Notts County Sailing Club Festival of Sailing (FestiSail) took place on Bank Holiday Monday 6th May
What else would you do on a Bank Holiday Monday but look for an excuse to go sailing and involve the junior sailors. That’s exactly the plan that Kathryn Hinsliff-Smith and Ross Ryan hatched last November. A one day sailing festival aiming to provide an opportunity for the many club juniors to try out different boats and make new friends.
With support from the club executive, FestiSail was born. With the support of many club members an outline plan was formed.
As an RYA Onboard centre and linking to the RYA pathway boats we welcomed two visiting 420 boats along with two squad sailors Daisy Desorgher and Ellie Clark and we had a demo 29er provided by Ovington Boats along with GBR squad member Jess Nelson. In addition Topper International supported the event with the expert Russ Dent providing invaluable technical support and maintenance tips throughout the day.
At the morning briefing we had over 30 eager juniors, some only joining the club the week before. With perfect light wind conditions, a blue sky and sunshine the sailors were soon queuing up to have a good in a range of boats including the 29er, the 420, RS600, RS400, RSFeva, Scorpion,Stratos and Fireball, all with helms to assist their learning the sailors of all ages who were able to try trapezing, hiking boats as well as the many single handers, Oppies, Topper, Topper Topaz, Laser. Over 30 sailors had a go in at least three boats. Later in the day there was even a chance to try windsurfing.
After lunch the juniors had a choice of either continuing to try out boats or take part in the ‘Wacky Races’. Race officer Ross Ryan assisted by long standing member Jo Riddell, who’s daughter makes her a 3rd generation member at the club, set a simple square course to which over 20 juniors, many trying new boats to them or pairing with new friends had a great time chasing each other around the course.
Kathryn said that it was a delight to see so many junior club members (she counted 40 at one point) of all abilities having a go, trying different boats and getting to know other sailors. It was also a great opportunity for newer members of the club to get to know more about what sailing and the club can offer them.
Notts County is well known for its junior section with a junior race squad, a thriving Saturday Club and juniors in GBR topper squads and T15 squads. This event was such a roaring success encouraging more club sailors to think about sailing and all that it can offer. Who knows we might have an Olympian sailor in our midst.
A final thank you to all the volunteers both club members and visitors who gave their time so freely. Also the RYA Onboard team who supported the event with resources.
Kathryn Hinsliff-Smith (report and photos)