Steering the Course

Women in Sailing

During May the Nottingham Sailing Club will be joining in with the RYA and World Sailing’s ‘Steering the course’ campaign by posting and sharing content celebrating women in sailing across our social media channels. The campaign aims to introduce women and girls across the globe to the sport of sailing, whilst also providing inspiration and raising awareness about roles such as coaching and officiating for those already within the sport. See here for more about Women’s Sailing Festival. Also check out our Facebook pages:

Club Pages

Members Group Pages

With women sailors in mind NSC has instituted a league table of results featuring Women sailors – see it here

Here are inspiring stories from some of our women members (sailing and non-sailing) as well:

Kirsten’s Story

Sue’s Story

Sarah’s Story

Hazel’s Story

June’s Story

Stephanie’s Story

Jenny’s Story

Marie’s Story

Mary’s Story

Just to illustrate the breadth of membership – we have a strong Junior section and here are two stories from members in the Juniors. Rose is already successfully sailing in ‘adult’ races as well!

Rose’s Story

Libby’s Story


Here is a photo montage of some of the women members in our Club sailing and contributing:

As you can see we have a vibrant female sailing community within the NSC – and we are looking for ways to enhance this. We would like hear your story as women associated with the Club, how much you have enjoyed being a member, but also how we could improve from your point of view. Please contact the Club if you have a story to tell – contact

Below are the sailing stories from some of our women members:

Kirsten’s Story

I first began to sail in 1992 I did a sailing trip in Australia and liked it, but never followed it up until many years later.

In 2009 I did RYA Level 1 at NSC.  Since then I have achieved RYA L1, L2, L3 and a Day Skipper course.

I really enjoyed sailing on holiday at Nielson Club Focaia Holiday in Turkey.

I have taken part in many open and National sailing meetings: Abersoch, Plas Heli, Llandudno,Torquay, Weymouth, Bala, South Cerney, Bartley, Carsington Water, Attenborough, Trent Valley,

I have sailed Albacores, Larks, Vareos and Lasers.

My most memorable sailing experience was the first time on the sea in Abersoch.

For an absolute beginner crewing is a good way of getting comfortable in a boat and learning about the manoeuvres, or even racing rules. Practise practise, practise!

During my time as a NSC member I have undertaken other roles within our club:

  • Assistant race officer – I enjoy helping with the race and setting the buoys with the powerboat.
  • Training Secretary – very rewarding to organise the Club’s training weekends and see people getting to know and enjoying the sport.
  • Membership secretary – I am proud of our Club and always happy to tell people about it. The administrative part unfortunately didn’t work well around my full time job.
  • Committee member – always good to know what’s going on

I currently do not have the time to take the next steps in my sailing development; but I know, if I would want to become and AI or DI, the Club would support me. However, if I just wanted to get more practice with a little coaching, I could join the annual Level 2 courses as often as I wanted to.

I am most proud of achieving the Day Skipper qualification and hope to get more opportunities to practise my Day Skipper skills.

Kirsten and Phil in action

Sue’s Story

My parents sailed at Nottingham Sailing Club up until I was about 8 years old, so I spent many happy Sundays at the club with my whole family.  We all used to share the crewing for my Dad – my Mum, my 2 brothers and my sister – in an Enterprise and a National 12.  Plus, I remember pulling lots of flags up and down in the race box, and going out in the rescue boat.

I didn’t sail again until I was about 25.   I was living and working near Henley-on-Thames so I became a member of Henley Sailing Club.   I started by crewing for other people – mostly in National 12s, and then I bought my own National 12 and spent plenty of time filling it up with water (whether with a capsize or not) for the first year or so.

I never did any courses at all when I was learning to sail – the RYA courses didn’t really happen to the same extent at the time.   We all just learnt by crewing for other people, and then by gradually learning ourselves.  There were always plenty of other club members to either help us out with advice – or to tow us home when needed!

About 10 years ago I became an official RYA dinghy instructor, after helping with training courses for several years before that.   I took the course one Easter at an RYA training establishment based on a loch in Scotland.  There was still snow on the mountains – and the water was absolutely freezing – but it was really beautiful as well as enjoyable.

I have only ever been a member of 2 clubs – Henley and Nottingham Sailing Club.   Both are river clubs.    I really enjoy the challenge of river sailing as the wind is very rarely entirely constant and you have to balance wind against the stream.    And you have to do so many manoeuvres – there is always something to think about!

