Our Delph Members Journeys

Delph sailing Club is Boltons Friendliest Sailing Club.

We are bunch of people who come together to facilitate sailing and as such, are more a family or a way of life than a members only club.

No-one is a stranger for long at Delph SC and we even have founder members at the club and their children and grandchildren. Not bad for a club with its roots in the 1960’s

As part of a Sports England bid, to hopefully get a grant towards a fleet of new training dinghies, we asked some of our members for their stories.

My Delph SC Journey – Ian Brown, Vice Commodore Delph SC

In 2012, having never sailed in our lives, myself and my family went to an RYA open day at Delph Sailing Club which was being held in the wake of the London Olympics. We decided to join.

In 2013 myself and my eldest son James (15 at the time) did our level 1 RYA certificates at Delph and were gifted an old Miracle sailing dinghy.

In 2014 we completed our level 2 RYA certificates and began to race going on to win the novice championship in 2015. Shortly after I became a director of the club

In 2016 I did my Powerboat level 2 certificate and my eldest daughter Lilly started sailing lessons.

I became rear commodore at Delph then in 2017 I became Vice Commodore at the club.

In 2018 I qualified as a Dinghy Instructor and I did my Powerboat level 4 course (Safety Boat)

My youngest daughter Mia began to sail and I was instrumental in the club becoming a Sailability club allowing my son Thomas, who is profoundly disabled, to start sailing too.



In 2020 I plan to become a Senior Instructor and a Race Coach Level II to coincide with my term as Commodore.

Alongside our time at Delph, Myself and my daughter Lilly have travelled all over the country to compete in Miracle Dinghy Opens, winning the Travellers trophy 2 years on the trot and Lilly has won the youngest crew trophy back to back in 2017 &2018 at the national championships.

All of these achievements stem from a family open day at Delph in 2012 and a trip out on the water with David Helme who is the current Training principal at the club. Without the friendly, family atmosphere at Delph and the progressive way the club is run, my family would not have persevered with our sailing journey. It has been a pleasure to be involved with the Delph SC and see how far the club has progressed in recent times.

My story is not unique at Delph as we encourage all members to participate and progress.


Graham Crabtree is our Sailing and Results Secretary, he is planning to become a Race Coach Level II and a Powerboat Instructor this year at Delph

“I returned to dinghy sailing after a 40 year break and joined my local sailing club. Although they were a friendly bunch I didn’t feel as though there was a passion for sailing – and particularly racing.

Visiting several local clubs I was truly impressed by the welcome I got from Delph. I sailed in a Solo open there and due to my inexperience and the strong and gusty conditions spent most of the race upside down. I got nothing but encouragement from the Delph sailors and so decided to join them.

I have been there 3 years now and have progressed so much with my sailing – largely due to the help and advice I have received from the other sailors. There are some excellent sailors there but they still find the time to help and share their knowledge (until you start winning!).

The enthusiasm from club members is infectious – if you have any skills that can be used in running the club (I use my IT and computer skills to prepare and publish race results) then you are truly


It feels good to be part of a dynamic and developing club!”


Luke Harrison joined us in 2018 and is already a Director of the club and responsible for managing Dutyman, our online duty management system.

“I joined Delph in May 2018.  I’m still not entirely sure what pushed me to it, I just fancied a go at sailing. I had been out on a boat twice before, but never had control or been out on my own. On encouragement from these friends I borrowed a single handed boat for a social sailing session and I was hooked. Within 6 weeks I had bought my own (bargain basement) boat and took part in social sailing. I was then encouraged to try racing, and I loved that too.  I have never won anything or come even close, but it is by far the best way to learn and improve in the boat. There are also countless Youtube videos that I watched in my spare time to upskill.

Soon after, my Dad joined. He has always had an interest in sailing and as he is close to retirement it is now an activity we can enjoy together.  I have encouraged him to jump in a boat too, and get cracking.  Falling in is fine – it’s just water and it is bound to happen at some point, to even the best sailors.

