TEAM GB’S Olympic sailors have made a sterling start to competitive action at the Tokyo Games this week - and the Rhu and Shandon stars who make up a fifth of the squad are already inspiring young hopefuls back home.

Charlotte Dobson, Luke Patience and Anna Burnet honed their skills in the discipline at the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club (RNCYC) near Helensburgh and the trio are being cheered on from more than 5,700 miles away by the families and friends who helped them on their journey.

The so-called ‘Mum Crew’ who taught the group to sail and organised Cadet events at the club from 1993/4 until 2010 have this week shared details of how they went from humble beginnings to medal hopefuls.

And a ‘Discover Sailing Day’, along with a series of Olympic breakfasts, is set to be held at the RNCYC from this weekend to encourage the next generation of sailing talent to chase their dreams.

Linda Pender, vice commodore of the club, said: “Luke and Charlotte were two of the youngsters who were part of the RNCYC Cadet sailing back in the early 1990s, when a group of the parents decided it was time to get their kids sailing.

“Anna was just a toddler at the time, but by the age of eight, she was part of the programme.

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“It all started when three families each bought a couple of second-hand Optimist dinghies to get the programme going.

“Myself and Carolyn Normand were qualified sailing instructors and having attained our RYA senior instructor certificates, we set about getting the youngsters on the water.

“In the early days before Rhu Marina was fully developed, and with cadets ranging in age from 5-9, sailing class actually took place inside the Marina breakwater as there was an area with no walkways or pontoons at that time.

“Over the next couple of years a slipway was built to launch the dinghies, and training sessions took place in Rhu Bay.

“Each summer the ‘Mum Crew’ would organise a fun week with excursions to Dino’s for ice cream or away for a picnic on the beach at Rosneath.

“The RNCYC also hosted a couple of mini-regattas on Rhu Spit each season, with sailing and fun races, barbecues and treasure hunts - it was very much a family day out with sailors from other clubs attending.

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“After a few years, the RNCYC, often in conjunction with Helensburgh Sailing Club, were hosting Optimist Travellers Regattas and the Optimist Scottish Championships.

“Luke, Charlotte and Anna all developed into very competent sailors and went on to be selected for the Scottish and national squads in various dinghies, then onto the GB sailing team, and finally to the Olympics.”

Racing in Tokyo began on July 25, two days after the opening ceremony, with the first medal races taking place this Sunday, and the final medal races due to be held on Wednesday, August 4.

It was a dream start for Dobson and Saskia Tidey in the 49erFX class, with the pair winning races one and two and finishing sixth in race three - before another three top five finishes cemented their place at the top of the standings overall at the halfway mark.

Speaking after the first day’s competition in the class, Dobson, 35, said: “It was a great day. I think if someone had told us we would have those results we would have grabbed their hand off.

“It is really tricky sailing these boats in shifty conditions where there is such differences in pressure. There’s a range of results and that’s the nature of puffy, windy racing, certainly in Japan.

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“We will try and put together a series - it’s not very exciting, it’s boring, but if we can have as many boring days as possible then that is great.”

It has also been a solid start by Patience, also from Rhu, and his teammate Chris Grube, with the pair sitting second in the men’s 470 category after the first four races on Thursday.

Meanwhile Burnet, from Shandon, and John Gimson also sit second in the Nacra 17 multi-hull class at the halfway stage of their fleet racing.

The medal races will be contended next week, with the top 10 teams battling it out for podium places; the 49erFX medal race is on Monday, and the 470 and Nacra 17 equivalents the next day.

Contact to book your place at the RNCYC’s ‘Discover Sailing Day’, taking place this Sunday, August 1, from 2pm until 6pm.