It’s now very much the end of the season for most dinghy sailing on the River Orwell, though there are still a few racing series taking place for those able to manage the cold, and it is very important to be well prepared for this.
At Neptune, all of their craft are now ashore and have been scrubbed and washed to prepare them for the winter. Preparations for next season are well underway and the trustees will be reviewing the facts and figures from this season in order to plan activities for our next series of youth groups and open courses. They can reflect on a successful year, even though their numbers, at just less than 2,000 sessions, have been slightly down on the previous year.
Their three evening youth groups had good attendances at all levels and were able to make good progress, showing competence and confidence in a range of craft. The average group consisted of 12 members, enabling them to focus on each individual’s needs, and helping with their progress to higher RYA levels. Sailing right through the season ensured that the full range of conditions were encountered, which is important for development of skills and understanding.
Only one evening was missed due to very high winds, and this was replaced with a final Saturday session, which was well attended and offered the chance of a longer sail than usual. They will hope to repeat this final weekend session for all three groups next year, combining it with their awards event.
Summer junior courses were more popular this year, with all sessions running, and they will try to offer even more courses this year. Their regular team of younger instructors were very much appreciated, receiving much praise from parents and youngsters, and they will aim to use the same team again this year.
It seems very likely that they may be able to run two dinghy instructor courses this year, helping their youth group members to qualify and providing a pool of talent for the centre to use. If you are interested in one of these courses, do get in touch soon as the summer course is almost full already – you can register an interest via the website.
Adult courses have seen an upsurge this year and they have had a large increase in demand for both adult sailing and powerboat courses. They have been keen to stress the fun aspect on both courses, even though the background theory content on both is significant, requiring a good understanding of topics such as weather, tides, sail setting and other key aspects specified in the syllabuses.
It has been invaluable to course members to work with a larger group, enabling the sharing of ideas and experiences. They have been asked many times to arrange higher level courses and will aim to offer a Level 3 sailing and two or three safety boats courses this year. These courses build on what is taught previously, adding important new skills, such as helping to right an inverted dinghy, and laying a racing course.
This season, they are aiming to involve all of their local primary schools in at least one group sailing session. Some very nervous youngsters were much more positive about sailing after their session. Last year, they hosted groups from Stutton, Tattingstone and East Bergholt Primary Schools, as well as their regular Holbrook Academy and Ipswich High School groups.
They have been very well supported and encouraged by Babergh District Council this year. They look forward to working with them again in future.
For more information, visit: www.neptunesailing.org.uk