Paddling Guide

Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club is primarily used by dinghy sailors, windsurfers, canoes, kayaks and SUPs. Paddling is usually possible either during the club opening hours when there is a safety boat on the water, or for members at other times so long as there are always two craft on the water – known as buddy sailing (even though it should perhaps be buddy paddling!). Club opening times are Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5.30pm (March to November) and Sunday 10am to 4.30pm (December to March) plus Wednesday afternoons from 5.00pm onwards in the spring and summer as advertised in the calendar. Any exceptions are also published in the calendar. Dinghy racing usually takes place on Sundays, Wednesday evenings and occasionally Saturdays. When dinghy racing is occurring, it is good manners to stay out of the way of the race, especially when they are starting.

Paddling is possible at other times outside opening hours, but as there must be at least two craft on the water in “buddy” mode it is usual to arrange to go when someone else is going, and at least one party must have a gate key. This is for members only and is usually organised via the Facebook Group. Day usage (see link below) by non-members is possible, but only during club opening times. Visitors should report to reception in the main clubroom next to the galley to sign in and pay the day sailing fee. All craft kept or used at YDSC by members or visitors (including, but not limited to, dinghies, windsurfers, kayaks, canoes, SUPs) must be covered by third party insurance of at least £3,000,000.

Safety is important. Grimwith Reservoir is quite elevated and is often pretty windy, which is one of the appeals for many but can lead to some wild conditions. Check out the information about the prevalent conditions. As an RYA club and Training Centre we have Risk Assessments covering our activities; members are encouraged to read the relevant ones for their activities. They are on the website as password protected pages and you should have had the password provided in your welcome message from the membership Secretary. If you need a reminder then you can contact .
[Link to Risk Assessments to follow (pw protected)]

When on the water you should use a wetsuit or drysuit and a buoyancy aid. Please consider the weather forecast and paddle within your capabilities. Particular care should be taken by those using kayaks with spray decks if you are not appropriately experienced. For rigid craft you might find the main concrete slipway down from the carpark the best place to launch as it is broad. If your craft is inflatable, then the windsurf rigging lawn is probably the best place to inflate to avoid gravel and stones. Inflatable craft are obviously more susceptible to wind.


The safety boat is usually (but not always!) on duty when the club is open (weather permitting). The safety boat is there for the benefit of paddlers, as well as windsurfers and dinghy sailors, so in summer at weekends in most instances it should be on duty from 10 am until 5pm, even if club racing has finished earlier. In Winter the safety boat may only be scheduled for Sundays. Check for a notification either on this site or Facebook if it is expected to be cancelled. Note that the safety boat driver and crew may come in for lunch when the dinghy racers leave the water. You may wish to leave the water when they do if you are worried about your ability to self rescue. Remember that if the safety boat comes in there must be at least 2 craft on the water at all times.


Keys are available from the membership secretary to allow access to the gate leading to the club. A key for access to the clubhouse can also be obtained. Both keys require a returnable deposit (currently £50 each). The club gate is usually kept open during club opening hours. If you are buddy sailing outside of these times then it should be left closed but not locked. Whoever opens up is responsible for ensuring that the club is locked up at the end, either by doing it themselves or by making an explicit agreement for someone else with keys to do so.


If you want to keep one or more craft at YDSC you can subject to the appropriate fee. Options include spaces in the boat park for trailers etc or grass bank storage. For details contact the membership secretary in the first instance.


When paddling there are some ‘no go areas’ due to restrictions from Yorkshire Water. We must stay out of these areas or we risk losing the privilege of sailing at Grimwith. Paddling is allowed between the club house and the eastern end of the lake and between the club house and the far end of the dam at the western end. There is a line of buoys at the far end of the dam which should not be crossed. For further details see these maps. During the bird nesting season the old quarry area behind the carpark and next to the boat park is also out of bounds. Access to the water is only permitted from the shoreline in front of the club grounds. Landing on the shore anywhere else, including the north side of the lake (opposite the club house) is not permitted except in emergencies. Paddling is possible all year only because we help Yorkshire Water with maintaining wildlife habitat. You might see requests to help “reed bashing” parties – please come and join in if you want year round water usage to continue (or if you just want to help the birds!)


Dogs should be kept on a lead at all times if brought to the club. They are not allowed in the club house.


YDSC is a recognised RYA Training Centre and as such runs an extensive programme of courses mainly for sailing and windsurfing. Whilst there aren’t any specific canoe, kayak or SUP courses as yet, there are potentially other courses of interest, like Powerboat Level 2 so you can drive the safetyboat for duties (see below) or First Aid.


If you have any specific issues or comments then feel free to approach a member of the committee – they are on the website here and would be delighted to hear from you.
Because the club is for windsurfers, paddlers and sailors alike we would encourage you to mix, attend socials if that’s your thing and help with working parties. Working parties usually carry out maintenance in Autumn and Spring, eg. gravelling the carpark, painting etc., often with a free lunch!


Members can bring guests to the club as described in the guest policy.


Should you wish to eat in the galley it helps those running it if you can order hot meals before 11am. If you don’t order these by 11am hot food is not guaranteed to be available when you want it! Snacks are available at all times the galley is open, and there are vending machines when not. You can run a tab system – please talk to galley staff for further details. You may also eat your own food in the galley if you prefer. Small lockers for valuables are available to loan for a nominal deposit.


As a member you are expected to do some “duties”. There is a duties system in place whereby club members are expected to undertake the jobs of running the safety boat and directing sailing races. If you have limited or no experience then the most suitable duty is usually assistant safety boat, unless you have your Power Boat level 2 certificate required to drive the safety boat. The club runs annual refresher training at the beginning of the season. The other duties of Race Officer and Assistant Race officer require experience and knowledge of the rules of sailing.
To register for a duty you use the “DutyMan” application which is linked from the website and has a separate login. A points system is in operation. Active race sailors are asked to accumulate 9 points, which encourages active racers to do at least some of their duties on Sundays – seems fair enough! Less active sail racers should get 8 points a year. For recreational sailors, windsurfers and paddlers, 7 points is fine. Wednesday evening duty earns 3 points, Saturday earns 4 points, Sunday earns 5 points. More details in the Duties section.


Camping is sometimes possible when advertised in the club calendar for specific events.  Any tents pitched on the windsurf rigging lawn must be removed between 10am and 5pm.


The club uses radios to communicate between shore, safetyboats and other craft such as the Committee Boat during racing. The shore station is in the clubroom opposite the galley, so if you need to alert someone then you can from there if nobody else is nearby. Press and hold the button on the side, speak slowly and then release or nobody can reply.