RYA taster courses at Portland

Weymouth and Portland’s world-renowned sailing centre, the venue for the sailing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, will open its doors with free entry to the public this 19th September, on the day that the medals will be decided at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta.

More than 500 boats competing in all 10 Olympic Classes – including the new women’s match racing class – plus the three Paralympic Classes are expected to compete across the week of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta (14-19 September), which this year doubles up as the seventh and final round of the 2008-09 ISAF Sailing World Cup series.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors from Weymouth and Portland, Dorset, the South West and beyond, and giving them the chance to find out what an international Olympic Classes regatta is all about,” explained the RYA’s Event Director David Campbell-James.

“The Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta is an important step in the RYA’s efforts to engage the wider public in sailing and to help people better understand and appreciate our sport at its very best.

“In addition to the sailing action there will be a host of interesting stands and displays on show at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on the Open Day. Visitors will be able to watch the heroes and heroines of Beijing and Athens, and potentially of London 2012, as well as enjoying a big day out.”

Mega screens at WPNSA will bring all the action as events unfold on the race track straight to the shore-based spectators, the footage will be accompanied by live tracking and expert analysis from top names in world sailing, including the BBC’s Beijing Olympic sailing commentary team of Richard Simmonds and double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson.

Families can soak up the atmosphere and watch some of the nation’s most famous sailing names in action such as double Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy, Paul Goodison and Pippa Wilson.

The more action-minded can test their fitness on the Concept2 rowing machines or take a turn on the water themselves as the regatta is organising a number of “taster sessions” for the public.

SailLaser will be offering taster sessions priced at £10 per person per hour or £20 per family (up to four) per hour. All sessions will be supervised by RYA-qualified staff and will offer the chance to both crew and helm a top class dinghy. Early booking is advisable to avoid disappointment!

Meanwhile, the RYA OnBoard team will be on hand to give advice on how to get started in the sport, and will be running an OnBoard Festival for 40 kids from Dorset clubs as well as giving 40 more local Weymouth and Portland schoolchildren the chance to hone their skills out on the water.

Regular sailors and enthusiasts can tour the stands and look at all the new season’s gear and equipment from top brands such as Harken, Holt, and Marlow, as well as checking out the general fitness products offered by Science in Sport, providers of sports drinks and nutrition products to the British team, Skandia Team GBR.

Weymouth and Portland’s regatta “village’ will include food and refreshment outlets and a diverse host of other stalls including Musto, the clothing manufacturer and retailer, who will be showing off all the year’s new fashions and technical clothing – as worn by Skandia Team GBR sailors.

UK Sport Events Consultant Esther Nicholls said: “UK Sport is delighted to be supporting the RYA in bringing strategically important world class sailing events to the UK. This will provide crucial opportunities for Britain’s best sailors to compete on home waters and also showcase their sport to spectators ahead of 2012.”

The action on 19th September includes medal races every half hour between 10:00am and 3:00pm.

The Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta is organised by the Royal Yachting Association, sponsored by Skandia and supported by UK Sport via their National Lottery-funded World Class Events Programme.

Book your free tickets: here