IT'S all aboard at Royal Gourock Yacht Club as the establishment prepares to mark its 125th anniversary.

The local institution was founded in 1894 and the new committee is casting the net far and wide to encourage people from all walks of life to get involved in sailing and take advantage of the facilities and stunning waterfront views.

The club is currently preparing for its annual open day, which takes place next Saturday, May 18, from 10am to 7pm, backed by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) as part of its 'push the boat out' drive.

Visitors will get the chance to try sailing for free and enjoy an afternoon of boat races, live entertainment, a barbecue and refreshments.

New club commodore, Geoffrey Howison, who was brought up in Gourock and now lives in Kilmacolm, said: "We want to welcome new members. "It's a very friendly club and we have six boats of our own. "We want to welcome people who have not tried sailing before or who want an active social calendar - and this setting is amazing. "It's very much a club atmosphere in that everyone chips in to keep the place going. "I've been a member since I was a boy and you look at how important a facility it is, not just for the members but the whole of Inverclyde, and we want more to come down and make the most of it because the setting really is unique."

Club members Barbara Hatfield and John Kissack are also part of the new-look committee and they are keen to change the perception that sailing and boat clubs are for the wealthy and privileged.

Barbara said: "We're reviewing the way we do things to try and improve the club. "A lot of adults think they can't sail.

"It's not expensive.

"You do need to be careful and be safe. "We want to share our knowledge with folk."

In addition to the regular calendar of races and events, the club also hosts social nights and programmes for juniors and adults of all abilities and none.

Committee man John said: "This is a really good place to learn to sail and probably one of the best places on the Clyde to have your boat because of the amount of sailing you can do from here."

Next Saturday's open day runs from 10am-7pm and it's free.

For more information about Royal Gourock, visit or call 632983.