Posted on June 23rd 2015
Year 8 Sailing Visit
On Friday 27th June 2015, 20 Year 8 students visited the Isle of Wight to take part in an intensive watersports weekend. After an early start, we caught the ferry across the Solent to our base at UKSA. For a number of students, it was their first time travelling by ferry and the experience was enjoyed by all. After a safety briefing, wetsuit fitting, and some paddleboarding, the students were lined up and faced their first test – jumping off the pontoon into a very cold and salty sea. Despite the fact that some students were nervous, and a few couldn’t swim, all of them plucked up the courage to jump on in and by the end of the session the biggest challenge was getting them out of the water. Friday evening also saw some team bonding games, with a number of challenges designed to test the students problem-solving abilities and teamwork. In a keenly fought contest, all students demonstrated an abundance of said skills and went to bed that evening exhausted at what had past and excited about what was to come.
A very early rise on Saturday was followed by a hearty breakfast and the prospect of dinghy sailing. Conditions were perfect and students paired up to sail their dinghy’s without the aid of any instructors. Despite the occasional capsize, by the end of the session, students appeared to be natural seafarers and we were towed back to the relative calm of shore. Saturday afternoon saw students divided into smaller groups and pitted against one another in a raft building exercise. Levels of quality and competitiveness were high as each group sought to build the sturdiest raft and sail it through a number of challenges. Not a single raft failed to float and indeed many of the rafts seemed more manageable than the dinghys of the morning. Saturday evening saw land based activities with rounders and football the order of the day. Come nightfall the students were eager to go to bed after a fatiguing but exhilarating day.
Another early rise saw Harris Peckham able to squeeze in some kayaking before the return ferry to the mainland. Despite some very tired faces, students took to kayaking like a duck to water and mastered the basic techniques swiftly. A long journey home awaited the students, but after such a busy weekend many were pleased for the chance to sit down and take stock. A fantastic time was had by staff and students alike, and the enthusiasm, manners, and determination of the students throughout the weekend is to be commended. The opportunity to experience a number of activities out of the norm is one that certainly will not be forgotten in a hurry.