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Two School Groups Learn to Sail

Written by Neil Ashton.

Two School Groups Learn to Sail

Over the past six weeks the Sailing Academy has provided sail training to two school groups and their teachers, totalling almost 100 people.  The Academy facilitated the Melkbos Private School grade 11's camp at the end of January and provided a learn to sail component to the Somerset House Primary grade 6 annual camp in early March.

Melkbos Private School

42 Grade 11 learners from Melkbos Private School spent three days at Theewater Sports Club enjoying a variety of activities in idylic surroundings. Accommodation was provided in the Youth Club House and two army tents while the Club Cafeteria ensured that our hungry 17 year olds were well nourished with food and refreshments - the tuck shop was open after meals and did a roaring trade in ice-ceams and lollipops!

The grade 11's were divided into four groups, enabling them to rotate through the various activities:

  • Sailing
  • Kloofing
  • Orienteering
  • Archery
  • Photography

Each group spent a morning and an afternoon session learning to sail on our fleet of Topper Topaz Race X dinghies.  The first session included a safety brief, a theory session on wind awareness, tacking dry drills and a push a tack 'remote control' session.  During the 'remote control' session, each novice sailor got to helm the dinghy, controlled by an Instructor ashore, while the safety boat patrolled the outside (water side of the training area).  The second session included a theory session on 'flying the wind', before our sailors started sailing a shallow triangle, with two safety boats in attendance.

On the first evening, yours truly, gave a lesson on cell phone photography. Over the next two days, the learners all took numerous photographs, the best 3 in each group was submitted and a winner was crowned - a difficult choice as all twelve of the photographs were of a high standard.  Two groups joined Kuba on the second and third mornings, kloofing in the river gorge that runs alongside the Franschoek Pass, into the Theewaterskloof Dam. This was well received and the teenagers had a ball in the river.  The orienteering and archery were organised by the school teachers that accompanied the group, they too indicated that their sessions had gone off well.

It was an absolute pleasure training such a pleasant and attentive group of 17 year olds!  We hope to see Melkbos Private School back at Theewaters soon.

Somerset House Primary

school camp sailing dinghy

During the second week of March, 45 grade 6 learners from Somerset House Primary attended their annual camp at Theewaters.  As they do their own facilitation, cooking and sleep in their own tents, all the Academy had to do was to get the kids on the water and teach them to sail.

Our newbie sailors were divided into three groups of 15 learners, with each group receiving four hours of learn to sail tuition.  After a safety brief and wind awareness theory session, the groups were again split, with half of them joining Kuba on his Stadt 23, while the balance did tacking, dry drills and a push a tack 'remote control' session, where each sailor had a turn helming the boat, before progressing to a figure of eight course under supervision of the safety boat.  After an hour and a half, the two groups switched, ensuring that all our young sailors experienced both dinghy and keel boat sailing.

This was the third year in succession that the Academy has provided a sailing component to the annual grade 6 camp, however it was the first year that we were able to teach the youngsters to sail.  As usual, the Somerset House learners were polite and well behaved and we hope to see next years grade 6's back at Theewaters.

Your school's participation

If your school would like to participate in our school sailing program, please complete and submit the form below.

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