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13 Jul 2017

Mayor of Dudley Adds Byte to New Boat Launch at Himley Hall

More Black Country youngsters will have the chance to keep sailing into adulthood after the Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Dave Tyler, officially launched five new boats at Himley Hall Sailing Club on Saturday (8 July).

Himley Hall SC introduces hundreds of young people to sailing every year through its relationships with no fewer than 12 local schools, youth groups and community organisations, plus the club also runs its own Sport England-funded Sportivate project.

Now the five new Byte dinghies – four of which came courtesy of a £10,000 Sport England Small Grants award – will help keep young people in the sport by enabling the club to run more sailing for this age-group without them having to buy a boat.

Cllr Tyler was joined by 25 club members, plus youngsters from local schools, for the launch at the club, which is situated within the picturesque grounds of Himley Hall.

Tony Sutton, Commodore, said:

This project aims to make continued sailing at Himley Hall more accessible for people aged 16 upwards, meaning we have more young adults sailing regularly. Older children and young adults outgrow our junior Topper training boats, both in terms of size and skill development. Because much of our club activity is aimed at older adults, the boats that are suitable for this audience aren’t so appealing to youngsters, who are more attracted to performance sailing in fast, modern boats. Without regular engagement and new challenges youngsters can tend to drop out. The Bytes will now provide a learning curve for maturing young sailors and provide a pathway from junior to adult dinghy classes to keep them sailing into adulthood.”

Himley Hall SC is a recognised RYA Training Centre, meaning it conforms to the highest standards of quality and safety, and as an RYA OnBoard club it is supported in its aims to deliver low cost opportunities so more kids aged 8-18 can learn to sail.

Meanwhile, there are still a few places available for anyone aged 11 to 25 to take advantage of eight hours of completely free training in August courtesy of the club’s Sportivate programme.

The club identified Byte dinghies as the ideal transitional boat for this project as, when combined with their current Laser Pico and RS Feva training boats, Himley Hall can accommodate up to 14 youngsters on the water at any time. With staggered activity, this increases to 28, the equivalent of a whole class in the same session.

More young people involved in sailing equals more parents, siblings and friends getting involved at the club too, both learning to sail and as volunteers. Through this Himley Hall anticipates the five new dinghies will help the club increase its family memberships, which cost less than £7 a month, by almost 25% by the end of 2018.

Tony added:

Sailing provides fresh air, exercise and fun. In addition to developing sailing skills, young people develop many fundamental life skills too, such as confidence, team building, independence, decision-making and communication. We have evidence that learning to sail is an attractive experience for youngsters locally. By being able to offer more learn to sail and more improver opportunities to young people and their families too, we aim to retain more sailors, develop their skills and give them a healthy, wide-ranging activity they can enjoy for life.”

For more details about August's Sportivate sessions contact Lucy Griffiths (Training Secretary) at and to find out more about Himley Hall SC visit or search Himley Hall Sailing Club on Facebook.


Image: The Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Dave Tyler, meets Himley Hall SC youngsters, Callum (9), Jake (13) and Matthew (12), plus Himley Hall SC Commodore Tony Sutton (credit Lucy Griffiths / Himley Hall SC)

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