One of the pinnacle events of the junior sailing programme, sees our junior sailors take to the water for a week of skills building, along with an awesome amount of fun at the same time!
This year's event was no different and so 40 of the club's Junior Sailors from 7-15 yrs old, supported expertly by a professional team of volunteers, took to the water.
A special mention must go to the entire landing team for their slipway management for launching and recovery of the fleet each day. The record for the whole fleet of 36 boats launched in 25 minutes on Monday.
We started on Saturday and with what is becoming customary for our sessions our week began with 20+ knots of wind. The Racers and Adventurers revelled in being able to blast about their courses, whilst the Buccaneers worked on their progress to windward. The Pirates and Swashbucklers sheltered perfectly by the reedbeds, sharpened up their tacking skills for the days to come.
Sunday saw an even further increase in the wind strength, the theme of that morning's briefing being "don't worry, it's less than 20knts tomorrow!" All of the groups were well initiated by this point and flourished in the challenging conditions.
The Buccaneers and Adventurers worked on their boat control and manoeuvres supported brilliantly by Tara and Paul. The racers had expert video feedback from their coach Hugh and the Pirates and Swashbucklers seemingly unaffected by the conditions and flourished in their Oppies, Teras and even a blast in the RS Quest- expertly helmed by coach Kat!
That afternoon all of the groups came together for their first game! Bin-bag racing downwind with all of the groups mixed up and briefed there was a buzz of competitiveness and enthusiasm in the air as the teams propelled their oppies towards the goal with nothing but a bin bag.
Monday was the rest day of the week - the conditions eased and eventually, the sun even came out! That morning saw a real chance to hone our junior's skills and they certainly did not disappoint. All of the sections were showing off some of their best sailing skills that we'd seen for the whole season. A special shout-out must go to the new Swashbucklers some of whom had only started to sail this season - who by this point were able to close reach, broad reach and gybe intentionally!
Monday afternoon saw THE junior race event of the week - a shallow diamond pursuit race dubbed "Percival's diamond". After a detailed briefing to both sailors and volunteers, the course was laid and all of our sailors launched to the line. Ian and Mel Bray being the pro race officers, sent the sailors off in fleets, another shout out to the two competing Swashbucklers who sailed the course fabulously. The race was close, with one super Buccaneer, deservingly taking victory but holding off the very close competition against 2 racers in a Laser radial and an RS Tera Pro for the entire race.
The fun didn't stop on Monday, as another important race was about to happen, the PARENTS race! more parents that ever took to the river in either their child's oppie or the competitive lightweight club oppies. The start was ferocious, with Dan Worsley way taking an early lead across the line, this, however, was short-lived as the tide was rushing out, and a well-calculated route out of the tide, behind the Hawks saw Matt Wagner come out on top as the 2022 winner of the cannonball trophy.
Tuesday and Wednesday saw much of the same determination and confidence from the junior sailors, as they combatted strong winds, but also shallow waters a point made in that morning's briefing that "if we launched all the boats, that the water level would rise". Another game was played, being an "oppie relay race" with Oppie #2 taking more of a submariner role in the event and requiring its team to swim the boat back to shore!
The final event of the week saw a fish and chip supper, organised perfectly by Adrian Bowden, who had coordinated not only everything edible for the week but also the social events (such as the apres sail disco!) and a prize-giving hosted by our very own Commodore Bridget.
Some overall stats for the week!
22 trophies awarded
40 sailors in 36 boats
More capsizes than is polite to publish!
Windspeeds ranging between 8 knots and 25 knots!
82 orders of fish and chips!
30 volunteers that made the week as fabulous for the club's junior sailors as it could be
Ricky Harris (Junior Class Captain)