West Riding Sailing Club was founded in 1937 by the Goodyear brothers, who also built the original clubhouse. This clubhouse was destroyed in an arson attack in 2005. It was replaced in 2006 by today's modern clubhouse, after a nationwide fundraising campaign by the membership, who also organised work parties to complete the construction.
The club is based on Wintersett Reservoir, near Wakefield in West Yorkshire, which covers 45 hectares and is roughly kidney shaped, with a maximum sailing leg of a kilometre. There is ample space for car parking, and two large compounds can accommodate 172 boats. The famous West Riding lawn runs down to the water's edge, serving as an area for rigging boats, camping, picnicking and barbecuing, plus a marquee. Two wide concrete slipways allow easy access to the water. The jetty is used for mooring the club's two rescue and one committee boat. The area contains copious wild life, and is designated an area of Special Scientific Interest.
Family, single, junior and student memberships are available. The current membership covers all age groups from 3 months to over 70 years old! The club has a strong family heritage, often running to three-generations.
There are competitive racing fleets in single and 2-handed boats. A full programme of racing is held throughout the year, including frostbite series, junior and ladies events, and a Wednesday evening series in the summer. Major event of the year is the Spring Bank Regatta, a 3-day open meeting running since 1987, enjoying a friendly atmosphere augmented by lively social evenings. The most successful in recent years attracted 92 entries and included a professional firework display.
All sailing tastes are catered for, from national champions (the club has had twenty-six!) to toe-in-the-water beginners, from keen racers to boat bimblers. This is demonstrated in the Summer Camps, which embrace all categories and ages of sailor, providing training and advice in both groups and on a one-to-one basis.
There is a full programme of social events throughout the year, from BBQ's to the Annual Dinner Dance & Prizegiving, from Quiz Nights to Karaoke. Events evolve over time to fit in with members' tastes and requests! The club also supports events such as Abersoch Dinghy week (with sometimes over 20 entries), and the Lord Birkett Trophy on Ullswater. West Riding SC is one of the few clubs in the UK to have entered all of the West Lancashire YC 24 Hours Races since 1967.
The club has built up a small fleet of boats, both single and 2-handed boats, for both adult and junior members. The aim is to encourage new members and beginners, members whose families are expanding!
The club is very much a self-help organisation, as demonstrated by the new clubhouse with its member-built deck. An annually elected management committee, backed up by sailing, social and house sub-committees, runs the club. Members are encouraged to join and support committees so that their ideas and needs can be reflected in the way the club is organised. Members are expected to help in the organisation of racing, and will be part of the Officer of the Day's team once or twice a year.