This week 8 young sailors came along including a new starter (Archer) who had never sailed before. Initially Archer had only come down to check out the sailing but we soon had him rigging a sky rider and preparing to go out on the water. Whilst rigging the sky riders, one of the MJ sailors “Maddy”came over asking of one of the learn to sail kids could join her as crew. One of the Whyalla boys (Oscar) was keen to give it a go and by all accounts had a great experience under Maddy’s guidance.
Once rigged up we went into the club house and had a briefing. We spoke about wind direction and what things you could do to keep your sailing boat upright. Body position leaning out, working the mainsheet and lastly turning the sky rider up into the wind.
After briefing Justin Brewer, with the assistance of Archer’s dad Brendan Luckman took out the small rubber ducky setting a triangular course for the more confident learn to sail kids. We had plenty of water support to assist the kids in the testing conditions. With 3 of the dads, plus Richard Hipsley and myself. On shore assisted by some of the mums. Once we left shore learn to sail Ashley wasn’t confident in the conditions and even with plenty of one on one support chose to go back to shore fairly early in the session. Alternatively her brother James set off straight away confident in the conditions cruising around the triangular course in his stride. Depending on needs the balance of the learn to sail crew either had a go at sailing back and forth reaching across the shore between the buoys or sailed between 2 adults acting as buoys. Hence receiving some personalised coaching helping the young sailors to master the testing conditions. After familiarisation of boat controls (cause and affect) and a few capsizes I was impressed how well the youngsters adapted, sailing back and forth having a ball. Even the occasional capsize not seeming to worry them. Capsizes also giving the young sailors the opportunity to practice capsize drill and righting their craft. At the end of the session the last kid back in was new starter Archer.
Once back onshore, the kids de-rigged the sky riders and washed down the gear. Flynn and Zac had a good time washing down each other.
At debriefing we asked the kids who had capsized? All had except James and Ashley. We spoke about why this was so. IE That it was important to understand the wind conditions/ strength before going out onto the water and that if you weren’t confident or the wind was too strong it was better not to go out and come back another day when the wind was a better strength. James on the other hand used exactly the same skills as all the other kids when sailing around the course. He balanced the boat using his body weight and adjusting the main sheet (sail rope). The main difference being that James is an experienced learn to sail kid and was able to put these skills into practice to sail confidently around the course. Hence I told the kids that with more practice and experience they too would be sailing around the course in a good breeze.
When asked all said they had a great time and were keen to do it all again next week.
After learn to sail I met a new family with 2 children interested in coming down and joining learn to sail and I have also been advised that next week another new family was interested in coming down. Sounds like we will get a boost of learn to sail numbers for this half of the season.
Looking forward to seeing you all next week.
Regards Hugh Lewis
Learn to Sail Coach