Dinghy sailors of all ages launch from the beach in front of the clubhouse to sail in Lyme Bay and are also able to enjoy the more sheltered surroundings of the River Axe.
In the post war years, dinghy sailing was the predominant Club activity, initially with the Axe One Design fleet and then with the Scorpion Class dinghy. In the early 1970s the Club fleet numbered approximately 30 Scorpions and the leading boats were also appearing at the top of the fleet in national and area championships. However, with the move toward single handers in the late 70's, the number of dinghy sailors at AYC dwindled and cruiser sailing became a more popular activity.
Over the last few years, with the development of family sailing, dinghy sailing at the Club has seen a welcome resurgence. There has been increasing enthusiasm for getting the younger members of the Club and their parents out on the water. In 2011 the Executive Committee decided to invest some of the legacy left by John Templeton-Knight in three RS Fevas for use by cadets. A 5-year strategy for developing family sailing at AYC was then put together in October 2012 and a number of second hand Oppi & Topper dinghies were purchased for use predominantly on the River Axe.
An annual Cadet Activity Week during the summer holidays was introduced in 2013. Initially instructors were brought in from neighbouring centres for dinghy training sessions during the week (not certificated), but increasingly we have been able to provide this training 'in house' with a number of Club members now trained as RYA instructors. Cadets & their parents have also had the opportunity to complete stages/levels of the RYA Sailing Schemes at neighbouring centres.
In 2016 the Executive agreed to replace the old Oppi fleet with six new Topaz Taz dinghies as the Club's entry level dinghy for cadets. The Club was also awarded a Sport England grant for a project to encourage more adults & older teenagers to try dinghy sailing. With this grant, three training dinghies suitable for adults (two Topaz Vibes & a Topaz Argo) were purchased, enabling the Club to offer dinghy sailing taster sessions and basic training to adults & older teenagers as well as cadets. Following on from three very successful 'Push The Boat Out' open days, the number of families joining the Club has increased significantly and the number of adults (both existing & new members) wanting to get involved in dinghy sailing has also increased. In 2018, the old Toppers were replaced with three ex demo Topper Topaz dinghies, which are suitable to be sailed by adults and cadets either single handed or two up.
The 2020 pandemic put the development of dinghy sailing at AYC on hold but activities are now getting back to normal and the Activities Afloat team is hoping to build on the racing programme in 2024.
Click this link for more information on the Dinghy Fleet & Sailing Programme