Vaal Sailing run 3 live-in camps a year geared both for beginners and more advanced kids. The courses are run over 4 days normally at Easter, September school holidays and in December. The R800.00 fee includes meals and supervised accommodation if required.
These sailing skills are re-enforced at regular Saturday afternoon free sessions. These sessions take place on the Saturday afternoons prior to LDYC Sunday club racing – view the calendar here http://www.ldyc.co.za/NKA%20Calendar.htm. Juniors can join these sessions at any time but may feel the need to join a camp at a later stage. SAS Logbooks are issued (R50.00 each) and each achievement is ticked off as the kids progress and appropriate SAS certificates are issued when various targets are reached. The certificates can be either self-adhesive to stick in the logbooks or cardboard for framing. The certificates cost R100.00 from SAS. Juniors start off on small dinghies and graduate to larger dinghies and catamarans as they progress.
Ages range from 8 to 18, sometimes they start a little younger, as they progress we introduce them to Junior racing with the ultimate objective of competing in championship and inter-school events.
Qualified professional coaches are employed to a ratio of 6 kids per coach and safety boats are always on the water when sailing takes place. The club has a fully equipped training room but with kids we often prefer to do the “classroom” stuff under the trees as the kids get enough of the classroom at school.
We very quickly move from the classroom, 30 minute sessions at most, to the foreshore where the kids learn to rig their boats and we do land drills. These drills teach them how to tack and gybe so that they know what to do on the water. Then we go sailing!! The kids are taught how to launch, how to right a capsized boat, how to sail out, round a buoy and sail back. By day three they are sailing competently and racing each other.
We prefer kids to be 8 years old but some 7-year olds cope well.
Buoyancy aids (life jackets) are essential and must be worn by everyone under age 16 on or near the water. We do have some spares. Sun cream and floppy hats are required as the UV factor is magnified on the water and a change of clothing for when they get wet. Takkies may be worn but most kids prefer to sail barefoot.