FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONSWhat facilities does the Club offer?Do I have to have a boat to join the RWYC?Can I join as a social member?How do I learn to sail?What clothes do I need for crewing?How can I introduce my child to sailing?Are children welcome in the Clubhouse?Is there a dress code for the Clubhouse?Can I bring visitors to the Club?How do I learn to race?What boat should I buy?How much does it cost to join the RWYC?What are the Clubhouse opening times?What is the RYA?
What facilities does the Club offer?
The Club is in Bowness Bay, with panoramic views of England’s largest lake. It has a large Clubhouse with changing facilities, meeting rooms, licensed bar, lounge, dining and dance floor. There is ample secure car-parking, and a large boat-park where dinghies, yachts and cruisers can be stored and dry-launched from our slipways and jetties.
Hot drinks including Italian-style coffee are available at any time from the the machine located next to the pool table in the bar. Club suppers are held on Thursdays, and lunches at the weekend, although there are summer/winter differences; in summer the bar is open lunch-times and evenings except on Tuesdays. Mondays and Fridays are popular bar nights.
The Clubhouse can be hired for private or corporate functions – contact the Steward for information.
Do I have to have a boat to join the RWYC?
No, as Club members are always looking for volunteers to crew for them. The Club also has a range of dinghies that can be hired for £5 a session for members, or £15 for non-members.
Can I join as a social member?
You can join as a member and don’t have to sail, in fact the Club has a number of Social Members – often the partners of keen sailors. There is an active social programme for the whole family with dances, talks, quizzes, games, BBQs, picnics and formal and informal dinners. The Club hosts a Bridge Club on Monday afternoons throughout the year, and a Walking Group. Many sailing members also enjoy other water-sports with their own motorboats, rowing boats or canoes. The Clubhouse has an excellent bar with cheaper prices than you can probably find elsewhere, and a steward and chef who will welcome you to enjoy a meal or a drink with friends.
How do I learn to sail?
Small sail boats, like those raced at RWYC, tend to have a two-person crew, and a great way to learn how to sail is by crewing for an experienced skipper. Club members are always looking for crews, so just let people know you’re available and they’ll gladly invite you to join them, and patiently explain the mechanics of sailing.
We also have (since April 2015) the Adult Squad, on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings, with instruction freely imparted to novice sailors by experienced sailors from the Club. See the Training section of this website for details.
There are also lots of good books which can teach you the key concepts, available from your Library or a bookshop; for example: “Start Sailing” by the RYA, “Go Dinghy Sailing” by Barry Pickthall, or (old but most highly recommended) “This is Sailing” by Richard Creagh-Osborne. The Club has a number of such books and DVDs that can be borrowed.
And of course there are special courses, designed by the RYA, which introduce the methodology of sailing in a structured manner for children and adults. You can learn to sail or improve your sailing with our qualified instructors. The Club is a recognised RYA Training Centre for Sailing and Powerboating and runs the RYA level 1 and level 2 courses for juniors and adults throughout the summer, to take you from complete novice to someone who can manage a boat with confidence.
The Club also offer ‘taster sessions’ which can be followed by a short-term guest sailing membership. The Club’s own dinghies - Laser Picos and Teras - are available for hire at £5 a session by Members, £15 for non-Members. The Club also owns a Wayfarer dinghy and a Laser Stratos for adult training.
In the sailing season (April to October, although keen sailors race throughout the winter) the Club organises race training and fleet coaching for its members, incorporating rigging, tuning and racing tips.
What clothes do I need for crewing?
The Club can provide buoyancy aids, so you just need to bring a change of clothes and a towel (as capsizes are uncommon but do happen). The Club has comfortable changing rooms with hot showers. For sailing, wear casual clothes that will keep you warm, let you move freely, and ideally are waterproof.
Once you have decided to take up the sport, you’ll probably want:
- a wetsuit
- waterproof jacket and trousers
- neoprene boots
See what other people are wearing and ask them for advice. You can probably purchase all the gear you need for about £140. You’ll need to buy a buoyancy aid as it is mandatory to wear one whether you are racing or just cruising round the islands.
How can I introduce my child to sailing?
It’s important to build your child’s confidence and not force them to do something they dislike or find scary. The Club runs special RYA training courses to introduce children to sailing in a friendly and reassuring way. This involves:
- safety on the water
The club takes safety very seriously and provides: careful instruction by professional trainers; understanding in the use of safety equipment such as buoyancy aids; and the practising of boat capsizes in a controlled environment. All sailors are accompanied by at least one safety boat.
- practical understanding of sailing
Training proceeds from a simple introduction to the theory to guided practice on the Lake, so that learner sailors handle their boats with confidence.
The Club teaches children in groups of a maximum of 6 per Instructor at a time. The friendship that develops within each group supports and encourages each child.
- support from you as a parent
The more you are willing to help out, whether on shore or on the water, and the better you understand the training process, the more confidence you’ll give your child.
Click on TRAINING on the menu bar above to find out more about our Easter and Summer Junior Sailor Training Courses and the weekly meeting of the RWYC Youth Squad.
Are children welcome in the Clubhouse?
Very definitely! We want more families and children as this is where the Club’s future lies. An important initiative is the Youth Squad for youngsters aged 8 to 14 who want to learn to sail or improve their existing sailing skills. This youth club meets - for 3 different groups - during term-time on Fridays and Wednesdays from 4.30 to 6.30 pm or Saturdays 10.00 to 12 noon. Training is given by two RYA-approved Instructors and includes games and fitness activities.
