North Devon Yacht Club has set up the initiative to get young people into sailing alongside Bideford College.

A new initiative to get young people into sailing has had a successful first month.

North Devon Yacht Club has teamed up with Bideford College for the Sailing for Schools programme.

The club gives 10 students an insight into sailing over a four week period, giving them free training with experienced instructors.

The two most improved sailors receive free use of a Topper Topaz boat at the club for the following month to get them more involved in the sport.

North Devon Yacht Club Commodore Peter Ewing said the sport has too long been considered as ‘elitist’.

“We have problems in as much as people don’t know how to get involved with the sport or don’t know much about it,” he said.

He added: “I - with my colleagues - want to try and change that.”

The club presented to 250 Bideford College students in June, with an initial plan to to go to different schools and encourage youngsters across North Devon.

The response from Bideford students was overwhelming though, with 75 students wanting to take on the sport.

Ewing said: “This year we hope to introduce 30 students to the sport, next year our ambition is another 50.”

The first round of winners, who had lessons through July, were presented with the boat on Friday, with Zoe Cross and Sean Sykes chosen as winners.

Senior instructor Tom Marsden put the youngsters through their paces during the sessions, and presented the boat to Zoe.

The next ten students will take to the water in September.