WE DON’T, any of us, really want to load our boats with expensive hardware as if the mere possession of them automatically conferred some magical properties on the Dinghy. The one essential piece of go-fast equipment can be obtained with a little expense, a little study, and a great deal of practice that is “The Nut on the Tiller.”
Unfortunately, most worthwhile activities involve shelling out some of the hard earned stuff, but I have found three books extremely useful. “Paul Elvstrorn Explains the Yacht Racing Rules” published by Creagh-Osborne and Partners. “Expert Dinghy & Keelboat Racing” by Paul Elvstrom, published by Creagh-Osbome, and “Sailing From Start to Finish” by Yves Louis Pinaud, published by Adlard Coles Limited.
Books are all very well, but what else can we do? Find out if there is an R.Y.A. Coach in your area and what courses or lectures he is arranging — that is what he is there for. Badger your Club to use his services, also put pressure on your L.E.A. (Local Education Authority). Some counties have provided excellent facilities for their schools and Youth Organisations and do provide open courses for the general public. If your’s doesn’t, why not?
Find out who are the otlicials in your County Hall, and quote that good old Latin tag ‘Digitum Extractum’ and whilst doing that, find out if your children are being taught sailing under the auspices of the National Schools Sailing Association. If they are not — raise merry hell!
Send to the Sports Council for the brochure of the National Sailing School at Cowes, their courses cover the requirements of dinghy sailors of all shades, and are worth every penny of the course fee of about £23 for a week’s course. After all that, the practice is in your hands!
Finally, I and other R.Y.A. Instructors do not expect anyone to “order themselves lowly and reverently before us.” I trained for and took the various Dayboat Certificates and Instructor ratings because I wished to carry on teaching sailing as an out-of- school activity (UN-PAID) and my L.E.A., quite correctly, said that if I wished to take other people’s children on the water, then I must hold a nationally recognisable qualification. As a teacher and a parent, I think that there is every justification for this insistance.
There is a very great need for more instructors so that Clubs can run training schemes: I have pulled too many people out of the briny who were in that particular predicament because of ignorance to be at all complacent. When at sea with a school group, we ALWAYS use a well found safety-boat, and on one occasion, when towing a completely waterlogged boat and having picked out the occupants (Mum, Dad and eight year old in a very exhausted condition) Mum was heard to say—”Oh’ should it have buoyancy?” The dinghy not a Mirror, though a Class dinghy of about the same sue — had no buoyancy bags, and the personal buoyancy of the occupants left much to be desired. Now, instead of making snide remarks, might I suggest that some correspondents get into the R.Y.A. scheme and help. Read Beryl Hurne’s article in Reflections No. 8, act upon it.
from R. Burdon, M19321, Dorset
Editor's note - This article is from Reflections No. 11 Autumn 1973, page 4 and has been captured by OCR, so typos & errors are possible.