Sailing club to celebrate refurbishment and welcome new members with open day

Mark Hobbs painted this mural at Arlesey Blue Lagoon Clubhouse

Mark Hobbs painted this mural at Arlesey Blue Lagoon Clubhouse - Credit: Mark Hobbs

There's nothing like picking up a paint brush or skimming across the water in a sailing boat to banish those pandemic blues.

Ask Mark Hobbs, treasurer of North Herts East Beds Sailing Club, who has just completed a mural at their Arlesey Blue Lagoon Clubhouse to celebrate their refurbishment.

Mark Hobbs painted a mural on the side of Arlesey Blue Lagoon Clubhouse

Mark Hobbs painted a mural on the side of Arlesey Blue Lagoon Clubhouse - Credit: Mark Hobbs

The 54-year-old father-of-three credits painting with keeping him sane during lockdown - and said that heading across the lake with your hand on the tiller and the wind in your hair is pretty close to paradise for almost anyone.

He said: "You can lose yourself for a couple of hours and it's a great stress buster."

Now the club is holding an open day this coming Saturday (May 22), as part of a recruitment drive for new members.

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Mark, who lives in Pirton, claims the Blue Lagoon is Hertfordshire's best-kept secret and, contrary to popular opinion, he says that sailing is not expensive.

"You don't have to buy a boat and the fees are very affordable - £100 a year with no hidden extras.

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"We're hoping prospective members will come for a taster session. It's very engaging - and once they're familiar with sailing, they may want to try their hand at racing which gives a different emphasis."

The club won a lottery grant a couple of years ago and bought three new Argo boats, and it also has a selection of older craft. And although there's no bar, it boasts a lively social scene.

Mark - who is also commercial director of Welwyn Tool Group - has spent the past couple of weeks working on the mural on the front of the clubhouse.

"Not many people were aware I could paint," he said. "I've pulled in a couple of tricks from other artists so there's something familiar about it.

"You might recognise the Japanese wave and I'm a Banksy fan so I've 'borrowed' some of his sandcastles."

Mark started sailing while still at school and signed up initially to avoid cross-country running. 

He then did a Royal Yachting Association competitive crew course and spent six months practising in the Canaries. "It was great fun," he said. "But then I took up racing, and I'm still trying to get to the front."

His wife Luisa and their their three daughters usually while away the summer holidays in Greece or Croatia on a chartered boat.

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