JOLLY HARBOUR YOUTH SAILING: KIDS NEWSFriday 24th June 2011
Exciting things have been happening for our Youth Sailors in the past month.
We have three of our more advanced sailors in the Keel Boat Programme at the Antigua Yacht Club. They are training for the youth regatta in the BVIs in July. Only six youngsters will go but we are confident that at least two of our three will be going. It’s an all expenses paid trip and will be quite a feather in their caps.
In Jolly itself we have carried out some much needed maintenance and now have five Lasers fully rigged and in use besides our other dinghies and this week we hope to finish the fittings on our second catamaran enabling that to come into our programme as well.
Last Saturday saw our first young sailor complete his land and water based examination for the award of his NSA Levels 1 & 2 Dinghy Competency Certificate. His achievement will, we hope, trigger a spate of such awards.
We currently have a hard core of about ten youngsters who are on the beach with us every week and another few who drift in and out, not quite sure yet whether this is their thing.
In consultation with my instructors we are drawing up plans for our Summer Sailing Camps. We don’t intend running them every week like they did last year because the take up isn’t enough to cover instructors wages, but we will be doing it for a few weeks before the kids go back to school.
Our biggest project this year is almost certainly going to be the move from the beach to our dedicated dinghy park on the spare land behind the Jolly Harbour Sports Bar. As soon as the ramp is in place for launch and recovery of the dinghies we can start building our racks for the dinghy stowage’s, and if we can persuade a lumber yard to donate timber we will build dedicated lockers for all the other equipment.
We have five Optimist Dinghies waiting at the Antigua Yacht Club to be picked up for teaching all the school kids that will be coming to us as part of the National Sailing Academy Programme. No room for them on the beach. All of this we hope will be in place in time for the start of the new school year. The plan is for approximately one hundred school children in sessions from Monday to Friday, and then our usual training on Saturdays, and hopefully paid for fun sailing on Sundays for tourists and other visitors to Jolly Harbour.
I was thrown into the deep end with this programme when it started three years ago. In the two years I have been absent Pippa and Brian Turton’s dedication to that programme has had spectacular results, leaving me with the headache of how to handle a school that will soon have nearly twenty boats for fun and serious training.
I have to add that it’s a headache I am delighted to be in charge of again. Without doubt it was the most satisfying job I did in my three years as Vice Commodore and I am looking forward to taking it to the next level, only this time I will have the support of a National Organisation, the National Sailing Academy.
With a few helpful suggestions from friends, I now have some major fund raising ideas coming to fruition so I hope to see a dramatic increase in available funds to move this programme along. The first of which is the present raffle fundraiser. We finished that last week with final ticket sales of $3,000.
Anyone who would like to get involved either in time, or offering in kind support or cash, we would love to hear from you.
Director of Youth Sailing.
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