More than 230 visitors took to the water at Rutland Sailing Club to try the sport for free ahead of the final medal race for Olympian Dylan Fletcher.
The club at Edith Weston was one of six key locations chosen to host the Royal Yachting Association’s Sail for Gold Roadshow because of a special connection with GB’s Olympic sailing team in Rio.
More than 50 club volunteers helped to run sailing trips in 15 different boats, including cruisers, dinghies and a catamaran, with visitors inspired by the Olympics having a chance to find out more about the sport and meet members of the British Sailing Team.
The Crabtree family from Kettering took to the water in a catamaran and Charlie, aged 12, was thrilled when they were able to take over some of the controls.
Dad Oliver, who works in IT, said: “I used to sail when I was a bit younger. I loved it today. At the moment it’s just a day out but we’ll definitely now find out a bit more about sailing.”’
The combination of inspirational Olympic sailing and the chance to get on the water during the Sail for Gold Roadshow also motivated Rutland SC member Clive Herd, aged 60, to go sailing again for the first time since major surgery when a burst appendix was diagnosed as cancerous. He said that while in intensive care, it was thinking about sailing that kept him going.
The father-of-three and grandfather from Spalding, is now looking forward to getting back on the water more regularly.
“I asked if I could go out to get my confidence back and it was so good to get on the water again - it’s great here, everyone is so supportive and helpful,” he said.
Many of those at the club stayed on after the sailing to watch Britain’s Olympic sailors on a big screen compete in their final medal races, including Market Harborough-raised Dylan Fletcher, who grew up sailing locally and with crew Alain Sign tried to medal in the thrills-and-spills 49er class.
The pair missed out on the podium after making a dramatic comeback in the final race only to capsize, finishing sixth overall.
Nevertheless a proud Rutland Sailing Club cheered them over the finish line.
Rutland Sailing Club always welcomes visitors wanting to find out more and details are at www.rutlandsc.co.uk