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Kielder Yacht Club celebrates 40th anniversary

by Paula Irish 14 May 2021 09:53 UTC
Landscape photograph of Kielder Water taken by club member Paul Thompson for RYA North East photography competition © Paul Thompson

Family-friendly Northumberland club looks forward to busy season and open day

Kielder Yacht Club in Northumberland is celebrating a return to the water and the club's 40th anniversary year with a full programme of sailing and socials.

Watersports were among the first to return following lockdown three and the club on the shores of Kielder Water is now planning to make the most of the 2021 season.

Having welcomed back its existing members, the family-friendly club will also be hosting a Discover Sailing open day on Saturday 19th June for anyone keen to find out more about getting on the water.

Retired data manager Paul Thompson, of Morpeth, joined Kielder YC two years ago after being taken out for a sail by friend at the club. He said: "I was immediately hooked and within six months my wife and I had bought a small cruising boat. We're very much still learning, as we didn't get much sailing in 2020 because of the pandemic, so we're looking forward to getting back out this year.

"Kielder is beautiful and it can be completely tranquil or when the winds pick up, it can be challenging, so it's the best of both worlds for complete novices and for people who are experienced, and because it's not the sea you feel safer as there's always a shoreline. Everyone at the club is willing to help and we also enjoy it because of the friendships we've made."

Paul and his wife Sandra have a small 22ft keelboat with a cabin and enjoy getting away from it all on Kielder Water, including overnight stays on a jetty or mooring. Incredible wildlife sightings include ospreys fishing and since it is one of the UK's best Dark Sky locations, the couple take a telescope onboard for stargazing.

Paul recently won a photography competition run by RYA (Royal Yachting Association) North East to highlight boating across the region and describing his award-winning image, he added: "It's always calm in the morning and on that day, I opened the hatch and it was so gorgeous I took a picture. I entered it for the competition because I really am proud of the club and how beautiful the place is."

Kielder YC was founded in 1981 and Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful sailor in Olympic history, has sent a video message to the club with his best wishes for its 40th anniversary in 2021. The official opening of northern Europe's largest man-made lake by the Queen then took place in 1982, so the club will be celebrating again next year as well!

Based at Whickhope Inlet, part of the 27-mile shoreline of Kielder Water, the club offers an extensive social, cruising and racing programme, which after three launch days and one more to follow in May to put members' boats back on the water after winter and lockdown, is now in full swing for 2021. The community spirit at Kielder YC has seen more than £800 raised to secure a club defibrillator and as Covid restrictions continue to ease, members are also looking forward to being able to fully use their clubhouse again with its panoramic views.

Commodore Matt Bridger said: "It's just great to get boats back on the water, it's such a wonderful place to sail. My brother and I bought a yacht five years ago and brought it to Kielder to check it on an inland water rather than set off straight out to sea, and enjoyed it so much we stayed!

"Kielder has a really interesting shoreline because of its flooded valleys, you can always find a sheltered inlet in respect of the wind direction, and there are lots of opportunities for cruising and racing. You can sail over to the Northumbrian Water visitor centre and have an evening meal in the bar and restaurant, pick up an overnight mooring, have breakfast on board and then head back to the yacht club just in time for a race. It really works!"

Kielder YC has 90 moorings in total, including 18 for overnight stays, and is home to around 50-60 motor cruisers and yachts under 30ft long, with members from as far afield as Nottinghamshire, Scotland and Cumbria, attracted by the club's affordable single, associate, family and student memberships and the stunning location.

Mr Bridger added: "At a club like ours you don't have to spend too much on a boat to get started and we have either a social or a race every other weekend. We also have our Discover Sailing open day in June for anyone who'd like to find out more. Come along and see if you like it. We're always keen to welcome new members!"

For further information about Kielder YC or to get in touch about the club's Discover Sailing open day visit kielderyachtclub.com

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