Local MP, Brendan O’Hara took to the water this weekend [22nd May] as part of the Push the Boat Out campaign, organised by Cove Sailing Club in the Rosneath peninsula.
Push the Boat Out is a campaign all about getting people out onto the water and giving them a taster of water sports such as sailing and windsurfing. Brendan was taken out on a Loch Long class boat by John McNeillage, the Cove club’s Commodore.
Afterwards, breathless with exhilaration, Mr O’Hara said of the experience: ‘That was absolutely fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
‘I was out for an hour and it felt like 5 minutes.
‘We are so fortunate to have this on our doorstep and if you get the opportunity to do this, take it.
‘It was wonderful to see so many children getting involved, having fun – and who knows we might produce another Luke Patience.
‘I would like to say a huge thank you to Cove Sailing Club for inviting me and for their hospitality.
‘I hope it’s not too long before I can do it again.’
It would be great if the MP’s genuine enthusiasm for his experience on the water were to encourage far greater participation in sailing by Argyll”s young folk. For a place so richly resourced in its sailing grounds, astonishingly few sailing dinghies are seen out on the water.
This situation is, of course, exactly what the Push the Boat Out campaign is designed to attack.
It is run on behalf of the Royal Yachting Association and aims to raise the profile of the sport by promoting participation and enthusiasm for sailing across the country. Sailing clubs around Scotland took part in the campaign, including Isle of Bute, Oban and Toward Sailing Club.
The invigoration evidenced in Mr O’Hara’s response comes from the immediacy of the challenge controlling natural resources of wind and water to persuade a sailboat to get you to where you want to go; the concentration involved; the specific skills and coordination; the teamwork between helm and crew; and the thrill of speed, sometimes barely under control – and sometimes not at all.
If you get it wrong you go over or you collide. If you get it right, you’re on a durable legal high.
This campaign is capable of drawing the attention of Argyll folk to the wealth of the leisure and fitness resource of the water that surrounds us and largely governs our internal communications, one way or another.