Posted on June 8, 2014 12:00 am
Once a month Teesdale Sailing Club hosts local Scout and Guides at Grassholme This new venture for 2014 is intended to introduce youngsters to the excitement of dinghy sailing, the sun on your back and the wind in the hair and all that. Inevitably then, on Saturday the sun had gone south for the day, the wind was almost non-existent and it rained for longer than Queen Victoria. The only brightness of the day came from seeing so many youngsters enjoying themselves on the water, regardless of the conditions.
The club has just acquired, with a grant from the John Merricks Sailing Trust, five Optimist dinghies, or floating bathtubs as they are affectionately known. They are the largest racing class in the world and absolutely the greatest gift to sailing instructors since throat pastilles. They are bombproof, unsinkable and virtually impossible to capsize but this does not mean they are boring – Ben Ainslie started his career in them, and look at the YouTube link from our web site if you doubt me!
Five ‘Oppies’, six Picos and further six Toppers on hire from the RYA were all in use for the day and both safety boats guzzled unleaded as the volunteer crews raced around giving instruction and attending the occasional capsize.
In complete contrast, Sunday blessed us with glorious sunshine and wind exciting enough to keep the regulars happy. Sunday also saw the running of our second “Sail Experience” day where two father and son combinations were taught the basics of sailing by Paul, one of our RYA dinghy sailing instructors. Paul has an unflappable style that is quite calming and confidence inspiring and he soon had the recruits sailing back and forth across the reservoir.
Meanwhile, Keith and John, with a combined age of well over 150 did manage an unscheduled swim when rounding the downwind mark of the morning race, but no harm was done and their Miracle was quickly righted.
A great team effort by club members, especially Hazel who ran out of tea bags due to the throng of visitors she was serving. Next weekend we are running an RYA training course for beginners and one day soon, I may actually get to sail my dinghy.
Teesdale Sailing Club