FOR the first time in 2014, boats will be casting off on Bodenham Lake after an action group secured its temporary re-opening this month.
The license for the county’s premier sailing facility will have to be looked at again ahead of next year, but following a long campaign Steve Lloyd is simply happy to have the centre up and running again.
It will now remain open for two months, with the hope that a business plan can be worked out to re-open it in 2015 on a permanent basis.
Mr Lloyd said: “Our aim is to make sailing affordable for all and to include everyone, both able-bodied and less able folks.
“It is with a great deal of hard work by our steering group, that we can say the gates to the Sailing Centre at Bodenham lake is open and we have a compound and slipway ready for use.”
“Currently we are not charging membership fees as we have just two months to enjoy for this year.”
The lake’s winds make it well-suited to teaching, and a group of passionate sailors – led by Mr Lloyd – hope to use the facility to coach the next generation.
In order to do that, the Sailing Centre will have to be able to fund a rescue boat and toilets on site, as the closest facilities are currently five minutes away at Queenswood.
As the centre does not have a rescue boat, if you want to sail before October 31 you will be doing so on an ‘at your own risk’ basis and all boats must have third-party insurance.
Mr Lloyd said: “Between now and early 2015 we will have to develop a business plan and realistic plan going forward as we are starting from zero with zero at present, and if it were not for the good will of our group, we wouldn't of got this far.”
The plan, added Mr Lloyd, is to establish a fully functioning sailing centre, as there is currently nowhere in the county for young sailors to practice their skills.
To do so, the group will have to negotiate with New Leaf, who took over management of the site from Herefordshire Council last year.