my week – total fun

Every year, I do rescue-boat duties for the secondary Schools regatta. They use Sunburst dinghies, lower-tech than 420’s, easier to repair and maintain, and more numerous. Herein lies another debate – the one where SPARK concentrates on elite athletes and olympic medals, at the expense of the ‘R’ part of their name – recreation. The 420 approach is the elitist strand, really.

Anyway, they do a whole week, and the rewards are many. Self-confidence, physical skills, social interaction, problem-solving. It’s all there. You get to know the youngsters, note the cocky ones, the thoughtful ones …… one of my pleasures is helping theĀ  tail-enders up-skill their way into the ‘pack’.

I’m knackered this (Sat) morning – thursday was a heavy-wind day (there is always one in a week-long event this far south, particularly at such equinoctial times) and my arms felt it somewhat. Had a glorious incident where I’d given a tail-ender boat a better centreboard, but elected to take their old one out with me, in case the new one jammed/didn’t work/vibrated. Just by the top mark, another boat capsized. The crew hopped on the centreboard – as you do – and it broke. I just threw them the one I had on board, and retrieved their bits. Memo to self – always carry spare centreboard, smallest common denominator-sized!

Great fun, though. A great bunch of kids – this is a bit like the Eco-hut challenge (see a previous blog) where the cream of the crop probably self-select, and on average, more of tomorrows leaders will come from this group, than from the rest of the spectrum.

It’s gratifying, and not a little humbling, to contribute. As with the Ecohut mob, I’ll miss these guys. Life would be the poorer without such experiences.

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