For a landlocked city, Sheffield has a surprisingly active sailing community.
With a cluster of reservoirs to the west of the city, where Sheffield opens into the Peak District, as well as country parks to the east, just into the Rotherham border, there is in fact plenty of water to get out on close to Sheffield.
A number of independent sailing clubs operate in the area, which between them sail several classes of dinghies as well as organise regular dinghy racing, training and casual sailing sessions. Read on to find out about them, and take to the water.
Sheffield Viking Sailing Club
Five miles west of central Sheffield, in the beautiful Loxley Valley, the 47 hectare Yorkshire Water-owned Damflask reservoir plays host to the Vikings. The club gets on the water on Sundays, as well as Thursday evenings during summer and every other Saturday. Individual and family memberships are available and the club welcomes members who wish to sail or race, with a fleet that ranges from the gentle – Mirror, Topper – to the more powerful – RS 200, RS300, Laser, Solo. Pop down on a Sunday afternoon to find out more.
Damflask reservoir, near Low Bradfield
Pennine Sailing Club
Meeting at Winscar reservoir, 20 miles northwest of Sheffield in the Peak District, Pennine has the largest sailing area of the clubs around Sheffield, at 127 acres. As it’s high up and not surrounded by trees, it’s good for wind – though that also means the water is cold, taking weeks to warm up after winter. Pennine organises racing on Sundays and, in summer, Thursday evenings, while members are welcome to sail at any other time. If you’re not tempted to join yourself, you can always call by the recently refurbished clubhouse for a cuppa and enjoy the panoramic view across the reservoir.
The family-friendly club puts a strong emphasis on youth training, and is also home to sailing clubs from Sheffield's two universities – Sheffield University Sailing Club and SHU Sail and Windsurf.
Winscar reservoir, Dunford Bridge, S36 4TF
Ulley Sailing Club
Ulley is a small, friendly, sailing club to the east of Sheffield, with an emphasis on family fun and enjoyment rather than purely racing. The club offers training for beginners of all ages and, as a registered RYA Sailability Club, encourages and supports people with disabilities to take up the sport. Head down during the casual session on a Saturday to find out what sailing’s all about, or on Sunday (and Wednesday evening in spring-autumn) if you’re already a keen racer. The club has several boats available for hire by members. Its calendar is varied – for the hardy, though, there’s the sailing series known as The Frostbite on Sundays in winter.
Ulley Country Park, Pleasley Road, Aughton, S26 3XL
The family-friendly Firbeck has been based at Rother Valley Country Park since it opened. It’s not one for super serious racers; the focus here is more on sharing the pleasures of sailing amongst family and friends. Visit the club house near the watersports centre for a cuppa and a chat if you’re keen to find out more. The park's watersports centre also offers windsurfing, canoeing and rowing, and is home to The Sheffield & District Jet Ski Club. While you're at the park, enjoy its cycling and walking tracks, do a spot of bird watching, and visit the cafe.
Rother Valley Country Park, Mansfield Road, S26 5PQ
Rotherham Sailing Club
Rotherham Sailing Club is based by a picturesque and peaceful reservoir, in the village of Harthill, 10 minutes from Junction 31 of the M1. A small friendly club, members of all abilities are welcome. The club fleet includes two Larks, one Enterprise, two Lasers, a Feva, four Toppers, one Pico and two Bugs. Members can keep their boats in a locked compound and there's a beach, making it easy to launch.
Take part in or watch sailing races on Sundays from mid-March until Boxing Day, or the Thursday Pie and Pea series from mid-April until the end of August. If you fancy learning how to sail, instructors run RYA Level 1 and 2 dinghy courses in early summer as well as RYA power boat courses. Alternatively, pop down to the club on a Sunday between 11 am 3pm to see the dinghy sailing. You can email the club directly on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Harthill reservoir, Carver Way, Harthill, S26 7XB