Every spring we begin the Champion Club programme, some years it is with new juniors to Start Racing – others Intermediate or Advanced, even those that are on squads join us and share their knowledge.

It is great fun in mid-March for the Membership and Coaches as many of our juniors have been racing in EABC or BYC during the winter months. So in spring we re-emerge from hibernation and start training and sailing.

I hope I am right in saying the juniors in our club do enjoy the coaching sessions every Saturday morning. We all to enjoy the buns and hot chocolate on our return to shore. Parents look after coaches and juniors alike! Like many dinghy focused clubs, as great as Topper and Lasers are we are keen to ensure our Juniors get a taste of what many of us “older” sailors did in the old days.

Personally, my experience was a Mirror dinghy with no road trailer and no roof rack. So we had to sail to all events, even when we were quite young. However, there were more motor cruisers willing to give you a tow then. Like the super Regatta Club initiated last year, it is great to have a few adventures – not all our sailing is just single handed and serious racing all the time.

To broaden the horizons of the juniors who normally undertake the race coaching – the Easter holidays at CAYC looked to utilise our RS Visions, RS Feva, Laser Pico.

We have the refurbished limestone built Whiteharbour approximately 1 mile from the Club towards Carrickfergus. We picked our day – was it to be Saturday of the Easter weekend or Easter Monday. Both had similar winds forecast – constantly changing!  Big plus though for the Monday - High water at 16:00 and sun was set to shine for the rest of the day. 

Parents were sent by road to organise the BBQ, the juniors rigged and set sail. A leisurely sail to the Harbour, some games on the way and we dropped sails and were towed into the berths. Games onshore and lots to eat, then we saw backflips, great swimming and rowing activities in the harbour. 

In addition one of our youngest sailors – Rory turned out to be the fastest in the club optimist and even more surprisingly a very old Mirror made it there and back for our day sail expedition.

Then it was time to return to the Club. It was now a fresh northerly breeze, helms swapped around the various dinghies and we made for home (3 x RIBs covering the Fleet).

A fabulous time was had by all, with double hander sailing experienced in a mixture of conditions and a view we will do it again! (With kind permission from Terrence Stitt who allowed us access to the Harbour and facilities.)

by Sheela Lewis – CAYC Training and Administrative Officer