Delph have been very welcoming, and I have never felt out of place even given my absolute novice status. I was awarded with the ‘endeavor’ award at this years end of season social occasion, and subsequently nominated to be on the committee, which came as a surprise to me!.  It is a club that requires members to “give something back” but in all honesty it does not feel like a burden as you visibly see the love, care and attention other members put in and you want to be a part of it. I would absolutely recommend sailing as a hobby, it engages both the body and mind and is both an exhilarating and relaxing escape from today’s noisy, screen obsessed world of work.”


Wendy Gaddes has been a member for many years, here is her story.

A bucket list for an approaching 50th birthday and a neighbour with a Miracle dinghy, were the

enticements to join Delph Sailing Club. The friendliness and encouragement of the members

running training sessions meant that both my daughter and I became keen sailors. However, we

soon learned that the mother/daughter combination in a double hander was not a good one! Her

and her friend had so much fun sailing an RS Feva XL and were known for their loud “whoop

whoops” as they crossed the finish line. With Delph juniors they did the Southport 24 hour race

more than once and went on to sail for Lancashire in the NSSA Regattas. My daughter loved Delph

and the opportunities it gave to have a wider circle of sailing friends. Now, she is an SI, has run “All

Girls Training” at her own club and is secretary of the NSSA. Thank you Delph!”


In February 2018, whilst I was undergoing a pre-assessment test for my Dinghy Instructors course, a car pulled into the car park at Delph. I wandered over and I think the occupants thought I was going to ask them to vacate the premises but instead I got chatting to Mandy and Lee and invited them back for a sail in April.


“My wife Mandy and I are new members at Delph Sailing Club and are just about to start our second year at the club with a sailing dinghy of our own! Having never been a member of a sailing club before, I cannot vouch for what other clubs are like but the people at Delph sailing club have made us feel very welcome and that it is our club just as much as anyone elses. The people are incredibly generous with their time and there is always someone willing to help a lending hand, give some advice, explain or demonstrate a new technique which has been ideal for us being complete novices to the world of sailing. We have benefited from being members in many ways. For example, as members of Delph, all training is heavily subsidised which has allowed us to gain our RYA level 1 and 2 sailing qualifications as well as our RYA Powerboat Level 2 qualification. The quality of the training was exceptional with all instructors being very friendly and approachable.  The delivery of the course content was done in a professional but relaxed environment which allowed us to gain the best from the course and make rapid progress. However, it is not just about sailing, the social side of being a member is great too. There is a range of social events from formal to very informal barbeques in the Summer. What I like about Delph is that they accommodate all different kinds of people with all kinds of budgets and sailing aspirations, whether that is tootaling around the lake relaxing or competing at all levels in open race events against other clubs.”


Mark Ashworth is a Director at Delph. He became a DI in 2018 and can often be found repairing the club boats or preparing his Larks for the 24 Hour Race in Southport but he has only recently returned to sailing after a bit of a break…

In the summer of 1975 I was invited to try sailing at Delph by my good friend Nigel Wilcocks who is still a member today. I enjoyed the experience so much that I decided this was the sport for me and joined the club as a member.
Eventually I became a full time crew on a Scorpion before progressing to helming a Fireball with my good friend Gary Catterral crewing and having all the fun out on the trapeze! We sailed this boat for many years before upgrading and going on to do many Opens and both the British and French national championships.

I became a Dinghy Instructor and the clubs Bosun.

In 1995, because of the drought and lack of water at Delph, I moved to Glasson Dock before giving up sailing altogether in 1997 due to the pressures of work and buying a farm. I took up new hobbies such as horse riding and shooting which I still enjoy today.”


“Then in 2016 I was invited to a Fireball reunion evening up at Delph. All my old friends were there and it was a very enjoyable evening.

The next morning I realised that the one thing I enjoyed most, I had not done for 20 years!

I decided to rejoin Delph and was welcomed with open arms. The people could not have been more helpful and through the loan of boats to try before I bought, I decided on a Solo, One of Delphs most competitive fleets.

I have also bought a couple of Larks which I let the club enter into the 24 Hour Race at Southport and use as extra training boats when needed.

I have re-qualified as a Dinghy Instructor and have become once again, a fully active member of the club.

I look forward to many happy years of teaching and racing to come at Delph.”


If you would like to come down to Delph and see what we are all about we would be delighted to meet the best members we don’t yet have 🙂


On Saturday 25th May we will be having our open day and you can book your tickets here. See you soon!