Steering the Course 2021

Tamworth Sailing Club are proud to support Steering the Course a 10 day women's sailing festival running from Friday 21st to Sunday 30th May 2021.

Celebrating women in sailing at Tamworth SC



Tamworth SC started the #steeringthecourse celebrations last weekend. The usual pursuit race was split into two to enable an all-female race. Full credit to Neil the OD who had to manage separate female and male pursuit races running side by side.


The ladies race was surprisingly (or perhaps not) competitive. With the battle for first being won by Emma, closely followed by Helen. In third place was Jan who pipped Teresa at the line by a whisker. Morgan took the junior prize.



Following the presentations, the ladies cake table was opened. There are some demon cake makers at Tamworth, and there was a fine array of goodies. Barbara added a new dimension to the offerings with a fantastic Polish cheesecake.


Of course it isn’t just about the ladies at Tamworth so we did invite the men to mop up the leftovers.





We have welcomed the opportunity to share our stories as part of the campaign, and hope that we have inspired more women to consider sailing as an activity for all. If you have been inspired and would like to find out more about how you could get involved in sailing at Tamworth Sailing Club please contact Jill here.


 Jill and Barbara explain why they enjoy dinghy sailing



If you like the sea, watching boats, or just walking around harbours, try dinghy sailing. It's a great sport, especially when the sun is out.



You will be close to the nature and further away from everyday life problems. During sailing, you just try to work out from where the wind blows, how to reach your destination and try to balance your boat so you don't capsize ... just like in life I guess…

Then when you come back home, you feel happy and refreshed, as you would come back from short holiday. 


And why join a club? You will meet people, who are always smiling and are passionate about sailing and are willing to pass the passion to you.


Happy sailing!




Sailing is a family activity for Emma and Jan shares how sailing gives her time out. 


For me sailing is a family thing. I learnt to sail on a Neilson holiday looking for an activity that we could all do together as a family and am very happy that it worked out to be exactly that.  It is not only something we can all enjoy together but also talk about shared experiences afterwards over dinner.





Dinghy sailing gives me 'time-out' mentally. Whilst on the water, I am absorbed in the task in hand, a break from the stresses of life. I have met some wonderful people, sharing the same passion and have become lifelong friends. I enjoy the exhilaration of hiking out, the speed at which you can travel, purely powered by wind.


Mia on the impact sailing has had on her life.

I started sailing at 11 years old, because my brother and my mum sailed already, and I didn’t like missing out. I completed my youth Stages 1,2 and 3 at Tamworth, and started participating in the beginner and improvers race on Saturdays.


Initially, I didn’t have much confidence in my ability, but Friday social sailing and just playing around in boats really boosted my skill level and my confidence. I then started competing in the Saturday and Sunday club racing, and due to regularly sailing in various weather and wind conditions I am now a confident sailor and love to get the boat ‘singing’. 


Sailing has continued to shape my life, and has opened up different opportunities and experiences with hopefully many more to come.


In 2019 I became a qualified Dinghy Instructor through the RYA’s Aspiring Female DI Project, alongside Paula and Cat also from Tamworth. 


In September 2019 I took part in the Southport 24 Hour sailing race with Team Tamworth, which was an amazing experience. This led to regular double handed crewing of a GP14 with spinnaker; and following Southport we made a pre-COVID debut on the competitive circuit.


Sailing has also taken me from small dinghies right up to the other end of the spectrum and I spent a week sailing on a tall ship. That experience has thoroughly given me the tall ship bug! 


However, possibly the biggest influence sailing has had in my life has been giving me my interest in water and the ocean, which has given me cause to pursue a career in marine science. I am currently studying Ocean Exploration and Surveying at Plymouth University.


It’s safe to say that sailing has shaped my life!





Teresa talks about how she and her family have benefitted from sailing in a club environment.


I came to sailing quite late although I have been involved in water sports all of my life. I’d often thought I would like to try sailing, but never got around to it. When my son was invited to try sailing and took to it like a duck to water, it made sense to bite the bullet and learn to sail. It took me a long time to build my sailing ability and confidence. I'm not sure that I would have persevered outside of the club environment.


For me the social aspect of the club is as important as the activity, and through experience I knew that to get the full benefit of club membership, I needed to get involved. I can handle power boats and felt confident enough to provide safety cover. Through covering safety for the junior section and other events, I began to get to know people. Taking on the role of club secretary further embedded me into the club.


The better I got to know people, the more my confidence grew and more opportunities came my way. I was in my mid 50s and was learning new skills, keeping active and had lots of new friends and many, many laughs. One of my biggest achievements was developing the social sailing sessions which are now firmly embedded into club culture.


