EAST Dorset Sailing Club has been awarded a £10,000 grant by Sport England to buy two Topper Argo dinghies.

The new boats will be unveiled at the commodore’s reception on Thursday when the Mayor of Poole and other VIPs from the local sailing community will visit the club (7pm).

Established in 1875, East Dorset is the oldest and smallest sailing club in Poole Harbour.

It has limited space in its dinghy park with no room for expansion. This has seriously affected the club’s ability to attract new dinghy members because the waiting list for a space is so long.

The only way forward was for the club to acquire its own dinghies, allowing people wanting to get into dinghy sailing to join the club and use them.

Until now, the club only had two single-handed Picos available. The new Topper Argos are capable of holding four people so are ideal for couples or families wanting to take up sailing.

Club commodore Paul Wood said: “EDSC has a great location in Sandbanks with excellent facilities for a small family sailing club.

"The grant from Sport England will enable members to sail without having to own a boat and, hopefully, will attract new members."

The club runs sailing sessions for novices and improvers on Tuesday evenings, a Pirates group for children under-12 at weekends and dinghy racing on Friday nights.

It also has its own swinging moorings for larger boats and organises yacht cruises and racing.