by David Kerr
During the spring, a group of intrepid students made a weekly trip down to Royal Victoria Yacht Club to learn about how to sail on dinghies and to experience the joys and tribulations of coping with a wide variety of weather conditions. Most of the students were novices, but there were a couple of more experienced sailors, notably Barbados boarder Holly Trew, whose marine skills both on and under the water were incredible.
The dinghies used were 420s, named after some of the Canadian prime ministers (a social studies teacher’s heyday), and provided a fine learning platform to understand about rigging a boat, as well as ease of use in sailing out in Cadboro Bay. Our own Grade 12 student Miklos Tusz was one of the two very able instructors and he helped in his own laconic way to show everyone the basics of how the wind worked on the sails, the function of the equipment on the dinghies, basic racing courses and the starts of races.
By the end of the sessions, with a capsize drill in the middle of the bay in 30 degrees of heat, almost everyone felt very comfortable helming or crewing the boats. The steering of a few students was admirable, particularly when playing the dangerous game of trying to pick up as many coloured tennis balls from the water without hitting other boats.
Other highlights had to include Jenny Yang’s incessant laughter across the water, Cam Metcalfe’s courageous jumping into the water to rescue Jenny, Marilu Vidaurri’s chuckling and speaking in Spanish with Cristina Salas Rivacoba, the ongoing antics of balance and gravity with the Grade 9 boys (Ben Holmes, Martin Ren, Sam Jackson and Will Vance), and the cool calmness and rivalry between the boats crewed by Cam Metcalfe and Brenna Nixon (a dynamic duo!), and the one crewed by Holly Trew and Madison Hadfield – both boats were very competitive and skilfully sailed.
Everyone enjoyed the final couple of weeks as the weather warmed up significantly, and overall, it was a fun activity for April and May. Well done to everyone for participating. Next year, we will be aiming for qualifications, a race team to compete in local regattas, and of course the ubiquitous t-shirt.