Youth Fleet Launch
On Saturday 29th April Henley Sailing Club proudly celebrated the launch of it’s Youth Fleet and the day shall stand in the memories of many for encapsulating all the ideals this historic club has to offer for the future.
Twelve youngsters, ranging in age from 3 to 14 years old, took to the water in a variety of vessels with the intention of learning new skills, staying safe around water and having fun. The youngsters achieved all three aims and so much more!
The session started with fitting PFDs and assessing the river / wind conditions. An impromptu game of Pooh sticks provided a vital, visual clue to the direction and speed of the river. Then we progressed to rigging and launching our dinghies….
Ben and Dad heroically stepped aboard the Pico first to test it out and ensure everything was rigged with great precision. They boldly set out across the water, the south-westerly wind filling their sails. Others soon followed; Joe and Finn taking a Topper apiece.
Pip’s kayaking skills were in great demand by Digby and Donnie and they set off up the river, exhibiting synchronised paddling – for the most part anyway! Landing and launching were also perfected as they headed towards the opposite bank.
Brooke later went out with Dad in a canoe, gaining confidence all the time. She started by sitting in the bottom of the canoe and gradually progressed to sitting on a seat and then starting to paddle! Georgina, already a bit of a kayaking pro, confidently paddled up and down the river. Brother, Monty, took a little more time to pluck up the courage but with some enthusiastic practise paddling on land he later took to the water!
Peta took some of the eager Kingfishers on a trip in a motor boat – well done to Georgina, Monty, Donnie and Digby (and Mum) for being such willing volunteers. With an empty boat, Peta kindly laid out a course for the Albatrosses to sail around. C (S), A (P), B (S) may seem a simple course but the wind conditions made it trickier than expected….
…A Topper Gear challenge soon ensued and all participating youngsters were rather competitive – as was Tristan (who would not qualify for any type of Junior race) who coached, crewed and then helmed with Rose! It became apparent that the luck of the wind was just as important as skill, tactical sailing and experience! Congratulations to James who, on his first afternoon of solo sailing (thank you to Tristan and Roux who had sailed with him earlier) came top of the fleet with the fastest lap. Finn sailed himself into 2nd place, just one second behind. Joe and Pip proved to be very keen competitors but the wind failed on several occasions. Next time boys. Next time… A big well done to Rose too who completed the course in a Pico with willing crew Tristan. Even Digby went for a sail with Roux, first crewing and then helming.
A big thanks must go to Digby, Georgina, Monty and Brooke for pressing the hooter so enthusiastically to mark the start and end of the laps. Great work. We will have you trained up to help parents as OODs in no time!
Around 3pm, the youngsters enjoyed ‘afternoon tea’ – a big thanks to David Skinner and Chris Free for preparing this for everyone (and for keeping all the adult helpers ‘toppered’ up with tea and coffee)! Such was their enthusiasm, some of the Albatrosses went out again to practise their capsize drill (Joe, Pip and Finn)! Ben and Dad postponed their tea to do some more sailing practise in all available boats. Roux, James and Rose decided to hone their skills further by taking out the Mirror. Three boats in one afternoon. Well done.
So, in summary, it was a big success. The children started to develop their own interests and have made some useful suggestions for further sessions. Parents were all on hand and engaged – thank you. Peta, and then Tristan, were stars in the safety boat. But most of all, the accolade has to go to the youngsters themselves – they looked out for and helped each other, they listened and tried new things. Everyone excelled.
The Glorious Twelfth
Last Wednesday (12th April) saw the first Wednesday evening sail of the season. Despite short notice, eight keen helms and appropriate crew arrived to do battle in the unusually gusty conditions.
Looking at the fleet on the water, it became apparent that each helm / crew had another member of their own family racing against them! With no love lost out on the water, all were keen to get off to a good start.
The battles were set up as follows:
Steve / Alex vs Chris (crewed by Emma)
Emma vs dad Alan
Tristan vs dad Tim (crewed by Peta)
Graeme vs Roux vs Amelia …
There were tussles galore, and a few close calls – as well as a couple of loud shouts for ‘STARBOARD!’
Sailing Secretary, Amelia, started her campaign by grounding on the opposite bank and then almost capsizing before the second buoy. Roux handled the conditions in a calmer manner and beat his Mum over the line. He was also not that far behind dad, Graeme.
Tim, Peta and Tristan continually pushed each other (thankfully metaphorically rather than literally) with Tim edging over the line in 4th and Tristan in 5th, or was it the other way round.
Alan was right on the tails of the two N12s but couldn’t improve on 3rd for the hooter. It looked as if Steve / Alex were going to buck the current trend and take 1st place but, with some tactical sailing, Chris and Emma took the lead. Despite the sailing equivalent of ‘driving up my bumper’ Steve couldn’t find a way past and had to settle for second… again…!
Of course, the Campbell Challenge Cup is scored on personal handicap so we must wait for the whirring of Sailwave to crunch the numbers for us and give a true result!
While they were waiting, the shore-based Kerr boys took some photos…
“Excuse me. Do you realise you’re getting a bit close?”
“Hi Dad. Hi Son. Age before beauty…?”
Two dads in single-handers
You’ve just got to keep calm and carry on sailing!
Yep. That one’s last!
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Notice of AGM
The Club’s AGM is being held at Henley Golf Club on Saturday 4 February at 6.45pm. It’s a chance to celebrate trophy winners, hear about the latest developments at the Club and catch up with friends after the winter break. If you would like to join us for dinner please email Jeff Manning.
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