A warm 28 degree morning with a variable 4 - 9 knot SW to SE to ESE breeze made up the sailing conditions this week. Water temperature was very pleasant and must have been around 24 degrees.
This week was one week early for our normal learning to sail programme. However due to special request from a local Port Kembla Grandmother (late last year) Richard Hipsley and myself ran a special session for 2 young brothers on holiday from Whyalla.
We set about rigging up 2 sky riders. Being fairly new to sailing, Richard and myself acted as rounding buoys and ended up adjusting to the variable wind conditions to be between waist and chest deep in the lake. Naturally I took the deeper end.
Whilst out in the water we spotted a submerged fence paling floating just below the surface around 50 to 100m off shore. We brought that back in after the session to prevent risk of any other sailing craft striking and being damaged.
The boys took a little while to get the hang of tacking and occasionally un-intentionally gybing. However with fairly personalised one on one training they were soon sailing confidently between the 2 rounding buoys (us). Each leg improving their skills and confidence. They worked on maintaining contact with the tiller and keep turning the boat to complete turns. Boat balance to hold the boat level in wind gusts, and work the main sheet if the puffs of wind were a little stronger.
When the wind dropped off we worked on some capsize drills for a change and also to cool off. The young boys enjoying this and practiced their righting skills. At the end of the session it was with some reluctance that they headed back to shore.
Both, super keen, helped to pack up and wash down the boats. With some discussion the boys were very keen to continue sailing when they return to Whyalla. Their grandmother advised that the boys were keen to get into sailing when they returned back home. The nearest sailing club is approx. 100km away from the boys home. That is dedication. I think we are spoilt with our lovely sailing facility here at Lake Illawarra for me only 10 minute drive away, with terrific spacious grassed rigging area and plenty of free car parking.
PS: Reminder to the Learn to Sail Juniors. Learn to sail recommences this Saturday 21/01/2017. Looking forward to seeing you all.
Regards Hugh Lewis