I first had the opportunity to try sailing when I was about 8 or 9 years old. What stands out for me from those times is just how much fun it was. I then started on stage 1 RYA courses - we spent a lot of time playing games on and off the water, which made learning a lot more interesting.
Over a summer, a few years ago, I participated in a volunteering scheme, which was my entry into studying to become a dinghy instructor. My favourite part of being an instructor is the range of people that you meet taking part in the courses. I find my role at the Centre really rewarding and it’s also given me the opportunity to learn about new cultures and mix with different types of people. I’ve discovered that through meeting and working with others, you’re also working on yourself.
On an average day at the Centre, we arrive bright and early, have a quick morning staff meeting, and prepare everything for the day ahead. We then register everyone, and then we’re off onto the water. We play a few games over lunch and then back out onto the water. Everyone lends a hand in packing up at the end of the day.
The most influential people in my life are my parents. They’ve always been there for me, and they’re always telling me to keep going regardless of what obstacles I’m facing. The on-going motivation for me is the idea that I’m helping people. As an instructor, you have the opportunity to teach participants a new sport and inspire them to find the same love for sailing that you have.
The winter can be the trickiest time when it can get really cold on the water. At that time of year, it isn’t always the most fun activity, but I think we need to persevere through it. I encourage pupils to focus on their initial motivation and their end goal. Sailing in the winter can also be great fun as you get exciting days when it gets incredibly windy, and you can go for a really fun sail.
If someone has an ambition to become a dinghy sailor or an instructor, I would encourage them to hold onto that ambition and persevere.