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Good wind for budding sailors

Thursday 13 January 2011 | Published in Regional

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Gusty winds made for thrilling sailing on Muri lagoon as the island’s newest certified sailors took to the water for the last day of the Learn to Sail programme yesterday.

The introductory sailing programme, funded through the NZAID Community Initiative Scheme, attracted 34 keen new sailors for the three-day programme.

And under the guidance of national sailing representative Junior Charlie – the kids were rigged up and itching to put into action their newfound sailing skills.

Rarotonga Sailing Club member and water safety educator, Ron Bird, was also on hand to help the smaller under 8 sailors get a handle on tying knots and most importantly – ducking from the swinging boom, which the kids picked up very quickly.

With safety vests strapped on tight, six of the little ones at a time were taken out for a sail on Muri lagoon with Bird and the grins from some of the children could be seen from the shore.

The older children went through a series of practical exercises with coach Charlie where they demonstrated the skills they’d learnt over the three-day course including showing that they could competently tie a figure 8 knot, a reef knot and a bowline.

The kids then rigged up their Optimist sailing boats before ripping across the lagoon to take advantage of the gusting winds.

In between sailing lessons, fun races and games kept the kids on their toes.

The day’s programme ended with all 34 children receiving their Learn to Sail certificates.

The new sailors will join in with the Muri Eco Warriors on Friday and the Learn to Sail programme will resume again in the second week of February with weekly sailing programmes for the more advanced sailors.

Mini skippers can continue to learn to sail and have fun in the Nemo Squad.

The new sailors would like to thank NZAID for their sponsorship and Sails Restaurant for lunch.

For more details on the junior sailing development programmes at the Rarotonga Sailing Club, contact one of the members or just pop down to the sailing club at Muri beach.