Beginners sailing day at Banbury Sailing Club, 19 May 2007

posted 6 Oct 2016, 08:24 by Dave Tomlin

A few weeks ago, while watching the scouts struggling to learn to sail on the river with the wind going round in circles I thought “no wonder they take such a long time to pick this up”. This was followed by “why not do a beginners day on one of our Banbury sessions? The wind’s much more consistent on the reservoir, and if we go in May the weather should be OK”.

Two days before the event everything was fine, I had a full compliment of novice sailors wanting to go, I had a full team of Instructors and Safety Boat drivers with the appropriate Water activity permits, and I had a plan to take the two new Comets, and use the Lark and the 420 which we keep over there. Then on Friday Lunchtime, I hit the Windguru website to get the wind forecast – 20 knots, which is 23 miles per hour! Great fun if you know what you are doing, but not what you want for beginners at all.

Plan B? Either cancel the event, or find a replacement for the Lark and the 420, which are racing boats and not really ideal for light scouts in a strong wind. Don’t want to cancel, so what else? Take the Rover, because it’s big, stable, and the mainsail reefs down, and still use the Comets (because they reef as well)!

So we get there with our boats, it’s as windy as forecast, and the lake’s a little busy because the Banbury sailing club Junior section are there, and they are running and RYA course for Adults. Still, off we go, giving all of the Scouts a chance to crew the Comets, learn what the basic boat controls do, and helm the Rover under the close supervision of an Instructor who didn’t want any collisions!

Just before we planned to go in for lunch there was a nasty little rain squall, which provided another lesson in sailing – the sun doesn’t always shine, it’s sometimes cold an wet. Good practice for going to Bala then.

After lunch, the wind had picked up a bit more but we carried on with the plan – teach the first manoeuvre (going about), first in the club land trainer, then go and do it on the water. We went out, everybody practiced going about in the Comets, and nobody capsized. In the Rover the supervision was relaxed a bit (although the instructor was still in the boat) and the Scouts had to work together as a team to helm the boat and control the jib and mainsail.

All too soon, it was time to come off the water and pack up for home.

Our intrepid sailors were Maxwell, Shaun, Iain, Jonathan, Thomas, Emily, Fern, Victoria and Emma.

Thanks also to Sue, Polly, Titch and Rob Thomas for doing the instructing and Safety Boat Driving, and to the Thomas family for stepping in at the last minute to tow the Rover for us.

Oh, by the way, did anybody notice what happened to the Adults RYA course in the afternoon? They wimped out coz it was too windy, while the Sea Scouts went sailing!!