As well as offering RYA training courses Marconi Sailing Club also offers a range of informal and slightly more formal sail training. Always fun, never dull and provided entirely on a voluntary basis by members for other members.
MSC Sail Training
Over the course of the season on selected Saturdays (roughly monthly) we offer a day of sail training. This started as a means by which to teach our younger sailors, cadets, how to sail but since then it has grown to include an active adults group. Some days are more appealing for sailing than others (yes, sailing is always weather dependent), but across 2022 we had over 140 members actively involved in either learning or helping others to do so across the season. The targets of these informal sessions are to learn and hone sailing skills, to gain confidence and to have fun amongst friends.
Our Sail Training is led and organised by John and Caroline Nickalls. John, and several of the other leaders, is a qualified RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Senior Instructor; they are ably assisted by a huge group of volunteers many of whom are also RYA qualified… but much more importantly they are experienced sailors with plenty of knowledge they are keen to share. You really can learn to sail this informal way, without the need to spend extra money to gain certificates and learn loads of theory. However if you wish to take a RYA Level 1 or 2 course, separately from your sail training activities, MSC can offer you that opportunity as well (at very competitive prices!) as the club is also an RYA training centre.
Training opportunities start for the tiniest of school age children in the ‘Little Floaters’ group. The ‘Beginners and Improvers’ group focuses on simple dinghies like the Club’s Picos and tends to be the biggest group, developing foundation sailing skills. For those moving on from that group, or with previous experience in dinghies, the ‘Racing’ group focuses on getting the best out of your boat and honing performance boat control (in singlehanded boats like Toppers and Lasers), while the ‘Seamanship’ group takes a slightly more relaxed view of the world, exploring the local river and developing key skills in larger dinghies with two or more on board.
The range of sailing aspects and skills we seek to address in the different Sail Training groups is outlined here, however these are always flexible and the focus is on having a good time and building confidence on and around the water. We don’t follow a hard syllabus, rather we pick topics that fit with the conditions and the sailors on the day.
We use club dinghies, but these are sometimes not enough. So we encourage anyone who can to use their own boat, freeing-up a club boat for others and minimising sharing.
We have on occasions had grandparents in one group with their grandchildren in the youngest group. So we really do try to give everyone the opportunity to learn to sail.
How to get involved in Sail Training
Sail Training days are provided for Marconi SC members free of charge, it has developed into a thriving community and it’s all part of the fun of belonging to the club. It’s definitely a self-help team effort!
If you’d like to give it a try, whether as a learner or a helper (and helpers are ALWAYS welcome!) we ask you register for the current season (address below) and we will then email you ahead of each of the sessions with a link to sign-up for that session.
The registration form includes an acknowledgement that sailing is not without risks and asks for confirmation that those taking part recognise that and take responsibility for their own, or their child’s, participation. This is a key aspect of the Sail Training community: we take safety seriously but emphasise the need for individuals to learn about the risks of a sport like sailing and to consider how to manage them as they develop their sailing career.
Each day starts at 10:00am with briefings for each group. If you are joining for the first time, be advised it can be very busy (especially in warm sunny weather*) and an early arrival will serve you well; those involved with organising the day will be at the club from soon after 09:00. Come along and learn to sail in a relaxed and fun environment, without pressure and with lots of like-minded people. We generally get on the water for separate morning and afternoon sails (the galley is open for lunch, hot drinks, snacks etc.) and we aim to finish around 16:00.
* MSC sail training days are, you will learn, almost always warm and sunny…
If you would like to be part of Sail Training, thanks very much! We would be very pleased to hear from you, contact John direct at email@example.com or you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can put you in touch.
Dates planned for sail training can be found in the club Yearbook.