he Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School moves to County Cavan for a week!
Ramor Watersports Club have a superb facility at the Lakeside Manor Hotel, Virginia, Co. Cavan, comprising of a wonderful marina with 28 berths, a sheltered beach and easy access to a wide open sailing area of Loch Ramor.
The club has a thriving adult sailing community, however, access for children is limited. After approaching the school, a package of junior sailing was developed, focussing on a week long course. Transposing the set up and ethos from the school allowed 11 youngsters aged seven to sixteen to either start sailing or improve basic skills. Here’s how the week panned out, utilising the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School’s unique teaching style to encourage and coach youngsters.
Day 1: Steering and Water Confidence
“Base Camp” set up was complete early, nestled by the beach with three Sailqube Optimists, two RS Zests and a RS Feva. The instructing team consisted of school founder, Alistair Rumball, Marketing and Communications Manager, Glyn Williams, and (just in case it seemed as if the school’s entire back office team had decamped to Cavan) children’s instructor Ruairí Grant.
Following on from the tried and tested method, tacking practise ashore was drilled repeatedly. Heading afloat within the enclosed marina area, everyone soon got to grips with going about before we heading in for lunch in the pleasant surroundings of the hotel.
With the wind increasing, the main highlight of the afternoon session came when Marketing and Communications Manager, and 12 year veteran instructor, felt the need to capsize a RS Zest to windward. Commenting on RS Sailing’s design, Glyn was impressed with “the sealed mast, ensuring the boat did not turtle. This made righting the boat very easy for the beginner sailors”.
The final session of the day was the week’s most important. The older age group practised recovering the RS Zests from capsize, while the younger cohort played a traditional INSS game – “sink the oppie!”. It transpires that 7 children and 2 instructors are needed to submerge a Sailqube Oppie! Everyone gained water confidence, found it easier to move around in wetsuit and buoyancy aid, as well as learning what to do if the boat was to capsize.
Day 2: Perfecting Tacking and Gaining Confidence
Day 2’s focus was to improve each student’s tacking. Again, shorebased land drills were deployed. Alistair is a great believer of working very hard at the start of the week to ensure fundamental skills, resulting in a mush decreased amount of teaching required in the final two or three days.
We again utilised the fantastic sailing area formed by the marina and shoreline, before heading further from shore as the conditions allowed.
Day 3: No wind – Plan B
Ramor Watersports Club have installed a windsock, conveniently marking the only rocky area to avoid on the lake, to assist novice sailors gauge wind direction. As the photo below shows, Wednesday morning began without a breath of breeze. As there was still some work to do on steering, boat balance and control, the paddles were deployed!
The morning's effort were rewarded with fantastic sailing conditions in the afternoon, where Gybing practise was perfected.
Day 4: Sailing a Triangle – Putting it all together
By now, each student had mastered tacking, gybing and sailing on different points of sailing. Thursday’s aim was to tie all of this together in a triangular course, something which was accomplished by all by day’s end.
Day 5: Cruiser Sailing
To celebrate everyone’s efforts, it was decided to take two Jaguar Keelboats for a day trip to one of the many islands on the lake, but alas the wind and rain conspired to prevent our picnic. Instead, a two-hour weather window was used to give everyone the experience of being on a keelboat. A big thanks to David Brouder for helping out on the water.
Back ashore, it was time for the certificate presentation, and final course debrief. There was a great turnout of parents, club members and representatives from the hotel. Club Commodore John Wilson presented the certificates to our new gang of accomplished sailors and spoke of plans being developed to extend opportunities to get afloat on the unique and underutilised resource that is Loch Ramor.
Ruairí, Glyn and Alistair would like to congratulate Jamie, Arabella, Kyle, Dylan, Luke, Ben, Arda, Niamh, Ella, Eabha and Grace on their achievements and we look forward to seeing them out on the water again soon.
We had an absolutely wonderful week, and would be delighted to be back. The school has worked with a number of club’s now to help them achieve specific aims. What is key from these sort of programmes is that a clear vision of what the club wants to get out of the partnership forms the basis of any project. With the aim of delivering a children’s programme complete, we now turn to looking at a future relationship that eases access to a fantastic body of water, and in turn helps Ramor Watersport Club develop in whatever way they so wish.
The team from the INSS are working to get their ideas for the future down on paper, and are looking forward to meeting with Ramor Watersports Club, and indeed the team at the Lakeside Manor Hotel, to present several options for the future. One thing is for sure, there are a group of 11 junior sailors, all of whom (or their parents) have expressed a significant desire to keep sailing!
Finally, we'd like to extend our thanks to David Brouder, John Wilson, John McCourt and all the members of Ramor Watersports Club, as well as the team at the Lakeside Manor Hotel for the support and welcome given to us for the week.
Ramor Watersports Club