Green Sport becomes even greener at Snettisham Sailing Club

Green Sport becomes even greener at Snettisham Sailing Club

They have reduced their carbon emissions, increased the sustainability of the club, and improved the accessibility to make sailing available to more members of the community.

Snettisham Beach Sailing Club, with over 500 members, provides the most comprehensive sailing, kayaking, canoeing, kite/wind surfing and paddleboarding opportunities for both beginners and experienced participants in the area. They are determined to make the club and sailing accessible to all and, as a consequence, have not increased membership fees since 2019 - a family can enjoy the facilities for just over £5 per week. The club also owns some 30 boats that are available for hire to members.

WEB regatta

They have the only full time Royal Yachting Association approved training centre in North and West Norfolk. In a typical week the Training Centre provides sailing opportunities to school and youth groups, including complex needs and pupil referral schools, private individuals, the increasingly popular ladies sessions, various adult sailing groups and courses to RYA levels 1, 2 and 3, plus first aid and VHF Radio and Powerboat Level 2 training.

The club are unique in having both a lake and the sea equidistant from the clubhouse, with the aim to encourage and develop participation in on-water activities for all ages and abilities. They have also recently improved facilities to support disabled access and have excellent relationships with local schools, youth and community groups.

Grant awards from the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Community Infrastructure Levy and the East Coast Community Fund has enabled Snettisham Beach Sailing Club to move to renewable sources for its energy needs. The Club also used its newly ‘green’ clubhouse for the first time on Saturday, 16th March at their annual prize-giving event that marks the start of the sailing season.

The club is ‘off grid’ as far as energy sources are concerned and has, until now, relied on a diesel generator for electricity and gas boilers for hot water to showers, washrooms and the kitchen. Sailing is a green sport and this reliance on fossil fuels did not fit in with the environmental ethos of the club, situated as it is in a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a RAMSAR site adjacent to the RSPB reserve at Snettisham.

WEB solar roof

The first phase of the project began in the summer of 2023 with the addition of insulation and a new covering to the roof. Following a structural survey an array of 21 solar panels was then installed on the roof, supplying a 30kW battery system. The club was then rewired, and low energy lighting installed throughout. The total cost of this work was £50,000, with the club thankful to BCKLWN Community Infrastructure Levy for £30,000 towards this cost.

WEB Adrian Tebbutt (Commodore), Mark Charnley, Guy Playford (Vice Commodore), Nathan Franklin (Junior Convenor)

From left: Adrian Tebbutt (Commodore), Mark Charnley, Guy Playford (Vice Commodore), Nathan Franklin (Junior Convenor)

Commodore, Adrian Tebbutt, the second longest ever serving at the local club, said: “Our generator used to run for 1,100 hours per year on average, consuming roughly 3500 litres of diesel fuel, releasing the resulting exhaust gases into the environment - not what we would wish for a green sport and club! We have had half a season with the new system in place and are still learning to operate it at maximum efficiency. From what we have learned we anticipate that over a full year we will not have to use the generator (kept as a backup) at all, saving considerable cost and significantly reducing emissions from the club.”

The second phase of the project began in January 2024 to provide a solar hot water system. Adrian continued: “Our two boilers that heated water for the club were obsolete and the shower temperatures resulting were unstable due to fluctuations in flow rate. This made the showers less than ideal for members with mobility issues. We took the decision to move to a solar thermal system with push button showers and taps to reduce our water and LPG gas consumption and to provide showers that are better suited for disability access. Working with Horisun Renewable Energy, who advised on the system design, we began the installation in January 2024 to be ready for the new season. We now have a 30 tube solar thermal collector, 600l of hot water storage tanks, a flexible control system plus new thermostatically regulated push button showers and push operated taps throughout the club. The two obsolete boilers were replaced by a new boiler to act as backup at periods of high demand and to enable us to protect against legionella. Adrian said: “with the installation completed in mid February we have been impressed with the effectiveness of the system, even in the short days and cold weather, the tanks are up to working temperature. We estimate that we will save at least 1000l of LPG per year, once again reducing our costs and emissions.”

The total cost of the solar thermal installation was £17,650 and the club were thankful to the East Coast Community Fund for a grant of £13,645 towards this cost.

Adrian added: ”We have worked with local contractors wherever possible throughout the project and are particularly proud to have been able to use the generous grant funding we have received to make our green sport even greener. Not only have we significantly reduced our carbon emissions, increased the sustainability of the club and helped ensure its viability in the future but we have also improved the accessibility of the club to make sailing available to even more members of the community. We have always aimed to make the watersports opportunities at the club available to all, so if you are interested in what we can offer we have an Open Day on Sunday, 19th May, and our website has all the information you need for this and about the club”.

WEB Clubhouse & people

Cllr Jim Moriarty, cabinet member for development and regeneration, said: “This is an excellent use of Community Infrastructire Levy (CIL) funding, which also meets the Councils Corporate plan to reduce emissions. This is one of 4 projects allocated a total of £113,000 CIL funding in Snettisham. CIL can be used to fund projects such as new facilities, or improvements and upgrading of existing infrastructure to increase of usage which would support new development of an area. If you have an idea for a scheme that will benefit your community, it’s worth thinking about whether it could be funded by CIL. We reopen for applications from 1 July 2024.

Imran Nawaz, Ørsted’s Senior Advisor, added: “Congratulations to Snettisham Beach Sailing Club. The move over to renewable energy to fuel the club is a great example of what the fund can support. We’re pleased to see such a great step in reducing carbon emissions.”

The clubhouse, which was visited by the Princess Royal as recently as 2017, really is situated in an idyllic location, with sunsets to the West providing wonderful views across the Wash on a balmy Summer evening. The Clubhouse, bar and catering facilities are also available for private hire.

If you’d like to find out more information about Snettisham Beach Sailing Club please contact Adrian at or visit their website at 

If you would like to try sailing everyone is welcome down to the Open Day on Sunday, 19th May from 10.00am.

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