Sail club instructors tested on new skills

PUBLISHED: 10:29 29 February 2008 | UPDATED: 08:52 10 June 2010

SAILING: Exe SC is preparing for what is likely to be one of the club s busiest ever seasons

SAILING: Exe SC is preparing for what is likely to be one of the club's busiest ever seasons.

The club, an RYA (Royal Yachting Association) recognised training centre, runs a wide range of courses for members, last year awarding more than 150 RYA certificates.

The 2008 season started for the club in early January when the winter powerboat training courses got under way. These will run to the end of March when the emphasis will switch to sail training.

The activity over the school half-term holiday focused on the club's training programme.

Sailing is an adventure sport and it is essential it is taught properly. For many years the club has run its instructor training programme around the February half-term.

Aspiring dinghy instructors (DIs) and assistant instructors (AIs) have been hard at work, seeking to convince their assessors and senior instructors that they have the 'right stuff'.

The DI course ran under the watchful eye of Graham Williams, an RYA coach assessor normally based in Falmouth, but an Exmouth man at heart.

The five-day course concluded on Sunday when Trish Walker, an independent RYA coach assessor, came in for the day to moderate the course.

She observed and tested the candidates to ensure they reached the required standard.

It's a tough course. Four of the six passed with two more needing to get a little more instructor experience before being awarded their 'tickets'.

The assistant instructors had a two-day training programme led by senior instructors Paddy Blight and Noel Davis. This group range in age for 14- year-old Lauren Spring to the slightly older, retired dentist and stalwart of the club Guy Farrant.

Lauren is a great example of many of the club's volunteers, young and older. She learned to sail at the club, starting only three years ago, and moved through the structured training programme. She now races regularly to a high standard with another young sailor, Jess Blick. They regularly beat most of the older sailors who taught them how to sail!

Lauren will spend a year or two assisting with the club training programme, teaching children, adults and disabled sailors before herself moving on to the full dinghy instructor course.

Sue Spring, Lauren's mum, was one of the successful graduates of this week's DI course. Brother Ryan qualified as an RYA level two racing coach last week at a course in Oxford. It's a great family sport.

The weekend also saw Rosie Sands, one of the club's most experienced young instructors, returning from The Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy, the Olympic sailing venue for the 2012 games, having qualified as a senior instructor.

Training programmes can be found on the club website www.exe-sailing-club.org. The racing programme starts at the end of March.

The alternate Friday evening junior training programme has already sold out. Any who have missed out might like the summer programme when the club will run the RYA stage 1-4 youth sailing courses in August.

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