John Townsend – RYA Volunteer Awards – November 2023

Life-saving defibrillator – June 2023

Cransley Sailing Club has installed a life-saving defibrillator to benefit its members and local community thanks to national charity Ralphh trust

Nigel Austin – RYA Lifetime Commitment Award – November 2021

RYA Community Awards

The RYA Community Awards are presented to outstanding individuals for their commitment and services to boating at club or grassroots level and are awarded across three categories: Lifetime Commitment, Outstanding Contribution and Young Volunteer.

Nigel Austin was presented with a Lifetime Commitment Award for his achievements at Cransley Sailing Club. As a committee member for over 30 years, he raised the funds to upgrade the club facilities, increased membership by introducing paddleboarding and got members back afloat safely when restrictions allow.

He said: “I’ve been there since I was seven and I still get a buzz out of going there – it’s such a marvellous place, it’s a real gem. We have a brilliant team and love seeing people sail and progress in sailing whatever their age.”

John Linnell – RYA Lifetime Commitment Award – October 2020

RYA Volunteers Awards

John A Linnell has been a member and a volunteer at Cransley Sailing Club for 19 years and uses skills from his working life as a mechanical engineer to ensure that anything that has an engine is operational. He is also involved with maintaining the racing buoys and placing them on the lake. He has built pontoons, devised a solar-powered automated starting system for races and helped members with boat repairs but his biggest achievement to date is the design, construction and ongoing development of a weed cutter that is the envy of other local clubs. His non-stop efforts between May and September allow members to sail over much larger areas of the reservoir. John is one of the unsung heroes of the club, working in the background to enable all members to enjoy club sailing. Whether on land, where he fixes and maintains equipment, or on water, where he reassures new sailors, encourages youngsters to crew with him to give them experience and lends a hand with safety boat cover, nothing seems too much trouble for him.

Due to Covid-19 unfortunately John did not receive his award personally from HRH The Princess Royal.


Sue Bull – RYA Volunteers Award – October 2019

Sue Bull, Principal – Cransley Sailing Club
HRH The Princess Royal, President of the Royal Yachting Association, will honour 11 Midlands sailors with the RYA’s most prestigious awards in recognition of their exceptional generosity and commitment to the sport at grassroots level later this month. See RYA website

Sailors spanning the whole region, from Northamptonshire to north Staffordshire, will receive RYA Volunteer Awards at the RYA’s annual awards ceremony in London on Friday 22 November 2019.

Sue Bull joined Cransley SC eight years ago, when her son and daughter learnt to sail there. After learning to sail herself, she was keen to give something back, so gained her RYA Powerboat Level 2 and Safety Boat qualifications and joined the committee, becoming club Commodore and, in 2017, its RYA Training Principal. Her dedication to her training role has led to a rise in club members.

She said: “I get so much pleasure out of doing what I do, but to receive an award for doing something I enjoy is the icing on the cake. I must be a bit bonkers as I really enjoy our RYA annual inspection. It’s nothing to be scared of as it’s a two way conversation and I always pick up some great tips to implement. I look forward to the annual Affiliated Clubs Conference too as I always come away with ideas on how to improve what we do.”

Paddleboarding at Cransley Sailing Club  – 2019

In 2019 Cransley Sailing Club have seen significant membership boosts after introducing Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Mike Sawford – RYA Award – 2009

Sailor rules waves for half a century

A sailor has picked up a top award for his prestigious 50 year boating career, despite the fact he can’t swim.

Mike Sawford. 69. received the Royal Yachting Association lifetime commitment award for his lifelong passion, which began as a boy when ne used to build boats.

He was presented with his award by HRH the Princess Royal who is the president of the Royal Yachting Association.

He said “I always loved boats as a boy and then I joined the Navy in 1958.”

Published Date:23 November 2009  | By Becky Inman Kettering reporter