The best “all round” event that I have ever taken part in is Bassenthwaite Week.   It is based in a beautiful part of the Lake District, and the club has good camping facilities where you can camp by the lake.   Bassenthwaite Sailing Club makes a real effort to make whole families welcome, with daytime activities for the kids and evening entertainment for all, as well as a full racing programme.

However, I also have to mention some of the absolutely brilliant sailing I have done on the sea, as part of various Burton Weeks (the National 12 championships).   I have both helmed and crewed at Burton Week, and it is fantastic (as well as scary!) to be surfing downwind on big waves, about a mile out to sea.

I have mostly just sailed National 12’s and Comets.   My National 12 is a wooden boat, it is a two hander, and it can be a reactive boat to sail.  Some people call it “tippy”!    It can glide effortlessly through the water in light winds, and plane really well in stronger winds.   It is relatively light for me (and my crew) to get on and off the water, and I’ve also installed good “gearing” on kickers and other bits of rigging to help me in both strong and light winds.   I wouldn’t normally recommend it as a starter boat – unless you really don’t mind plenty of swimming and you are also a quick learner (in which case it is a fantastic starter boat!).   It is a great boat for a reasonably experienced (and agile) helm – either male or female.   Crews need to be of reasonably small stature – women or juniors tend to crew National 12s, but there is no fixed rule.

In the last 5 or 6 years, I’ve also been sailing a Comet.  This is a smaller single hander, which is a slower boat (on average) than my N12 – but it can still glide effortlessly in light winds and plane well on stronger winds.   Even though it is a more stable boat than my N12, it is still great fun to sail.   I can also manage this boat in really quite strong winds – when I wouldn’t risk taking out my beautiful wooden N12.     Although it is designed as a boat for 13 stone helms, it copes with my (much lighter) weight really well, especially with the Xtra sail.   It is also a light boat for getting on and off the water easily.  It is really good to be part of the growing “team” of Comet sailors at the club.

What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking of starting to sail or who has just begun sailing?

  1. Accept that you won’t learn everything at once – sailing can be a steep learning curve at times. You will never stop learning – there is always something to learn about the wind, the stream, and how it affects your boat – and that is what makes sailing such an absorbing sport.
  2. Make sure that when conditions are good, you spend plenty of time just “playing” – enjoying the sailing without putting too much pressure on yourself to learn.
  3. Accept that you won’t enjoy every day – sometimes conditions can be horrible! Sometimes it is best to come in when it is horrible; sometimes you may choose to stay out for a while to try and learn some skills.
  4. Crewing can be a good alternative to helming – either short term or long term. Don’t think of it as a “lesser” job!   Good crewing is a real skill.  And it has some advantages, such as you don’t need to own a boat yourself.
  5. Buy a boat that you think will suit you! How tall you are, how much you weigh, how much you can cope with capsizes, how agile you are (both body and brain!), how good or bad your knees are.  Also, buy a boat that will suit our river.   There are all sorts of boats to choose from.   No boat is likely to suit you perfectly – but think about what you really DON’T want, or can’t cope with.
  6. Learn just enough about the control lines (kicker, downhaul and outhaul) and sail shape. You don’t need to read lots of books – but a bit of basic knowledge really makes the boat much easier to sail.
Sue Jones sailing her Comet

Sue sailing her Comet

Sarah – Steering the Course

I first became involved in sailing 5 years ago. My husband said he had always wanted to try it when we were on holiday one year, so when we got home, as a birthday gift, I contacted NSC and got him booked onto the Level 1 course the following May. The children and I went down to the club to watch him on the Saturday of the course, and it just so happened that the Junior session was running at the same time. We got chatting with Jess and Nigel and the kids both decided to come down the following week to have a go too. By the end of the course on Sunday, Ian had put me down for the Level 1 in June. From then on, the kids were down every Saturday for the Junior sessions, Ian and I went on to do the Level 2 course in the July / August and here we are, 5 years on, the sailing family.

We have once hired a boat when we were away in Mallorca and had a few hours sailing in the bay of Port de Pollença, but apart from that we have only sailed on the river at NSC. We learnt using the club GP14s and Visions, I preferred the GP14 as it is so much more stable, and we have since bought one for the two of us to sail. We also have a Laser that Ian and Ben sail and a Topper Topaz for Libby. We have borrowed an Albacore before and had a go in a friends Lark, I have also had a go in a club Topper during the regatta a few years ago, but apart from that my helming experience is quite limited.

