SUSSEX Yacht Club has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2014 RYA Club of the Year.
The club, in Brighton Road, Shoreham, is one of five in the running for the award, which recognises those who excel at promoting the sport, encouraging people on to the water and making their activities varied and accessible.
The winner will be announced on Saturday, at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show at Alexandra Palace.
Commodore Dave Ramus said: “We love dinghies and we love cruisers and the crossover between the fleets is substantial, with the dinghy section helping the cruisers and vice versa.
“None of this would be possible without our army of dedicated volunteers, who enable us to run such a hugely diverse and interesting programme of activities that people want.”
Founded in 1892, Sussex YC is one of the oldest sailing clubs in the country, as well as being one of the most forward-thinking.
Although it is called a yacht club, it is as much about dinghies as keelboats, and says it is all the richer for it.
It aims to share its passion for all the different types of sailing by making it as easy as possible for people from the area to join in.
Mr Ramus said: “It’s an unmistakable moment when a novice sailor, overwhelmed by the movement and noise from being afloat, suddenly gets it.
“The nervous smile widens, shoulders relax, and eyes brighten as they gaze at the sails in wonder. That moment is something to treasure for every sailor and instructor.”
The New Active Member Scheme, which costs £7.80 per month, has helped bring membership to more than 1,200.
There is a vibrant youth section and the family and cadets sessions offer both club members and other youngsters the chance to learn how to sail. Last year, the club’s ‘flagship’ Shoreham Youth Team competed at the 2013 Sonar World Championships in the USA in September.
The other shortlisted clubs are Brightlingsea SC in Essex, Horning SC in Norfolk, Staunton Harold SC in Derbyshire and Ulley SC in South Yorkshire.
All five clubs will collect finalist awards from the British Sailing Team’s Shoreham-born star, Megan Pascoe, before the overall winner is revealed by RYA chief executive, Sarah Treseder.
Jackie Bennetts, RYA Club support adviser, said: “Without the ongoing support and commitment from individual members, clubs wouldn’t exist and certainly wouldn’t offer the range or quality of activities which are crucial to the continued success of both clubs and our sport.”
Visit the club’s website www.sussexyachtclub.org.uk for more information on courses in Shoreham.