Summer 2020 could easily be described as a disaster season for sailing at Porthmadog and pretty well every other sailing club in the United Kingdom and possibly beyond. The regulations brought in to combat the Covid-19 pandemic meant that when we were allowed to sail, we could not achieve a low Covid risk with our usual approach of mixed crews in double handed dinghies. Single handed dinghy sailing was the only low risk way of sailing and we realised that our club fleet of single handers was getting old and unsuitable for many of our club members, resulting in potential sailors being discouraged to venture out on the water.
We learned that Sport Wales, through their Be Active Wales Fund, were inviting applications for financial support for sporting clubs to improve facilities which enabled more people to get back into sport during the Covid pandemic. We concluded that we could put a convincing case forward for strengthening our club fleet through this grant to buy 2 new single handed training dinghies which could also be sailed by 2 adults or up to 3 youth sailors. This would meet our objectives of providing more facilities for single handed sailing and better opportunities for novice and mature sailors alike to take part in our fantastic sport of dinghy sailing.
The club committee formed a small working group to assess the club’s requirements and review several competing types of dinghy. We concluded that the most appropriate for our needs would be the Hartley H12.2 training dinghy which has the following attributes:
· Stable boat, giving confidence to novices.
· Sail single or double handed.
· Hoistable main sail.
· Centre board.
· Comfortable seating.
· Dry cockpit.
· High boom.
· Easy to reef.
· Asymmetric spinnaker.
· Handles well in big seas.
· Robust but not too heavy
As part of our grant application, we had to describe in detail what the effects coronavirus has had on our sailing activities and how the new boats will help to get more sailors back on the water. We also had to complete a review of our club’s governance which has confirmed that the club is in good shape and also highlighted a couple of things which we would like to improve on as we move forward.
The grant conditions also require us to provide a record of the use of the boats and report on the opportunities provided for training and sailing development.
The 2 new boats have been ordered with a planned delivery date of just before Easter 2021 so we are all hoping that during the Easter weekend there will be lots of opportunities for anybody at the club to enjoy sailing our lovely new boats.
Sport Wales has awarded the club a grant of £8,852 towards the cost of the boats with our club providing £1,563 to balance the total project cost. We are most appreciative and very grateful for Sport Wales’s consideration of our application and the award of the grant. We are also very grateful to RYA Cymru Wales at Plas Menai and Gwynedd Council at Caernarfon for their help during pre-submission consultations and their support for our application. Thank you also to Hartley Boats for the photos.