Where the heck did the summer go? Life seems to go by so quickly, it only seems like yesterday that we were driving down to Calshot with the car piled up with sailing gear for the Tribe to take part in the first sail of the season with the 2nd Andover Sea Scouts. And now it’s finished until next year. So, how was it? Well, as we discovered the previous year, pretty amazing for all the children involved.
At the Calshot sailing club (with the most enviable of locations!), the atmosphere of parents trying to get excited Cubs and nonchalant scouts (far too ‘cool’ to get excited!) into wetsuits and ready for Paul’s briefing, is always chaotically happy. The Solent is busy throughout the year, with all manner of craft: plenty of dinghys, larger racing yachts (cue wistful looks from Father of the Tribe), ferries and vast container ships.
Because of this, in his briefing, Paul repeatedly refers to the safety aspect of sailing – hopefully say it enough times and it will be engrained in all the children’s minds for whenever they’re on the water in the future. The safety aspect of the sailing is pretty impressive – the scouts are out on the water with the younger Cubs in the boats with them and they are pretty much left to their own devices with the rescue rib constantly checking that everyone’s safe and not heading towards the shipping lane …
Having spoken to a few parents, we all agreed that the confidence that this activity has given the children is fantastic – the difference in a year is amazing and the more the children go out the better their sailing and confidence becomes. Watching the Boy handle a boat with a couple of Cubs as passengers makes me feel very proud although watching him and the Eldest together on a boat on the windiest day in he Solent made me think that maybe they shouldn’t sail together! We will see if that will happen again!
With the tide sometimes being out later in the afternoon, the children were sometimes taken far out in the rescue boat and then told to swim back to shore in the shallow water – an element of one of their badges. On the bank holiday weekend, there were so few scouts and Cubs, that those that were there, were taken in the rib to another beach for ice creams! Other afternoons when there was plenty of water, the children would play games of chase in the boats.
At the end of the day, the children help the adults bring the boats back onshore, wash them down and pack them away before showering quickly in order to get into the kitchen to make mugs of hot chocolate – obviously a highlight of the end of the day!
It is a great organisation with extraordinary facilities run tirelessly by David and a very small group of helpers. I would say that their end of season report should read ‘Excellent, 100% Commitment, A*’ (or should that now be a 9, under the new grading system??).