THERE’S been lots of excitement on the Hastings foreshore these past few Sunday mornings …
It’s being caused by participants in the yacht club’s sailing program for participants aged 8-14 years.
This season, 14 young enthusiasts are learning the ropes in the club’s six Sparrow dinghies.
The sailing school, now in its fourth season, runs over six weekends. It teaches sailors everything they need to compete: from what various parts of the boat are called, tacking and gybing, knot tying, weather and tides, navigational marks and everyone’s favourite – capsizing.
Afterwards the participants enjoy something to eat and a debrief back at the club.
Qualified sailing instructor Chelsea Edwards delivers the program with help from several other volunteers, ensuring it runs smoothly.
“Most of the participants are Hastings residents who join the sailing school with little or no experience, completing the program and always coming back for more,” Ms Edwards said.
“The skills learned allow participants to join in our dinghy racing and crew on other boats.”
Hastings Yacht Club has gained several new members through the sailing school program with close to 60 juniors coming through since it was established in 2015. This has helped increase junior membership and participation.
“While sailing is a great way for the kids to socialise, it also requires them to be an active part of a team, working together within the boat, trusting each other’s skill and knowledge,” Ms Edwards said.
“They learn how the various aspects of wind and water affect the way the dinghies perform and how this impacts on their ability to sail around a course.
“Sailing has many challenges, with tides, weather and wind being unpredictable, however, also it offers a sense of accomplishment which helps build self-confidence and is ideal for team building. It’s a life-long sport which can be enjoyed regardless of age, physical ability or skill level.”
Club secretary Martin Jones said learning how to sail was easy, especially when all the equipment and instructors were on hand.
For details on future junior sailing programs call 5979 1891 or visit the club at 1 Marine Parade, Hastings 3915.