The easing of lockdown restrictions and the arrival of grandchildren from Scotland and the Midlands provided the incentive for the the Gray family to contact Inti our Club Training Manager to see if we could go Oppie sailing under his instruction as a family bubble. Inti was only too pleased to take on the challenge of the Gray grandchildren and give them an introduction to dinghy sailing.
We were fortunate in having two days in mid-August when the sun shone all day, the tides were right and the winds light. Inti immediately summed up the children (five grandsons between the ages of 4 and 9) and identified the need to keep shore based tuition to a minimum, and so within a few minutes, with the help of mums and dads and an uncle there were four Optimists in the water. Inti initially used a ‘leading rein’ to get the youngest away but before too long we were able to get the older ones sailing alone just off the Club, the little ones being crewed by a dad or granddad. The attention span of youngsters is not too long, so after lunch sailing was supplemented by a quick trip around the river in the rib – loved by all. On return lifejackets were put to the test- all youngsters stood on the side of the rib and jumped in with a short swim to the hard. This demonstrated the effectiveness of their buoyancy aids and once ashore they were all were soon back in the water, including dads and grandpop enjoying the security of their life jackets. Day two followed a similar pattern and we even succeeded in getting their mum’s into the Oppies much to the amusement of the young.
Inti made the two days great fun with an easy rapport with the children, it would be great if in the summer holidays more parents and grandparents could make use of his skills and so bringing the Club back to life. We already have plans for next year to include three more grandchildren! Thank you, Inti.
by Martin Gray