I currently manage the club social media platforms. I didn't even have a Facebook account when I started. I've now learnt how to use social media to promote the club. 


The more I get involved, the more I can help to develop the club to be what I want it to be. We often receive comments about how friendly and helpful people are at Tamworth Sailing Club, and I'm proud that I’ve helped to shape that. Over a third of our members are female, and most of those are active, this makes for a great environment.

My sailing improved as I gained confidence within the club. I no longer worry about making a fool of myself. There is always someone on hand to support if needed: catching you before you crash into the side on an onshore wind; helping to put in a mast; dragging a boat up the slipway; or offering coaching and advice.


As a mother I encouraged my children to participate in all club activities including working parties. This helped to shape them as individuals, and club members have been like an extended family to them. Both are now qualified dinghy instructors and sailing has influenced both of their career choices. 


It can be daunting when you first join a club. My advice would be to find a club that suits you and look for opportunities to get involved. The club will thank you, and your sailing and wellbeing will benefit tremendously.


Vice Commodore Sandra on how she got hooked on sailing.


I really didn’t expect to find myself as the Vice Commodore of Tamworth Sailing Club when I first stepped on a yacht for the first time in 2015. I often ask myself ‘how did this happen?’


After my first yacht trip, where a friend had a spare berth, I signed up to do the Day Skipper Theory course, an unusual place to start for a non-sailor. Having successfully completed the course I was given the opportunity to sail from Gosport to Poole. On that trip I realised I needed to learn to sail to be able to do my Day Skipper Practical. A colleague told me Tamworth Sailing Club was starting an RYA Level One and Two dinghy sailing course the following week. I jumped at the chance and booked on the course.


I’ve now completed the RYA levels 1,2,3 and start racing. I realised that I needed to prioritise sailing if I wanted to get better. I sail each week and take full advantage of the opportunities at the club. Spending time on the water has certainly improved my sailing. The club offers coaching on Saturday mornings and a beginners/improvers race that has really built my confidence. 


As well as sailing at Tamworth Sailing Club I’ve continued with yachting and sailed across the English Channel on two long passages. I’ve just returned from a cruising trip from Falmouth to Plymouth and back with an all-woman skipper and crew. That has been an amazing experience and really shows how a team of women can work together really collaboratively. 


I didn’t expect to get ‘hooked’ on sailing the way I have and for it to have such a big impact. Now that I am no longer working, Tamworth Sailing Club is an important part of my life. I am part of a special community where we all share the love of sailing and support each other. 


I’ve been delighted to be part of the team putting our Steering the Course event together. I hope that we will encourage more women and girls to get involved and get on the water. If you’ve ever had an inkling to be part of this community I’d say, go ahead and to it – what is for you never passes you by. 



Happy sailing.



Sandra x


Paula holds key roles within Tamworth Sailing Club and is the current Commodore and Training Coordinator. This is her story.


Where it all started.

I started Sailing as part of an Outdoor Education unit at college. This involved my PE lecturer shouting from the side of the lake with a megaphone as we students battled the elements on Dol-y-Gaer lake in a Wayfarer. This was followed by a few trips to Milford Haven where I had the chance to crew on some bigger boats.

I then started teaching in Suffolk and did my level 2 and Day sailor on the North Sea out of Lowestoft and then had lots of fun sailing a larger boat from Pin Mill and became quite adept a dodging the container ships coming up the Orwell.


Return to sailing.

Roll on 27 years and whilst on a Park Run at Kingsbury Water Park my partner and I saw a boat set up and some flyers being handed out for an open day at the club. So, we went along, so that he could get into sailing and get his RYA qualifications.  A week later I was signed up to do my level 1 and 2, and found whilst boats were basically the same shape the move from aft rigged to centre main was very confusing.



Over the past 6 years I have done my level 3 and Seamanship again and have moved from occasional helper, through membership secretary, vice commodore to commodore and training coordinator.

I also had the chance  in 2019 to get my DI qualification through Patricia Ordsmith’s Aspiring female DI project along with 2 much younger members of the club.


What Next?

I hope to get my Day Skipper qualification this summer, but I will still be trying to sail my GP14 or Laser at Tamworth SC.


Benefits of sailing.

It is exhilarating, frustrating, fun, challenging but most of the time I love it! I find when I am on the water I can’t think about anything else other than being in the moment and present and the stresses of the week seem to have blown away when I get back to shore.


About being Commodore and Training Coordinator

I have the privilege of getting adults and children involved in a sport I love and sharing my passion.