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Junior sailing new - Saturday 11th April

posted Apr 19, 2015, 6:53 PM by Admin hycnz
Junior Sailing, held for the first time on a Saturday 11th April afternoon, proved to be a move in the right direction. The sun shone, and the wind blew offshore and into Hellier's Creek, enabling an easy launch down the slipway, with plenty of water to start with. The numbers were down slightly, but this was only to be expected, with the middle of the school holidays and many families with other adventures planned. We had our own adventure, with three Optimists taking to the water for the first time under Hobsonville Yacht Club ownership. The Club now has five second hand Optimists, which Gary, Jaime and Gill have sourced and tenderly brought up to a scratch for our Juniors to learn to sail. Jaime also brought his own Sunburst to take the younger, less experienced sailors for a spin.

Simon kindly manned the Safety boat, which at times looked more like a crèche with his and Jaime's four year old enjoying the sailing experience from the stable platform of the "tinny". At the briefing Gill outlined the sailing area, between the two laid buoys at the entrance to Hellier's Creek, set at right angles to the wind, to make an easy sail, reaching to and fro tacking to round the buoys. Well that was the plan! Gill stuck to the plan but it was very lonely, and Connor was kept on his toes bailing out water which leaked through the bung at the back. We tacked to and fro, then got stuck in irons a few times as I discovered that weight at the back of the Opti, makes it difficult to maintain speed out of the tack. Then we did lots of gybing instead and found the Opti really prefers to go downhill! This explained why Amanda and Pia in the two other Optis had disappeared so happily down into Hellier's Creek after Jaime in the Sunburst, and then spent the next 45 minutes struggling upwind.

By this time Connor was wanting to be with his mates on the tinny, so I was left on my own sailing an Opti properly for the first time. And what fun it was, with the weight forward and playing the wind shifts and the gusts. However tacking and gybing required me to go on my knees to dodge the boom, and I was very glad to come ashore and stand up straight. My legs wobbled for ages, and my knees are still sore and bruised two days later.

Harry Hider, who had gone in the Opti with Amanda, was so stoked with the sailing, and said it was the best sail he had ever had. All the dinghies came safely ashore, despite the tide ebbing pretty fast, leaving a deadly, and very slippery slipway. Most of the Juniors are really helpful bringing the dinghies ashore, washing them down with fresh water and wheeling them back to the shed. As the storage gets more organized we will expect them to be totally responsible for all the rigging and de-rigging. Also have a launching trolley for each Opti made the process so much simpler.

I will be looking for volunteers amongst the parents to set up and run a Social Committee for the Junior Sailing Programme, with the important task of feeding and providing hot drinks/soup for all the sailors and helpers when they come off the water. It is vital that there is a time for meeting and de-briefing after the sailing when everyone is involved, and what better place than over something to eat and drink. As the weather gets colder, this will become more important. The after sailing social time is also a wonderful opportunity for the children to get to know each other. The dates and times for the Winter Programme will be published next week. Start times will vary slightly, to fit in with sailing close to High Water (HW), making the slipway less of a hazard, as the top portion is less slippery!

The next Saturday will be 9th May starting at 1200hours.