Saturday was the last session for peanuts and cadets down at Hamble River SC, despite the overcast weather and prospect of high winds around 40 children showed up for what turned out to be a really good day's sailing.
It's been interesting to observe some changes during the year, there's been an increasing number of children of Joseph's age moving away from the Optimists. Laser Picos are favourite since the club has a good fleet, but also a Topper and even the club RS Fever's. What's become apparent is a split between those children who want to race, predominately staying in Opti's and those who just like to get out on the water and have fun and there was certainly plenty of that on Saturday.
Pretty much all of the RYA training is focused towards racing and presumably trying to develop the next Ben Ainsley, but we seem to be leaving behind a whole group of children. Sailing is a big subject and there's plenty of skills to learn around seamanship, safety, navigation the list goes on and we shouldn't loose sight that that a lot of kids enjoy sailing with their friends.
There's a plan next year to split the groups and introduce more "adventure sailing" for those children who don't especially want to tear around a triangular course. As a tester we sailed the senior fleet up river on Saturday, the Opti's stopped off at "Shipwreck Bay" where a course had been laid out for race training while the Pico's and Topper carried on for an impromptu thrash up to Bursledon pool and the long beat back. Judging by the smiles back in the clubhouse both groups had a good time, so something we need to develop next for season.
I'm sure everyone involved will join me in thanking Richard and Rachel who do a fantastic job of organising peanuts and cadets, and also sharing appreciation to all of the parents who help out.