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Transformation Sailing

Written by Neil Ashton.

Transformation Sailing

Over the past seven weeks, 18 Grade 4 and Grade 5 students from two schools in the Villiersdorp region participated in the DCAS / SAS Learn to Sail within Schools project with Theewater Sailing Academy at Theewater Sports Club.

transformation sailingLearners from Bissetsdrift Primary and De Villiers Graaff Primary Schools received 18 hours of sail training over six sessions from a team of five SAS certified Instructors, taking them through their Youth Dinghy Sailing Level One certification on the SAS Learn to Sail Program.

Our young sailors enjoyed a mix of theory lessons in the Training room, land based dry drills at the waters edge and on the water sessions on our fleet of Topaz Race X dinghies with two safety boats in attendance at all times.  At the Sailing Academy, our slogan is “sailing is FUN!”, we try to ensure that all learning is done in a safe and enjoyable manner.

We were blest with almost perfect weather on five of the six sail training days, on Friday, the 11th May however, it was not safe to put the young sailors on the water due to high winds and we resorted to our Plan B.

Training was conducted as per the below:

  • 13 April - 14h00 17h00 Parts of the boat & rigging
  • 20 April - 14h00 17h00 Water safety & Wind awareness
  • 21 April - 09h00 13h30 Swimming, Capsize recovery & Tacking
  • 04 May - 14h00 17h00 Turning to & away from the wind & Beating to windward
  • 11 May - 14h00 17h00 NSRI Waterwise workshop, rigging contest & sailing games
  • 18 May - 14h00 17h00, Sailing shallow triangles, land & water drills

development sailingIt was awesome to see the enthusiasm with which the various tasks, both on and off the water were tackled.  All 18 youngsters successfully completed their Youth Learn to Sail Level One certification and they will each be awarded their logbook and certificate at our annual Club Watersports AGM, Prizegiving & Closing cruise, to be held on Saturday, 26th May.

As an Instructor group, we carefully monitored each students progress and aptitude toward sailing and we identified six youngsters that we believe could develop into really good sailors, given the opportunity and ongoing training.

Going forward we wish to raise funds to allow us to continue training those kids who were identified as having a natural aptitude for the sport. We envisage appealing to the following for assistance:

  • DCAS & SAS National & Regional
  • Overberg Sailing Federation
  • Local Business & NGO's
  • Theewater Sports Club Members

We aim to take our “A Team” through the rest of the Learn to Sail program, Levels 2 to 4 and then to put them through our Race Training program, with a view to having them as part of our racing team for next season.

A vote of thanks must go to all those involved in making this project a huge success, DCAS, SAS National Training, Theewater Sports Club Board & Staff and Theewater Sailing Academy Instructors.