Founded in 1980 in order to provide a safe and welcoming community where members could share their love of boating without having to hide their sexuality, the Sailing and Cruising Association has gone on to become the home of LGBT+ boating in the UK.
Where do we sail? We're a virtual sailing club which means we're not restricted geographically. Our events are focused on the south coast in the Solent (around Southampton, Portsmouth, Lymington and the Isle of Wight) and on the East Coast in the Thames Estuary, although we have members scattered throughout the UK, sailing in the northeast, Scotland and West Country, and several keep their boats in the Mediterranean. We've a number members who cruise the inland waterways and in the past we've had keen dinghy sailors on rivers and reservoirs. Each year we try to explore a new sailing area, forming a flotilla of charter boats. Racing under the Gay UK Sailing Team banner, our members often participate in the Gay Games, competing as far away as in Sidney, Chicago.... The planet is mostly covered by water after all!
Who are we? Currently there are around 400 members in the Club. Women have been a valued part of the Club for over two decades and we welcome all those who identify within the LGBT+ community, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, together with their friends and family. We aim to be an inclusive club and also do not tolerate discrimination on other grounds, such as race, gender or disability.
What sort of boats do you sail? About a quarter of our members own boats. The majority of boat owners sail yachts, typically 25 to 45 ft, although we have some with smaller day boats and dinghies on estuaries, rivers and reservoirs. We have a keen powerboat section including speedboats, motor launches, RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats) and even narrowboats on inland waterways. We think have most types of boating covered but, if there’s something missing, there’s nothing to stop you getting a new section started! The Club is run by and for you, so just get in touch with your ideas and we’ll see if we can help.
How much does it cost? Membership starts from £15, often much cheaper than 'regular' sailing clubs... this makes our club a great way for novices to discover sailing, as well as providing a inexpensive access to additional sailing community for those who already hold memberships of their local regular sailing club. Owning your own boat can be very costly, but many of our skippers generously offer crew places for Club events. Boat owing Skippers will normally ask their crew for contributions to food, drink and fuel. The cost of chartering (hiring) a boat is normally divided amongst the crew and costs start around £150 per person for a weekend charter. To get out on the water, you'll need good waterproofs and suitable footwear which will cost a couple of hundred pounds, although you might be able to borrow something or buy second-hand.
Do I have to know how to sail? Well.. it helps, but many of our members joined the Club as complete novices! Many skippers are willing to take out inexperienced crew, though it's important to discuss your level of experience with the Skipper before you arrive at the boat so they can make sure there are enough experienced sailors in the crew to safely handle the boat and show you the ropes. Our Rear Commodore Training can give you some advice regarding suitable training courses if you're keen to learn more. The Club encourages all members to train for safe boating and is affiliated to the UK’s governing body for boating, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA). If you’re new to boating, we’ve put together our New As Crew supplement, which offers helpful advice to inexperienced Club members.