At the end of the 2018 season, we took over the coordination of the Junior sessions from Jess as her children we no longer active in the club as they had gone off to university. I am now the main contact for new Juniors joining the club, coordinating have-a-go sessions and membership application. I am the Junior representatives on the NSC committee and liaise with the instructors to help the children progress through the RYA levels. Along with the support of all the children and parents, we have a thriving Junior sailing community with children aged from 8 to 18 participating on a regular basis and entering the NSC Junior racing series and trophy races.

Through NSC, I have recently completed the RYA Level 2 Powerboat course to support the club with manning the safety boat and I hope to complete the RYA Assistant Instructor course later in the year to help support the Junior training.

As well as supporting the club by running the Junior sessions, we also actively volunteer to man the safety boat for club races and for the training sessions. We have also volunteered to help with the food preparation for the training courses. Many people at NSC give up a lot of time to support new members and training courses and we try and give back as much as we can.

Sarah enjoying being afloat

Hazel’s Story

I am still relatively new to the sailing world. I started sailing in 2018 when I had to retire from football. I didn’t do that much sailing that year. I got my qualifications in the summer and did a little bit of crewing for Phil S in the autumn which was when I realised I was going to really enjoy sailing!

I began by contacting local clubs and had one evening on the water with a woman at Attenborough sailing club. They made me aware of all the clubs locally and I quickly booked onto a couple of training sessions. Phil S was my point of contact at Nottingham. Without his initial offers to crew I wouldn’t have gained my first experiences in a boat, and my first experiences of racing.

I completed both my L1 and L2 away from Nottingham due to the fact I didn’t book onto courses till near the summer and I wasn’t available for the weekends of the Nottingham courses. In 2019 I actually went on and did my L2 again at Nottingham because I loved the layout of 10 nights over the summer months. You had longer with people, got to try different winds and the course was very accessibility especially with its pricing for members. I learnt a lot. Informally Jan W was taking her instructor badge in 2019 as well. So I became a very willing guinea pig. I learnt so much and I really began to love sailing.

I’ve only ever been at Nottingham and I wouldn’t change our club for the world. Everyone is really friendly and supportive. It’s pretty terrifying going into a new place to do a sport you’ve never done and yet everyone was brilliant.

I absolutely love Comet class racing. I get to see most / all of the comets at the club and you get to race against your own class of boat. That day in that wind and those conditions, you can see exactly where you are at. I love pursuit racing to for that reason. I tend to get a bit scared of general handicaps with so many on the start line and racing up to the first buoy!!!! I’ve had lots of advice from other sailors though which has been brilliant.

Being awarded The Endeavour Trophy (The Most Improved Helm of the Year) without a doubt is the sailing achievement I am most proud of! It was my first full year sailing and with my own boat and I get awarded that! During the previous year on the award’s night Phil had told me about it being the prize to aim for as a new sailor, I didn’t actually realise I’d ever do it! To be honest, it is one of my best achievements in life – even away from sailing.

My first and only boat is a Comet. I absolutely love it. For someone who needs an award for swimming rather than sailing at times, a comet is more forgiving and light (easy to get back up). It also has more room in it than other single handers so more room to move around. I’ve gone in quite a few other boats for crewing and training sessions but nothing consistently.

I have a few memorable sailing experiences over the years. Probably one which sticks out more than others is, when on my late Grandad’s birthday, I came within a minute of winning a pursuit race! I came 2nd in that race in the end and 2nd overall in the Robin Hood trophy for August bank holiday. My heart has never raced so much sailing as it did on that day. Also a massive thanks to Pete S and Ken H at this point who both take photos at the Club. It is so wonderful to have memorable sailing moments and seasons on record.

My advice for new sailors would be to not get disheartened by being last in races or capsizing all the time. This was me! There was always a lot of jokes if I actually had a dry piece of kit on because it was so unusual! Each capsize was a learning experience so do not be afraid of it! Eventually you do stop capsizing as much.

I’ve tried to help out at the club in various roles: I was on the executive committee for a year. I’ve also been on the rescue boat. I actually like doing this as who wouldn’t love to drive a power boat all day! And the rescue boat has given me a lot of assistance over the year so I am really pleased I can give back to it.

