Skye Sailing Club is the best sailing club in Scotland according to the sport’s governing body the RYA and to help celebrate this 2016 accolade the Portree-based facility will open its doors for free sailing sessions for anyone over the age of 10 on May 13 from 10.00am – see Portree from a different perspective!
The Club’s history goes back to 1974 when the original Skye Sailing Club was formed in Armadale. Eventually this was amalgamated with the Portree Sailing Club into one entity in 1998 and a search began for somewhere to house and launch the boats. For a period this was from the back garden of the then Commodore Rob Forrest until an agreement was made with the Cuillin HIlls Hotel to rent their derelict boatshed.
For many years the Club existed on the mud floor with no loo, no water, no electricity and a fleet of sinking dinghies. Help from the Coastal Communities Fund meant in 2015 the shed was purchased and a programme of improvements and further fund-raising undertaken to renovate and extend the building so that there is now at least one outlet for each utility, a changing area and meeting/classroom space with arguably the best view in Portree. The project was completed in 2016 ready for the season.
The Commodore, Hugh MacDonald, paid tribute to the efforts of the Trustees and Committee Members that run things backstage and congratulated all volunteers on gaining national recognition. “There are many that have moved on since being very involved Members over the years. They put in a tremendous effort along the way that ultimately means we are able to stand here today with new boats and a facility that is available for use by the whole community.
“We are very pleased to welcome anyone along that would like to try sailing and are also chuffed that James Allen, the Chief Executive Officer of RYA Scotland, has chosen to spend the RYA’s busiest day of the year with us!
As part of its stated aim to broaden boating opportunities for the community, rowing and junior powerboating have been added and free sailing sessions are being made available to all Primary 7 pupils on Skye – this was such a success last year that it is set to be repeated every year.
In making their award to the Club, the RYA recognised the drive and committed effort to make the project successful and, while the regeneration was still in process, managed to create one of only a handful of clubs with a growing member base in the UK. It was this year on year growth with its low-cost subscription and donations that prompted the RYA to Commend the Club for UK Club of the Year 2017.
MacDonald added, “There is an open invitation to all past Committee Members to come along and join us for the day and see what you helped to create and have a blether over a cuppa – there’s plenty to catch up on over the past 43 years!
Anyone wishing to have a free sailing session should just make their way down to the Scorrybreac Boatshed with a towel and soft soled trainers (they will get wet) and the Club’s volunteers will get you out on the next available boat – it is that simple.
Skye Sailing Club Members celebrate national awards in front of their Scorrybreac Boatshed.