A TEENAGER from Worcestershire, who overcame her fears and learned to sail on a local reservoir, says the experience gave her a massive confidence boost.

Fifteen-year-old Charlotte Spokes from Kidderminster did not want to get afloat when her dad and brother learned to sail because she was worried about falling into the water and looking silly.

But inspired to have to a go after her mum led the way at the Trimpley Sailing Club’s open day last year, Charlotte overcame all her fears, gained her Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Start Sailing qualifications and took to sailing so quickly she kept getting on the water up until Christmas.

She is now encouraging others to take the plunge and have a go at sailing during the low cost RYA Push The Boat Out Try Sailing events at various venues this month.

Four Worcestershire venues are hosting Push The Boat Out events in May. They are Arden Sailing Club, near Defford, welcoming anyone to have a go on Wednesday evening May 9, while Aztec Adventure at Upton Warren opens its doors on Saturday May 12 and Severn Sailing Club at Bredon's Norton invites people to Push The Boat Out on Sunday May 13. Trimpley Sailing Club, near Bewdley, then holds its open day on Bank Holiday Monday May 28.

She said: "Sometimes sailing is like a ride at Alton Towers you can control. Once you’ve mastered the basics you can make it thrilling or nice and slow and I have lots to talk about with my friends.

"I'd watched my brother and dad sail while walking the dogs with mum. It looked very complicated and I wasn't interested. But when mum had a go I wanted to try but without looking silly. When I said I'd do the course mum thought I was ill.

“I was very nervous on the day, but was soon put at ease by all the nice people at Trimpley. Everyone was so friendly and, with the other ladies on the course, I think there was some girl power in overcoming our fears.

"On holiday I was allowed to hire a boat from the beach as I’d passed my RYA Level 1. How cool is that. When we got back to the beach lots of people were asking me how I learnt to sail. People think it would be very expensive but it’s not, especially for children."

Since learning the ropes, Charlotte has joined the Sunday beginners' sessions at Trimpley - the club where double Olympian and the British Sailing Team member Alison Young grew up sailing - is learning to race and has even sailed in strong winds on the north Wales coast at the Plas Menai National Outdoor Centre. She never imagined she would be doing that a year ago.

Charlotte added: “Before my course I was worried about falling out of the boat and it be embarrassing trying to get back in. But when it actually happened I realised I could swim the whole lake and you just get a bit wet, so what was I worried about?

“I was determined to finish the course and I’m so pleased I did. I was very proud of myself and since learning to sail I’ve got more confidence and talking to older people is easier.”