The club has been invaluable in getting me on the water both with informal and formal training, lots of encouragement and lots of advice and support. There is no doubt the club engaged me with the sport and has grown a life-long love with sailing.

So my aims………well I need to continue to grow my experience and sailing abilities. Having races at the club really helps this and I love seeing where I am at the end of each week. I’d love to get to sail at some other venues as well in open meetings. On the bucket list is to sail the Solent!

Massive thanks to The Nottingham Sailing Club for all their support, advice and encouragement over the years, and for just being an amazing place to sail!

Hazel working hard!

June’s Story

My first experience of sailing was in the long hot summer of 1975.  I was 16 and Neil was my boyfriend.. He took me out on the river in his dad’s old Merlin Rocket.  Unfortunately we tipped it over and had to be rescued.  Tim Wood came to our rescue and when we were back on the bank he said “June, you really can’t sail in those earrings.”  That was great advice, so I ditched the sailing and kept the earrings!  Thanks Tim!  (I also kept Neil)

When the children were little we would go down and often watch the sailing and have a picnic, the girls used to love playing on the climbing frame that was on the bank.

These days if I am at the club I am either in the kitchen cooking food or sat on the bank chatting or reading my book.  I think I first got involved in helping with the catering when Ruth asked me to help with Christmas Dinner.  I seem to have been helping with Christmas dinner for many years now.  Ruth does a marvellous job, everything is so well organised, it runs like a military operation! Over the past few years I started doing food on a Thursday evening. I’ve enjoyed doing this and it has encouraged more people to stay and chat after the racing.

One of the best days was the fun day we had to raise funds for “Jim’s bench”.  So many people got involved and it was great fun.  The theme was princesses and pirates, it was a really memorable day which raised lots of money for a very good cause.  The benches are enjoyed by many people.

It is a really friendly club, and I’m happy to help out, I think if everyone gives a little bit then it lightens the load for others that do lots. We have met some great people here and we are lucky to have made some lovely friends.

Stephanie’s Story – As a non-sailing member of the Club

I became involved as my husband, an experienced, avid and passionate dinghy sailor took to the water on the River Trent, launching a GP14, getting on for 30 years ago now. Our eldest daughter Katie, took to the water alongside him…sailing as a junior member. Our youngest daughter, Emma, like me, decided it wasn’t for her.

As the years went by, and changes of boats too! I was approached to become involved with the club as the Hon. Bar secretary. I thoroughly enjoyed this role, making people feel welcome, as I had been made to feel, when I joined the club. I continued with this role for a number of years, pulling pints and collecting glasses. Looking after the stock, ensuring there was a good choice of soft and alcoholic beverages for everyone. Contacting the local breweries for their best ale. A thankless task, however, very much appreciated by all those who supported and used the bar. It was the hub of the sailing club after the sailing had finished. Organising a successful rota gave others who wanted to pull a pint the opportunity to do so without too much responsibility.

After a number of years, I can’t remember how many exactly! I then changed roles to become the Social Secretary.

Another role I thoroughly enjoy, as it brings people together and the offers the opportunity to make new friends

This again involves planning, organising and communicating of activities such as, Regatta’s, Afternoon Tea’s, Christmas Parties, Fitting-Out Suppers, Laying-Up Suppers, A Night at the Dogs, Quiz Nights, Boxing Day Events, basically anything that isn’t sailing!

Again, encouraging others who are non sailors and some sailors to participate and help out if needed. Whilst taking on these roles and helping in the kitchen, as a best practice a Food Hygiene Certificate Level 2 was required. There was no expectation I should have the qualification. The Sailing Club supported me and others with the training of this, putting into place the necessary requirements for this to happen.

Both of these roles involve being on the Executive Committee giving me the insight in to what, how and why things happen in the club.

As a non sailor, and after all these years, I can do level 5 conversational sailing!… maybe?!

I believe there are pivotal roles for non sailing volunteers, to provide stability and continuity in a club, who, like me have family who love sailing.

Well, that’s my story on how I became involved, hopefully you can too. On occasion, I have sailed in favourable, hot sunny countries when on holiday, with an expert sailor at the helm. However, I’m more suited to this kind of water sport!

Relax after sailing….


