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Narrator: The north west of England is a vibrant home to over one hundred sailing and rowing clubs.

Penny Clark, British Olympic sailor: Clubs and training centres are absolutely vital in getting people out on the water, without those then it's really really difficult to try and get out, they provide a really friendly, helpful atmosphere so you can learn, and loads of people that you can have lots of fun with, as well as doing the racing and the training side of things...

Narrator: There is a busy calendar of races and regattas every year, and some events attract Olympic class competitors from overseas.

The Wilson Trophy is held annually at West Kirby Marine Lake on the Wirral. Thirty-two 3 boat teams compete in short frenzied races to earn the coveted title of Wilson Trophy champion.

And from local events to the pinnacle of international competition - the Olympics. The Great Britain team has had great success in Olympic sailing and rowing since it was introduced in 1900, and will be hoping this success continues in the London 2012 Olympics.

Ben Ainslie, British Olympic sailor: I think 2012 is a huge opportunity for all sports, especially sailing in the UK to really grasp the occasion and try to encourage more people to get into sailing at their local clubs and to follow the Olympic games down in Weymouth and at Portland.

Narrator: Local sailing and rowing clubs are crucial in providing opportunities for future Olympians to develop their skills and experience on the water.

Ben Ainslie: Make the most of the opportunity, try and certainly encourage the younger sailors to see this perhaps as something that they could do in the future. All of the current Olympic squad were kids, like any other kids down at their local sailing clubs enjoying their sailing and learning how to race well. And so there's no reason why the kids down at your local club today can't be the Olympic champions of the future.

Credits

Film and images used with kind permission of the following:

  • Craig Beaufort-Dysart and West Cheshire Sailing Club
  • Alan Jenkins and West Kirby Sailing Club
  • Christopher Launay
  • Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club
  • Mark Lloyd
  • Clive Mason, Getty Images
  • Jesus Rendo
  • Royal Yachting Association
  • Peter Spurrier, Intersport Images
  • Rick Tomlinson
  • Tom Workman and Liverpool Sailing Club