Weather doesn't dampen young sailors spirits
Young sailors take to the water at the Plymouth OnBoard Festival
28 hardy youngsters aged between 9 and 17 braved high winds and overcast conditions to race dinghies in the Cattewater during the Plymouth OnBoard Festival 2012 at the Mount Batten Centre last weekend (23/24 June).
The event, run by Plymouth Youth Sailing, involved children who had learned to sail through the RYA OnBoard scheme, which introduces the sport to youngsters of all backgrounds and abilities through their schools and local sailing clubs. As well as a triangle course to race, the youngsters had help in starting, coaching debriefs between races and a barbecue on Saturday evening.
Organiser and RYA OnBoard Development Officer Stuart Jones said: “The weather was a challenge. We thought we would have to cancel the whole event on Friday, but the volunteers did a great job of setting up the racing so the young people could have two great days of activities.
From this, several have now signed up to go racing, representing Plymouth at the NSSA national regatta in July in Weymouth.”
The overall winner of the racing was Nathan Plumb (13) from Cargreen Yacht Club. Nathan, who attends Callington Community College, has been sailing for three years, and said: “I have been practising for a while now - glad it has paid off!”
Louis Bernard and Tom Dixon, the youngest competitors at just 9 years old, learned to sail this year with OnBoard through their school, Hooe Primary, and Plymouth Youth Sailing, and this was their first-ever race.
Louis’s mother, Penny, commented: “Louis was up all night worried that he might not be able to take part because of the weather, and worried he would not know where to go. He said all the volunteers were great helping him around the course - can he do it again please?”
Reece Larson (10) won the endeavour award for the most improved sailor of the weekend, sailing a RS Tera, and coming third in his second time racing. He said: “I really like sailing the Tera, and I got of encouragement from the safety boat teams. I’m really looking forward to sailing in Weymouth now.”
The children came from Plymouth Youth Sailing, Saltash Sailing Club, Tamar River Sailing Club, Horizons Trust, Cargreen Yacht Club, Devon Schools Sailing Association and Torpoint Mosquito Sailing Club.
Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres.
Over a ten year period OnBoard aims to introduce a minimum of 500,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting over 10% of them into regular participants. So far it’s nicely on track.
For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit the RYA’s website www.rya.org.uk or the OnBoard website www.ruob.co.uk