Jenny’s Story

My Start Sailing course was circa 2003 on a 23-ft yacht in the Norfolk Broads.  I did L1 at NSC in 2015 and L2 in 2016, that same year I bought my Comet. When we couldn’t get on the water during Covid, I did my Coastal Skipper/Yacht master Theory. I have previously enjoyed sailing on a 16-berth catamaran in Cuba, an Oyster 56 in Croatia, and smaller yachts in the Norfolk Broads and Windermere.

A lot of my early learning at NSC was as a crew, and single-handed helming using the club Toppers and Fevas. I found getting together with other beginners to practice very useful. There was so much great advice from other club members, who I felt just wanted to see us progress and enjoy the sport.

I crewed mostly on the Merlin Rocket, where my (lack of) skills and my mutinous streak notoriously earned us the title of the most capsized boat. Having said that, it was a steep learning curve in a fast and ‘tippy’ boat and I grew to enjoy handling the jib and spinnaker, and appreciate the crew’s crucial role. I also learned a lot sailing in Open meetings at Midland SC, Rutland Water, Banbury, Trent Valley, Bosham, Blithfield, Bartley, Swarkestone, and Norfolk Broads YC. I also enjoyed crewing on the National 12, Albacore and GP 14 at NSC: thank you to all the helms for putting up with me and teaching me the ropes!

When deciding on which boat to buy, I was so grateful to many club members who trusted me to try their boats (Comet, Streaker, Aero, Laser) and who offered advice with regards to suitability. I now love sailing the Comet, and it is great to be part of the growing, dynamic and supportive Comet family at the Club, led by our exemplary female fleet captain who has spent time teaching and advising us, and who continues to inspire us from the front of the fleet!

Occasionally we take my Comet when attending Supernova or National 18 Open events, and I can explore the coastline at my leisure, or watch the racing from very close up on the water, for example at Black Water, Hayling Island, Pwllheli, Paignton, Snettisham. On a couple of occasions, I have managed to enter simultaneous Comet Open events. I won the First Lady prize at Attenborough, and survived three races in a blow at Carsington Water in 2019.

However, nothing beats sailing in my home waters in Mauritius, where I would typically sail a Laser or Hobie Cat in our crystal clear warm lagoons, amidst the fishermen and kite surfers, and where capsizing is actually quite refreshing!

To anyone starting, I would say find yourself a helm and other beginner mates, listen and learn, and practise, but above all enjoy the journey, a journey on which you will always be learning and growing.

Jenny at full stretch in her Comet

Marie’s Story

My route into sailing was prompted by a divorce – I had devoted my life to my children and suddenly I found myself with every other weekend child free and nothing to do!  Finally, in 2013  at 47 I plucked up the courage and money to do something for me and looked around for a sailing course, preferably a cheap one.  I Googled ‘sailing courses’ and the first one was Nottingham Sailing club, it was close and it was cheap!  I had always been that person on the beach wanting to be out in a boat but not knowing how to start or worried it would be an expensive sport to get into.

After finishing the weekend RYA Level 1 course at NSC I forced myself to go up to people and say if they needed a crew I would be happy to help.  It is very intimidating starting a new hobby, which you are a complete novice in, surrounded by people speaking a technical language you don’t understand.  Due to my pushiness I found myself crewing for almost every double handed sailor at the club, it became a running joke that I had capsized with everyone.  In that first year I was a crew for Duncan (who has since moved south) while he was on the Start to Race course, so I sneaked my way into that course.  I also had a fantastic year sailing with Steve B in his Albacore, we managed to bag a few trophies that year too!

I took the RYA Level 2 course in my second year of sailing and had a hoot with Illze in Graham H’s old Lark – we screamed our way through the course.  But it gave me the confidence to helm a boat and afterwards Neil B offered the use of his Vareo, definitely not the easiest of boats to begin sailing in; but due to the kindness of Neil it allowed me to keep sailing.  During that year, I used to go sailing every Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and on Tuesday Nights Social with some fellow learners. With the help of many people at the club I started to get an idea about the points of sailing.  For me, the reasons why a dinghy moves forward is not an easy concept to understand and it is because I kept practising that it slowly became instinctive.  The Vareo is a difficult boat to right once it has completely gone over (especially being only 5ft 2”), so it became important for me to learn how to dry capsize.  Before managing dry capsizes, the rescue team saved me many times.  As a person who doesn’t like swimming out of her depth I am thankful for the amazing properties of buoyancy aids, bobbing around in the Trent is not as frightening as I thought it would be.

