Introduction to Youth Sailing
Once you have done your introductory course through Sail Africa and have got your sailing certificate you have a multitude of options open to you depending on how far you want to go.
Novice club sailing happens every Saturday between 9 and 12 under the guidance of Cornell Pretorius. There are several club boats available to use free of charge. You may also charter a boat from Sail Africa. The idea of these sessions is to practice the skills learnt during the Sail Africa course and to develop new skills and confidence on the water. Parents are expected to get involved with their youngsters activities – even if you don’t sail yourself you can go out on the support boats and watch them sail; or just come to the club and enjoy the facilities; sailing is an activity for the whole family.
Afternoon racing happens every Saturday between 2 and 4:30 as is hosted by either PYC or RNYC. The skills taught during the Saturday morning sessions can be put to the test in actual racing conditions once sailors have enough skill. Prizes are handed out at the end of the sailing season. Most of the youngsters participating in the afternoon racing sessions own their own boats but club boats can be used but probably won’t be as competitive. There are also Optimists and Teras for sale – ask the parents who come to the Saturday sessions. Advanced coaching is offered on an ad-hoc basis during the holidays and on some Saturdays when the more senior sailors aren’t away at events.
There are four races in the provincial series held at HMYC (Midmar dam), ZYC (Richards Bay), ISC (Durban bay) and PYC beach site (Offshore). These races are held over a weekend and up to 15 races can be sailed in a weekend. This is a great way to further develop those boat handling skills and to also make new friends, to have fun and to get to know different sailing conditions. This also gives you an idea of your provincial ranking. Most of the youngsters look forward to sailing offshore. Prizes are handed out after each event.
KZN Interschools – This event is held annually and you get to compete against other schools in a sailing environment. Midmar 9 hour – This is also an annual endurance event in which you get to sail as part of a team in which each member completes a lap of the dam until the 9 hours are up.
National class events
Each class has a yearly national event although some classes can and do use the Youth Nationals as their national event. Participation at these National class regattas is not limited to youth though and there will be adult participation. Normally at these events there will be recognition for youth sailors.
In December all the youth classes get together to race against each other at a national event called the Youth Nationals. This event is open to all youth under 19 and there are novice fleets for novice sailors. This event is sailed over a week and up to 15 races are sailed in varying conditions.
These events are the pinnacle of youth sailing and youth are selected at these events to compete as part of South African Sailing (SAS) to represent the country at international level at various world or ISAF youth events.
Each class has a yearly world event where all sailors in a class will converge in a selected location to sail against sailors from other countries. Recently we had the tera, dart and mirror class worlds in South Africa.
It is possible to earn provincial and national colours in sailing and there are various criteria that need to be met in order to achieve this