A special Children's Menu is available on Youth Squad evenings. Children under the age of 18 are allowed in all of the bar area, but they should go to the hatch to buy drinks etc.
Is there a dress code for the Clubhouse?
No, apart from when there is a special function, dress tends to be casual, although it is a Club rule that sailing gear and hats are not permitted in the bar area or restaurant.
Can I bring visitors to the Club?
Members can bring 2 visitors to Club dinners and events, on an occasional basis only. Visitors pay the same for Club suppers as do Members – currently £8 for a two-course meal.
How do I learn to race?
Racing takes place from April to October at weekends and on Monday and Thursday evenings. A committee boat, bosun and several escort RIBs organise the races and provide assistance on the water. The Club currently races the following fleets: Windermere 17ft Yachts, Flying Fifteens, GP14s, RS400s, cruisers and an open handicap. Each race lasts from around 45 minutes to 100 minutes, depending on the class of boat.
The best way to learn is by joining the Club and crewing for a more experienced member. As a Club member you’ll also be expected to help with race administration, either going on the committee boat to assist with setting the starts and timing the entrants, or on one of the RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats) to assist with water safety.
The Club sailing rules and instructions can be found on this website. The Racing Rules of Sailing are published by the International Sailing Federation and are available from the RYA website: www.rya.org and there are copies of them at the Club.
The Adult Squad will also provide instruction and practice on the basics of racing.
What boat should I buy?
You may be able to buy a second-hand boat from a RWYC Club member (see the For Sale section on this website), otherwise keep an eye out for notices in supermarkets or marinas, and of course specialist websites such as Apollo Duck: (http://sailingdinghies.apolloduck.co.uk).
The Club currently races the following fleets: GP14s, RS400s, Flying Fifteens, Windermere 17ft Yachts, and cruisers (i.e. larger yachts with cabins). Club members also race a variety of other boats – Lasers, Mirrors, Solos, RS100s, Herons, Picos, Teras etc – in handicap races.
- GP14s are two-person dinghies that can also be sailed solo. Although an old design, they are popular with many clubs and raced internationally. They are a good choice for the novice, as they are easy to sail but provide ample opportunity for improving your sailing skills. You can spend a few thousand pounds acquiring a new one, or you can buy an old model (preferably fibreglass as it needs less maintenance than wood) for under £700, including a full set of sails, the launch trolley and road trailer.
- RS400s are very fast and more demanding two-person dinghies, popular with younger members who don’t mind the occasional capsize. You can buy a second hand model in good condition for about £1,500.
- Flying Fifteens are an international class designed in 1946. They are keelboats 20ft long, but are fast and light enough to be sailed like dinghies. Older sailors like them because they give the excitement of dinghy sailing without the danger of capsizing: if a FF is blown flat on the water it will right itself with the crew still on board.The Club has one of the country's largest fleets, and racing is close and exciting. New Fifteens are expensive at about £20,000, but a good competitive boat can be had for around £6,000.
- Windermere 17 foot yachts are unique to Windermere, a classic design that was introduced in 1904, and which has kept pace with the latest developments in yacht design ever since. It still has an active and competitive fleet today. The sight of these graceful yachts amongst the Lakes scenery is one of the things that makes sailing on Windermere so rewarding. It can be a lot less expensive to buy these powerful yachts than people think - you can buy one in good condition for about £5,000 - but bear in mind they demand careful and continuous maintenance, which is expensive.
- Lasers are one-person boats with just a mainsail, so easy to sail but nonetheless very rewarding for the skilled sailor. Like the GP14s, you can pick these up in good condition quite cheaply, perhaps £500 for a boat with full rigging and a launch trolley. A more comfortable single-hander is the Solo, again available relative cheaply. Or if you can handle the power and speed, an RS100. All these boats are raced at the Club, especially in the Monday night Handicap Races.
The best advice is to join the Club and try sailing in a number of different boats until you find what you like best. Club members are always looking for volunteers to crew for them!
How much does it cost to join the RWYC?
The annual membership fee is approximately £20 per month (single member) or £32 per month (for a family), payable over the year by direct debit. An additional one-off Joining Fee is payable when you become a full Member.
or telephone: 015394 43106
You can store your boat on the boat park for an additional fee based on the size of the boat.
There is a further fee for those taking part in races, to cover the cost of providing supporting vessels etc.
What are the Clubhouse opening times?
The Clubhouse and Bar are open every day except Tuesday during the Summer:
Monday 9 am to 11pm Monday 5 pm to 10pm
Wednesday 9 am to 11pm Wednesday 5 pm to 11pm
Thursday 9 am to 11pm Thursday 12 noon to 2pm & 5pm to 11pm
Friday 9 am to 11pm Friday 12 noon to 2pm & 5pm to 11pm
Saturday 9 am to 11pm Saturday 11.30 am to 11pm
Sunday 9 am to 8pm Sunday 12 noon to 8pm
Winter hours are somewhat reduced.
What is the RYA?
The Royal Yachting Association is the national body for yachting, dinghy sailing and power boating in Great Britain, and represents the views of its members, both individual members and affiliated clubs such as the RWYC. The RYA encourages people to take up dinghy sailing and offers courses in sailing instruction; it also establishes and maintains the rules of yacht and dinghy racing. More than 140,000 people annually take an RYA training course or qualification, while RYA coaching provides for every competitive level from beginner to Olympic champion.