Sun, sea and skiff at Oban

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Out at sea during Oban Sailing Club's open day 16_T21_sailingday10_boysonthewater
Out at sea during Oban Sailing Club’s open day
Giving sailing a go at Oban's Push The Boat Out event 16_T21_sailingday02_family
Giving sailing a go at Oban’s Push The Boat Out event
 16_T21_sailingday09_boyandseabreeze
Making the most of the sea breeze at Oban’s Push The Boat out event
Paul Mills at sea with his own 'sea dog' 16_T21_sailingday06_paulmillsandseadog
Paul Mills at sea with his own ‘sea dog’
Sam Johnson at the helm of Oban Lifeboat 16_T21_sailingday03_samjohnson
Sam Johnson at the helm of Oban Lifeboat
Joshua and Megan Griffin don lifejackets ready to set sail 16_T21_sailingday05_joshuandmegangriffin
Joshua and Megan Griffin don life jackets ready to set sail
James Fenton with Angus taking charge of Selkie, the Seil skiff 16_T21_sailingday08_jamesfentonwithangus
James Fenton with Angus taking charge of Selkie, the Seil skiff

Forgive me for sticking my oar in but anyone who didn’t make it to Oban Sailing Club’s open day  at the weekend, really did ‘miss the boat’,  big-style.

While temperatures soared and sizzled on land, a breeze blowing out at sea whipped up a good show of landlubbers  – including 81-year-old Colin who only came for a look but ended up  on a yacht.

‘Even if we were competing with many local events and a royal wedding, we had about 100 new people who went afloat, said club commodore Iain Campbell.

Saturday’s chance for people to jump aboard and give sailing and rowing a go was part of a nationwide event being organised by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) to get people out on the water.

The sailing club in Gallanach Road was one of 400 other clubs across the UK who invited the community down for free taster-sessions.

People signed up to join as members on the day and lots of membership forms were taken away, said Mr Campbell who was just one of the 20 club volunteers who gave a hand.

Dinghy and keelboat sailing and powerboating were just some of what was on offer on the day, Oban Rowing Club and Seil Coastal Rowing Club also brought their skiffs along.

I’m no stranger to the sea as a CalMac passenger or an open water swimmer but I’ve never been part of a boat crew before.

Sailing hats off to our cox James Fenton  who took on the challenge of taking me and my three pals out in Selkie, a traditional skiff lovingly built-up and cared for my members of the Isle of Seil Coastal Rowing Club.

This particular coastal craft made of wood and share funded by Seil islanders, was a beauty. Under James’s patient coaxing we managed to row her without incident safely round Heather Island. We soon worked out that co-ordination, timing and teamwork was key to a successful voyage.

A seal popped up to say hello and when oars were ‘easy’ we had time to take a breather and  ‘soak up’ our surroundings.

At one stage James, onboard with Angus his dog, encouraged us to row with our eyes shut which heightened the experience of feeling the sea breeze in our hair and the nudge and pull of the waves below.

There were others waiting on shore to have a shot so all too soon we were heading back to land – I’m definitely up for more.

Argyll College also brought its RIB boat along to the open day and the town’s lifeboat, the Mora Edith MacDonald, a Trent-class all-weather vessel,put in an appearance too.

Oban Sailing Club, formed in 1935, is now hoping the Push The Boat Out event will encourage new members to sign up. Both Oban and Seil rowing sides are also looking for more crew.

To find out more visit obansailingclub.org or follow the club on Facebook and Twitter. Interested in Seil’s skiff? Go to seilskiff.org.uk or to discover more about the Oban skiff side head for obanrowingclub.org.uk