History of YDSC

The origins of the club go back to the 1960s when a group of keen dinghy sailors from the Leeds and surrounding areas negotiated with the Leeds Corporation Water Authority to form a Club on Thruscross reservoir near Blubberhouses.

In 1966 the group were given permission and for nearly 30 years the resulting Leeds Sailing Club thrived at Thruscross, a 120 acre reservoir. Many types of dinghies were raced and windsurfing also became popular. Unfortunately, Thruscross suffered problems with water levels during dry summers in the 80s and particularly during droughts the reservoir could be almost empty. So in the early 1990’s , the club negotiated with Yorkshire Water for the move to the much larger and more open Grimwith Reservoir (371 acres). Grimwith Reservoir was originally built in 1883, then expanded by 700% to it’s current size by Yorkshire Water for its 100th anniversary in 1983. This provides a sailing area measuring about a mile by half a mile, excluding the north west corner which is out of bounds for sailing as it is a conservation area for wildlife.

The club moved to Grimwith in 1995 and was later known as Grimwith Sailing Club. In 2004 the name was changed to Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club to better reflect the clubs regional status and to make it more obvious where the club is located for visitors and prospective members.

The club became a registered charity in 2005.


When the club left Thruscross, it had to leave behind it’s clubhouse, showers, bar, galley, etc. From the move in 1995, the club was actively working towards the provision of a clubhouse with all of the usual Sailing Club facilities. There were many problems around planning and other issues, but after 14 years of persevering with accommodation in portable cabins a fantastic new £3/4m clubhouse was at last opened at the end of August 2009. The Clubhouse has a large clubroom with panoramic views over the entire Reservoir and a well equipped modern Galley with a range of foods and drinks available at very reasonable prices. It has a wide patio area with a glass balustrade to allow comfortable watching of the sailing on nice summer days. The view of the stretch of water from inside the clubroom is unparalleled. The clubhouse also has separate large changing rooms for ladies and gents, both with showers and toilets. We have a large garage for storing safety boats, the committee boat and other associated equipment. There is a separate store building for buoys, windsurfing equipment, sails and equipment for Club boats which are available for Members to rent for a nominal sum. There is a disabled changing and shower room,  which can also be used as a unisex changing room, and a wheelchair-friendly lift to upstairs where there is another Disabled toilet. There is a large dinghy park, launching ramps and a dedicated windsurf rigging area. The Clubhouse is heated by a ground source heating system augmented by solar thermal panels on the South-facing store building. These systems provide sufficient hot water to meet the demand for hot showers when a whole lot of sailors come off the water at the same time. The combination of all this and the best sailing and windsurfing in the area has allowed the club membership to rise significantly since the move. Some visitors have commented that they think the facilities are the best in the country.

Year Commodore
1969 David Young
1970-1971 John Blomfield
1972 Guy Locke
1973-1974 Frank Barber
1975 Raymond Bayes
1976 Jack Escritt
1977 Roger Smith
1978 Bill Gradwell
1979 Peter Lambert
1980 George White
1981 Russ Perkins
1982 Peter Olver
1983 Ken Brewer
1984 Mike Saul
1985 Peter Turner
1986 Peter Olley
1987 Bill Kean
1988 Andy Davies
1989 Phil Whitehead
1990-1994 Richard Towers
1995-2001 Mike Saul
2002 Graham Cooke
2003-2004 Keith Escritt
2005-2010 Jonathan Lister
2011-2013 Phil Whitehead
2014-2016 Erica Caswell
2017-2018 Richard Paynter
2019-date Lester Mulligan