Training Centre History

Horning Sailing Club’s training section began in 2003, after one of the Juniors at the time - Holly Hancock, then aged 14 - wrote to the Committee to ask if the juniors could have something to do whilst their parents raced.  With the support of her family, the Committee and the then-Commodore, the training came into existence.  That first year started with just 6 juniors, some of whom continue to instruct with the Centre today.  The following year (2004), it evolved to become an RYA Training Centre, with Holly’s Dad Robert as RYA Principal.  Soon after came the introduction of adult training, with help from Club President Alex Humphries and Ken Davies, who took parents out on the Rebel – as, in a reversal of expectations, many young people were coming to the club from non-sailing families, and the whole family then wanting to get involved and learn.  Shortly after came the introduction of Powerboat Training, with Colin Facey & Rodney Storey becoming integral to training.  Since then, the Training Centre has taught thousands of children and adults to sail.  There’s also been a fair few adventures along the way, including:

  • People’s Millions 2008 – Back in 2008, the Training Centre was going from strength to strength, but realised that facilities were lacking on Hoveton Little Broad (one of our training areas) and, to resolve this, one of the members said: ‘You need a cruiser you can turn into a classroom, that’ll sort that.’  With a ‘can do’ attitude within the Club, we said ‘we can do that’, and shortly afterwards an extremely exciting opportunity arose, and Horning got involved in the Big Lottery Fund People’s Millions.  This involved putting in a grant for £50,000 for our Floating Classroom – and going head to head against another project on ITV Anglia News.  Many of our members will remember asking for votes in Roys that day, as well as the fantastic support of the local (and wider) community – it was such a fun day!  As the votes came in, the news was that we had won and shortly afterwards our Floating Classroom ‘Bure Magic’ came into existence.  She can often be seen on the Broad, being used for training and racing.  In this time she has been a fantastic asset and one we can be truly proud of.
  • Becoming OnBoard – Back in 2009, Horning Sailing Club became the first OnBoard Club in Norfolk, and since then have been enjoying running taster sessions for local schools and youth groups, along with running after-school clubs for several local schools.  We’ve really enjoyed these partnerships and playing a greater role in the community, and if you know of a group who would like to get on the water, please get in touch
  • The Enterprise Project – Back in the 1980s, Fleet 8 at Horning Sailing Club, under the watchful eye of Colin Facey, saw a great fleet of youngsters sailing in Enterprises.  Fast forward almost 30 years, and we needed a fleet of double-handed boats to fill the gap in training.  Enterprises fitted this perfectly, and we were fortunate enough to receive a grant from the Broads Authority to get a fleet of second-hand boats, which have provided some fun opportunities since.  Our young sailors have taken part in events as part of the Woodcock Salver, and more recently, the boats have been used for adult dinghy training.
  • The Junior Regatta – One of the highlights of the training season is the Junior Regatta, held in September each year.  This first began as an event for our young sailors being run by the Rebel Fleet, held on Hoveton Little Broad, traditionally on the Saturday morning of Open Dinghy Weekend.  The first year of the event saw us joined by sailors from the Norfolk Schools Sailing Association, who were temporarily using Horning SC as a base whilst their usual site at Filby was unavailable.  As numbers grew, this became a whole day event on the river.  We regularly see between 40-60 young sailors taking part – it’s also a great introduction to racing, suitable for all abilities - and the lunchtime BBQ & evening buffet always seem to go down well too!
  • Horning Boat Show – Since its inception, Horning SC has been involved in the Horning Boat Show, running taster sails for the event.  It’s one of the key things people coming to the show look forward to, and as the Boat Show has moved to every other year, we alternate this with our RYA “Discover Sailing” day – inviting members of the public to come down and give sailing a go.  They’ve also kindly funded two of our Optimists and a Rescue Boat.
  • Club of the Year Finalist – A momentous occasion was reaching the final 5 of the RYA Club of the Year, not once but twice(!) in both 2014 & 2015.  This is out of the whole of the UK, and a huge accolade and achievement for the Club – really putting it on the map.
  • Winning the Broadland Youth Regatta – For two years running, in 2016 & 2017, the former for the very first time, we won the Broadland Youth Regatta – an inter-club championship attracting around 100 young sailors – a true testament to the talents of our young sailors.
  • Fantastic young sailors – We are so proud of our young sailors and what they have achieved.  In recent years we have had sailors in the National Squads, and sailing in World events, but we also realise that results on the race course are not everything, and celebrate everyone’s achievements.  We’ve seen sailors go on to work on Superyachts, including the iconic J Class Endeavour, and teach abroad in New Zealand and America.  Sailing brings so many different things to young people and we are glad to be part of that journey.  It’s also encouraging that so many choose to train as instructors and volunteer at Horning SC, where they learnt to sail.
  • Club Boats – We have been fortunate that our fleet of Club boats has grown from 4 very tired Toppers to some 40+ boats that we use for training.  Almost all have been achieved through fundraising efforts and kind loans from members, and we now have in the region of: 10 Toppers, 10 training Optimists, 4 RS Teras, 2 RS Fevas, 4 Enterprises, 4 Splashes, 4 Yeoman Keelboats and 1 Rebel.
  • Workplace challenge – We became involved in the Workplace Challenge initiative through the RYA, and this has provided a great link between local workplaces and the Club, where individuals learn to sail with their work colleagues after work, and have the opportunity to continue learning after the conclusion of their course – if you’d be interested in this for your workplace, please get in touch.
  • Chernobyl sailors – for a number of years we have had a link with groups that provide opportunities for children from Chernobyl, who come to the UK for a month each year, organised through Rodney Storey, Wymondham Rotary Club and Friends of Chernobyl Children.  We provide 2 days of sailing experiences with our volunteer instructors and helpers – doing everything from treasure hunts to following the Stage 1 syllabus.  We even managed to learn a little Russian along the way – did you know that “лодка” (pronounced “lodka” and rhyming with vodka) means “boat”?