ASPIRING sailors and families were given the chance to hit the water as part of an open day at Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre.

Sailors braved the cold conditions on Saturday at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, taking advantage of the Rod Shipley 'Sail for a Fiver' scheme.

See a video here

Visitors were able to meet the centre team, ride on a boat with an instructor or try out the new fleet of boats.

The 'Sail for a Fiver' sessions were made available for the first time to over-14s, with four sessions taking place throughout the day.

Warren Surtees, centre manager at the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre, said the open day was designed to raise awareness of the centre.

“A few people have come down to say hello and get our contact details and take away some brochures.

“Other than the grim weather it's gone well.

“Everybody is keen to get involved during the summer months when it warms up a little more.”

Mr Surtees said they had experienced a really positive reaction to the sessions, which have seen people learning how to control the boat and what to do in the event of capsizing.

He added: “We're here and we are open and we cater for everybody. There are courses for all ages from five and up.”

People of all ages turned up to take part in the 'sail for a fiver' sessions, including nine-year-old Curtis Easton, who had never sailed before.

He said: “I wanted to have fun and my dad arranged it for all of our family.”

Meanwhile, Alice Grover, 12, said she had been sailing five times.

She said: “My mum said I could come down with my brother and help him learn how to sail. I enjoy just being out on the ocean and just having fun out there and falling off.”

Georgia Davie, 17, attended with her friend Chloe Griffiths, 20.

Georgia said: “I have done it once with the school at Royal Manor and it was really fun. I just wanted to do it again.”

Chloe said: “I thought it would be quite fun. We live on the island so every time I come past I'm always seeing it and I'm always intrigued. I thought I'd give it a bash.”

The centre was set up in memory of Sherborne sailor and former Olympic champion Andrew 'Bart' Simpson, who died aged 36 while training in San Francisco Bay for the America's Cup.

It was officially launched on May 9 by Simpson's family and friends, including Olympic medallists Sir Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy.