incorporating a classroom and workshop and upstairs we have a well stocked bar and a large professional kitchen providing quality food at a great value. With grant aid from Sport England we purchased two, state of the art, Laser Bahia sailing dinghies which, in conjunction with the club’s Toppers, we will be using for training courses.
“Full members can hire these dinghies for their own use.”
“With the momentum having been so fast moving over the past few years, the challenge now is to keep it going, getting better and stronger,” continued Richard.
“Coquet Yacht Club is the perfect place to sail from, whether you’ve never sailed before or you’ve got a lifetime’s worth of ocean bashing experience, there will be something here for you.
“The coming years at the club will focus on family sailing and family friendly events; we already have a youth section but would like more. It is easily possible to purchase a decent, second hand dinghy for less than the price of video and gaming consoles.
“Our sport is not elitist and entry to it is possible on a very small budget. At Coquet Yacht Club we are all volunteers which is how we can provide such good value; from the bar and kitchen to the training school, the moorings team, the race officers, dinghy section and committee; we’ve all swept the floor and cleaned the toilets.
“Full training for volunteers is given, including going on courses if necessary and we can always use more help. A small word of caution though; sailing and Coquet Yacht Club are highly addictive, you have been warned.”