Shoreside visitors will have the chance to try sailing at Skandia Cowes Week 2005

Hundreds of visitors to this year’s Skandia Cowes Week (30 July – 6 August) will be able to take to the water for a free sailing lesson thanks to Skandia and the United Kingdom Sailing Academy (UKSA).

Long-term savings company Skandia, celebrating its 11th year as title sponsor of the event, has employed the expert services of the Cowes-based UKSA to provide daily ‘Try Sailing’ taster sessions for the full eight days of the regatta.

Anyone over eight years old will qualify for the sessions and those who sign up will be taken by RIB from Cowes Yacht Haven to the designated teaching area. This is likely to vary depending on the wind and tide conditions each day.

Each session will last for an hour and will involve the UKSA instructors in three Colgate Keelboats enabling up to 15 people to get a taste of what it’s like to sail.

“Our key objectives for our Set Sail programme are to make sailing more accessible; grow the sport’s reach and enrich people’s lives,” says Skandia’s sponsorship manager, Tim Sewell. “This initiative ticks all the boxes and we’re delighted that, through the UKSA, we are able to offer this fantastic opportunity to some of the many non-sailors who come along to the event.”

The sessions will run from 1030 to 1630 from Saturday 30 July to Saturday 6 August. The UKSA will be providing RIB transport, three sail boats, safety cover, tuition, buoyancy aids and insurance, as well as RYA-qualified instructors to run the lessons. The initiative will be promoted to visitors on Cowes Parade for the duration of the event.

“We trialled this activity in Australia at Skandia Geelong Week in January and it was a big hit with visitors there,” says Tim Sewell. “We hope we get a similar response from the visitors to Skandia Cowes Week and, who knows, maybe a few will get the sailing bug and become future competitors in the main event.”