This time last year, the Volvo Sailing… Have a Go! programme was battling the elements.
Earthquakes, tsunami warnings and cyclones were common occurrences, wreaking havoc with the schedule and making life hard for the instructors.
There have been no such problems this year, as the sun has bathed the country and light winds have filled sails of the nearly 1000 school students who have taken part so far. It has resulted in wonderful first-time sailing experience for many of the kids.
Volvo Sailing… Have a Go! is Yachting New Zealand’s initiative to get children into sailing. Offered to schools throughout the country in term 4 and 1, it is designed to give primary and intermediate school students the opportunity to try sailing in a safe and well-managed environment.
The programme is not a Learn to Sail course. As northern instructor Justin Hurst says to the kids when they arrive at their local club: “We are here to have fun, and if you accidentally learn something, that’s OK, too.”
Kids are taught the bare minimum in terms of sailing. “Push this, pull that, follow me” and then they take to the water where the real fun happens. It doesn’t take long for kids to figure it out and become sailors.
Sometimes they sail to a destination, sometimes they have races or relays, more often than not the water guns are pulled out and chaos ensues. The instructor team of Justin, Maria and Simon work hard to ensure that, whatever they do, the kids leave with smiles on their faces and a keenness to sail again.
All the gear is provided, including wetsuits and lifejackets thanks to Zhik.
In among all this, the kids learn about the absolute necessity to wear lifejackets, the need for adequate clothing to protect from the cold and sun, making good decisions about when to go out on the water and looking after the environment.
We are now finalising bookings for Volvo Sailing…Have a Go! in term 1, 2018, so get in touch if you are interested in having the programme visit your yacht club or school. It is suitable for students in years 4-8.
There will also be a range of holiday Volvo Sailing… Have a Go! days around the country this summer.