- May 31st, 2009
- in Yachting
8:30am – Wake up, late, eat a bowl of cereal and hop on my bike.
8:55am – Change into wet sailing clothes, cry because it’s windy out.
9:30am – Get briefing from sailing instructor. (Fit in as many fart jokes as possible.)
10:00am – Cry some more this time with actual tears, feel sick all the sudden.
12:00pm – LUNCH! Stretch one-hour break into one and a half, get yelled at by instructor, cry some more.
2:00pm – Go sailing, short lived though, get thumb stuck between two boats, this time the tears are from the pain.
3:55pm – Pack up, not really, mostly spray the hose at the other kids.
4:00pm – Ride bike home, fall in driveway trying to dismount wearing 20lbs of wet sailing gear, cry one last time before dinner.
Repeat the above Monday through Friday for the months of July and August.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, then at one point in your life, you attended summer sailing camps. In fact, while instructing this summer, I have come up with three simple things needed for every sailing school to run as proficient as the next.
One: Facilities. This includes wind, water, sailboats and some sort of teaching boat. These can vary in size, shape, colour, strength and, of course, cost, but what really matters is that they are all present. In some situations you need to get creative as far as the facilities go. In one case in the UK, summer camp sailors used a small fresh water reservoir that prohibited the use of outboard engines. The instructors taught from kayaks, and everything worked out fine.
Two: Instructors. Young and tan. Some sort of sailing marking, like an anchor tattoo or a hank piercing is a plus. Instructors must be able to keep a smile on their faces at all times, even in the event of a very painful situation. Being very social is also a strength, and if instructors get no more than three to four hours of sleep each night of summer camps, good stories in the morning are guaranteed. Of course, we cannot forget safety, so make sure they are qualified in CPR and hold a valid certificate in instruction.
Three: Sailors. Yes, just like the movie Field of Dreams, if you build a sailing programme, kids will come. Sometimes this is the hardest to predict. But whether its five or fifty kids, make sure all have fun. Summer sailing camp is not school, it’s not detention or harsh punishment resembling a jail of some kind—it’s SAILING CAMP. Day trips to various surrounding islands, beach games, sailboat races and paddle boat races are all ways to keep the little sailors happy, and you never know, they may learn a few things along the way.
Over the summer months of July and August, sailors four and up can take part in the Summer Sailing Camps at the Royal BVI Yacht Club. These are the British Virgin Islands National Sailing Centres programmes and offer lessons for swimming and sailing, beginner right through to the BVI Youth Sailing team, which trains over the summer months to stay sharp for international competitions. The courses run Monday − Friday, 9am − 3:30pm and finish with “Friday Fun Day” which includes a day sail on IC24 keelboats to a surrounding island beach such as Dead Man Bay on Peter Island. For more information check out www.rbviyc.com or email [email protected] and phone 1-284-494-3286.