I’ve sailed at a few inland clubs, but I’m keen to try the sea. A few years ago, Steve asked me to crew in an open at Ogston Sailing Club, which is a lake and I quickly realised that sailing can be a very wet sport even on a dry day.  I also loved crewing for Steve in the New Year’s Day Open at Nott’s County, but again the pushing your boat out in cold water just doesn’t appeal.  Phil asked me to crew at Carsington Water Albacore Open and that was fun; Albacore sailors are a great bunch of people and so willing to offer advice to others.  One year, I joined in with the Trent Triparte at Attenborough, but found the little islands and hidden sandbanks a challenge.  Recently, I have had more experience on a lake because the sailing instructors’ course was held at North Hykeham sailing club.  In the early years, I hired Picos, RS Visions and lasers when I have sailed at Rutland Water, but that reservoir is huge and it even has waves!

Last year I took the Powerboat Level 2 course, run by Nigel and learned different techniques, which I now need to keep practising so it becomes more instinctive.  With the help of NSC I have taken my next sailing steps and last year began the RYA Dinghy Instructor’s course.  I completed the single handed part, before Covid hit and plan to complete the course this year in the Summer.  I’ve since begun to help with the juniors to ensure I keep practising the skills I have been taught.

I am so proud of being able to sail a dinghy and the day I won my first race was fantastic, I had been so used to being at the back of the fleet or stuck in a bush.  When I was awarded the Endeavour trophy that was a proud moment too.  However, when I won my first and only (to date) trophy (David Ashmore) in 2019 I was ecstatic – I ran around the whole club telling everyone!  Somehow, I had beaten some of our best club sailors in the hour and a half long pursuit race, I felt I had finally proven to myself I could sail.  When I got the trophy home, I noticed only one other lady helm had won it too (Sue J), so that made me feel even more proud.

I have really enjoyed being a member at NSC as everyone has helped and supported me on my sailing journey.  So I feel it is important to give back – hence I am currently a member of the executive committee and helping with the junior club, I have cooked for the Thursday night sailors and during the RYA Level 1 courses, I have been on rescue and have been an OOD for races.  Although I decided to step up as an OOD, I still ask for advice when I am doing the job and listen to suggestions for course laying.  If you’ve been sailing for a few years, I would suggest you give that role a go or ask to shadow an OOD – it’s not as hard as you may think.

To anyone new to sailing or thinking of learning to sail, I would say go for it, ask for advice and listen to others.  Without the help of NSC club members I wouldn’t have continued.  Ray W and Tim W were brilliant as they used to tell me where to go on the river, rig my boat or politely suggest it was too windy for me!  Once you begin sailing try several boats before you commit to one; crewing is a good way to learn about racing rules and other boats.  Never feel it is silly to rig your boat, take it out for a few tacks and then come off the water because it is too windy. Take every opportunity to go on training, sail alongside others, or watch others from the bank.   Remember, everyone at the club started to sail at some point in their life, don’t ever feel you have a stupid question to ask or they will not help you.  Make sure you buy warm sailing clothes and a good buoyancy aid and SuperWarm socks!  To those people who have been sailing a few years, I would suggest it is time to take the next step and look for courses or opportunities to upskill yourself such as an assistant instructor course; by teaching others you are not only supporting our club but also widening your own sailing experiences.

Good luck to you all and thank you for your kindness, support and encouragement!

Marie clearly enjoying her sailing!

Mary’s Story – My Introduction to Sailing

My story starts, probably mid June 1979, when husband Derek and I joined The Nottingham Sailing Club.  Earlier, Derek had been persuaded by a fellow night school student, that he might enjoy sailing.  The scene was set and two weeks later, boxes began to appear.  “What is it?” I asked.  “A boat,” was the reply.  “Oh no,” said I in response to being told we would have to build it ourselves!  Anyway, we got on with it, well Derek and friend did, and the boat was built between our lounge and garage. It was a Mirror Dinghy.

During our Summer holidays in Saundersfoot, South Wales, the boat was launched. Not realising it was quite windy, I was told to get in and sit on the right-hand side, starboard I later learnt.   Being the dutiful wife – in I got.  Derek, with the help from other people on the beach, pushed the boat into the water. “Oh, my giddy aunt I want to go back,” I called out.  “You can’t, you are going to learn how to sail,” Derek answered, and this with Derek only having had a few sailing lessons.  We somehow managed to stay upright and after about half an hour, came back and I leapt out, throwing myself onto the beach, thankful to return.  I had thoroughly enjoyed it, at the same time not wishing to show that I had.

