Over the course of the first half of the Autumn term 26 juniors spent their Saturday afternoons at Southampton Water Activities Centre, on the bank of the River Itchen, learning how to sail. For some this was their first ever time out on the water in a boat and for others it was the opportunity to improve their skills.
At the start of the sessions even getting kitted up in wetsuits, spray tops, helmets and buoyancy aids was a struggle for some. However, this was all part of the learning process and over the next few weeks the beginners were able to get to grips with the names of the various different parts of a boat; with assistance they learnt how to rig a boat; they practised launching and recovering boats; they manoeuvered and secured boats to a trolley safely, and gained knowledge of wind direction and the different points of sail. They also learnt how to steer a boat, both when sailing and when being towed; how to stop and how to control the speed of their boat; and progressed on to sailing a triangular course across the wind. Of course, they all also learned, some accidentally and some purposefully, what to do when they capsize.
The improver’s group concentrated on honing their existing skills and learnt how to rig, reef, launch, recover and store their boats independently and practised basic knot tying skills. They also learned some basic aerodynamics when understanding how a sail works; the correct terminology to use when afloat; some basic 'rules of the road' such as windward boat and overtaking boat as well as gaining a greater understanding of the different points of sail. They worked through the 'Five Essentials' - sail setting, balance, trim, course made good and centreboard; they sailed on all points of sail on a triangular course; tacked upwind; gybed and sailed with a jib. They also practiced righting a capsized boat, coming alongside a moored boat and preparing for, and taking up, a tow from a safety boat.
Well done to Evie Maclean, Sophie Dunlop, Maya Gandee Morgan, Katie Baxter, Eva Mahony, Sophie Nicholson, Emily Hone, Avril Cullerne, Lily Ferguson, Isabel Green, Olivia Busher and Maariyah Mahmood for gaining their RYA Stage 1 certificate.
To Lula Goldring, Charlotte Voyce, Melissa Trant, Serena Trant and Alice Claisse for gaining their RYA Stage 2 certificate.
To Mia Clark, Phoebe Hammond, Annabel Yeatman, Bea Watson and Sianna Barling for gaining their Improver - Working towards RYA Stage 3 certificate.