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Loch Shin Sailing Club

29 January 2015

Loch Shin Sailing Club was established in January 2014, to meet demand from local families following the dissolution of the Lairg Sailing Club.

The Club promotes sailing and sporting activities and is particularly keen to encourage more young people to get involved in the sport

The Loch Shin Sailing Club had 34 members when it first started, half of which were under 16 years old. Membership has since grown and continues to do so.

An award of £2,000 was made from the Lairg Community Fund to allow the Club to: refurbish 6 single-handed sailing dinghies (Topper Sailboats); purchase 12 wetsuits and buoyancy aids; and purchase a first aid/emergency items.
The funding has enabled the Club to ensure that the Topper sailboats used are safe and functional to the standard required for RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Teaching Centre purposes. In addition, the group now has wetsuits in a range of sizes and buoyancy aids for club members and guests.

The group has improved its safety equipment and has bought a first aid kit and five handheld radios which allow effective communication between the shore and the water, allowing the group to react promptly and efficiently to problems as they arise.

The new equipment has allowed the Club to participate in a range of events with one of the most recent highlights being the whole fleet sailing at the Commonwealth Games celebrations when the Queen’s Baton Relay came through Lairg in 2014.

The Club is also working with other local organisations, Lairg Gala Committee borrowed the Club's buoyancy aids for their Gala Week raft race. And the Club have worked with Highlife Highland to offer two days of taster sessions for children in the Sutherland area.

The grant also enabled the group to run a week's training course with an RYA senior instructor for 12 children (6 of whom were non-club members) aged 8 and up. Participants came from as far afield as Bettyhill and ranged from complete beginners to Level 4 RYA standard. The course was a great success and the Club gained four new members as a result. They are now looking into sourcing funding for a women's sail training course.

The Club is now much closer to becoming a registered RYA Teaching Centre, which would allow it to extend its educational programme providing nationally recognised professional sailing certificates.

Mike Newman, Commodore of the Loch Shin Sailing Club said “We were pleasantly surprised by the application experience. The process was extremely well managed by the administrators who were helpful and understanding. The award of this grant has encouraged pride and confidence in the equipment by the junior members of the Club, helping them to develop their sailing skills.”

One of the Club’s Junior Members has been selected to train as an RYA instructor. This will allow her to live in the area once she has finished her education and to be employed making a valuable contribution to both the Sailing Club and the Lairg community.



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