Nevertheless, all had gone well and we joined The Nottingham Sailing Club and spent many happy years there together with our two children, then a Merlin Rocket and a National Twelve followed the Mirror.

I am still a member at NSC and over the years have had many roles to play; social secretary, bar secretary, starting Thursday evening meals (cheese and onion cobs ‘the menu’ of those days), vice commodore and then commodore, all enjoyed very much.  During these years I crewed many classes: Merlin Rockets, Enterprise, Lark, GP14s and National Twelves; also sailing at Merlin Rocket Salcombe Week and National Twelve open meetings too.

I have never regretted joining the sailing club, over the years it has been a real friend and still is, with hopefully more years to come.

A Happy Mary

Rose’s Story

I got involved in sailing in 2017 when I did a course at my Grandpa’s sailing club on the Medway learning to sail an Optimist. The course finished with a sail down the river on Wayfarers and landing on islands with abandoned forts. When we came back to Nottingham, we came along for some taster sessions at NSC and it’s gone from there.

I started the entering the adult racing at the end of the 2020 season, the junior season had finished and I wanted to carry on sailing. It’s a big step and quite scary to go from racing other juniors in toppers for 30 minutes to joining adult pursuit racing. My aim was not to get in the way!

I have attended Junior sessions at NSC for 4 years and attended Cadet week at Medway Yacht Club in 2019 which was a residential week long course with the chance to race daily and sail in different types of boats. I will be doing the Learn to Race course when it’s next on.

Apart from being a member at NSC, I am the only junior member of Erith Yacht Club, but I have never been there. My Grandpa is a member there.

I participated in the Jane Shore trophy race 2020, I was the only girl and the only Comet! Being part of the Team Topper Regatta several years ago was good fun.

I have sailed Toppers, Optimist, Wayfarer, RS Feva, GP14, Laser and I have crewed in a Albarcore and a Lark. I went to an improver Sunday session at the club where I was given the opportunity to sail a Comet. After sailing a topper I thought the Comet was brilliant and I loved it. I sailed a Comet in the Jane Shore in 2019 and 2020 and then got my own boat in December 2020.

I think that my most memorable sailing experience so far, was my first time winning a junior race last year. There are loads of very good junior sailors and I was very excited when I finally managed to do something that meant that I had won something and that I could be proud to say I had done.

As part of the Comet fleet I am going to support the Laser Open. I am also down to help on the rescue boat in October.

Junior sailing has taught me so much and the Comet fleet has been very welcoming, offering me a boat to sail and generally encouraging me.

My future sailing aims are:

To be able to dry capsize

To fall in less

To get better at racing.

To anyone new or thinking about sailing I would say don’t worry about falling in!  You will, its cold!

Rose looking good in her Comet

Libby’s Story

I first went sailing 5 years ago while my Dad was on the Level 1 course at NSC, and Sue let me and my brother crew in a GP14. The junior session was also on at the same time and Jess said that we should come down the following Saturday to have a go. We have been down nearly every Saturday since and learnt how to sail on Toppers.

As I improved, I started joining in the junior racing and I have taken part in the Junior Plaque, Jane Shore and Cadet Shield for the past few seasons. I’ve also crewed sometimes for Steve in his Albacore in the adult races on Saturday afternoons. This has really improved my knowledge of the racing rules and I’ve gained lots of experience sailing in different conditions. My favourite event was the regatta because I enjoyed the team Topper race.

During the Junior sessions I get to sail lots of different club boats, single and double handed. I enjoy sailing double handers as my friends and I can go out together. It’s also a lot of fun in the summer when we play games on the water such as climb the mast and Topper tag.

In the future I would like to participate more in the adult races in the afternoons and learn to drive the rescue boat, I have driven it once before and would definitely like to get more experience.

Lovely Libby


Finally after a week of inspirational stories, a photographic tribute to our women members. These of course aren’t all of them, but a representative selection as an illustration.

The Club owes all our women members a huge amount of gratitude for all they have done to support other members, both sailing and non-sailing, and for helping the Club in general. They should be an inspiration to new members showing what you can achieve if you try. Thanks to all of you!

Some of our wonderful women members!