Set sail

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In preparation for those hot summer days, the sailing instructors at Hebe Haven Yacht Club Sail Training Centre have some expert tips for beginners to get out on the water.

Have you ever considered taking up sailing? Many seasoned sailors will tell you that sailing is not just a sport, but a lifestyle. As many sailors learn the skills of commanding their own boat, the experience is fulfilling and earns a real sense of achievement. There are many ways to learn to sail, but the best start would be investing in a beginner’s course and starting small. Small boats like dinghies are ideal as they are more responsive and easier for the beginner to manoeuvre. Keep it simple by having a boat rigged with just one sail. The less complicated it is, the quicker you will be able to pick up the basics. For a beginner, most of the course activity is spent on the water, gaining experience, confidence and most importantly, having fun. Sail training for beginners would typically include the following skills;

• Basic rigging and rope work knots

• Sailing techniques, maneuvers and collision avoidance

• Clothing and equipment

“Many children who have completed sailing courses describe an increase in self-confidence”

• Parts of a boat, sailing and sail control

• Gaining experience with sail trim, steering and handling of your boat

• Capsize recovery

• How to launch and recover your boat

You may remember reading Arthur Ransome’s books “Swallows and Amazons” as a child, day-dreaming over their many adventures which included sailing and exploring; perhaps wishing you too could jump in a boat and set sail withfriends. While letting kids loose on the waters around Sai Kung in their own boat would not be safe for anyone, structured sailing lessons are a wonderful way to get children outdoors, learn lifelong skills and inspire their imagination. Many children who have completed sailing courses describe an increase in self-confidence and independence. Getting out on the water is also a great chance to socialise and make new friends, for children and adults alike.

A guide to beginners’ courses:

Stage One
A foundation course tailored for beginners between seven to 10 years of age. Children will learn the basic skills for: rigging, launching and recovery, rope-work, clothing and equipment, capsize recovery, sailing techniques and maneuvers and meteorology. To achieve this, they will spend time learning theory and sailing on the water – obtaining experience with sail trim, steering and handling of their boat.

Stage Two
Stage two consolidates and expands on Stage One and is aimed at eight to 11 year olds who have a basic knowledge of sailing. At this stage, children will be encouraged to complete tasks with less supervision and more confidence. In addition to Stage One skills, participants will be required to learn more complex rules and the Port/Starboard right of way rule.

Hong Kong Sailing Federation Level One
The aim of this course is to provide a brief experience of dinghy sailing for someone who has never sailed before. By the end of the course, participants will have had a short introduction to the sport of dinghy sailing, including basic boat handling techniques and essential background knowledge.

Hong Kong Sailing Federation Level Two
By the end of the course the successful sailor will be safety conscious, have a basic knowledge of sailing and be capable of sailing a dinghy without an instructor on board in light winds. The majority of conventional beginners’ courses cover both Level One and Two and are normally of not less than 30 hours duration.If you would like to have a taste of life on the ocean, pop along to the Hebe Haven SLAM Sailing Centre Open Day on Sunday March 20. From 10am to 5pm, Hebe Haven Yacht Club instructors will be offering free experiences on stand-up paddle boards, kayaks and dinghy sailing. The Hebe Haven Yacht Club Sail Training Centre offers wide range of courses to introduce new sailors to life on the ocean, suitable for all ages.

For more information visit www.hhyc.org.hk or call 2719 0926.

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