By Amy Taylor
Year 6 students from Dartmouth Academy took to the water on Tuesday as part of the Royal Dart Youth Sailing Trust’s initiative to give more young people experiences with water-based activities.
The trust funds activities including sailing, paddleboarding and kayaking for hundreds of local pupils each year, with each Year 6 student getting a turn on the water.
The students had a lot of fun learning to sail with their teacher Jack Pemberton, instructor Kit Noble and volunteer Amanda Pigott. The children spent the day playing games, learning different types of sailing knots, and even practising capsising, with the aim of building their confidence on the water.
For Bella, one of the students who took part in the trip, it was her first time taking part in a water-sports activity.
She said: “I had Albert as my instructor and he taught us how to do the capsizing and we did some games and he taught us how to hike off the boat.
“He taught me how to properly steer the boat… he let me do it by myself for a little bit.”
Her classmate Gracie added: “They taught us some ropes like the reef knot, figure of eight and how to wrap them up on the docks, and they also let us do some steering and some roping and it was really fun.”
The trust raises over £20,000 each year to provide opportunities like the Junior Sailing Programme, the Schools Sailing Weeks and various multi-night voyages, in particular, hoping to aid disadvantaged children who don’t get the opportunity to get out on the water.
As part of this initiative, fifteen year-9 and 10 students will be sailing a classic trip around the English channel for five nights at the end of the month.
Robin, one of the students who took part on the trip, praised the instructors: “They help a lot, they’re really kind and they encourage us to do stuff.”
Bella added: “If you do something wrong they’ll be like that’s okay, just have another go.”
The students have had swimming lessons at the school, but this is the first time they’ve taken part in water sports.
“This is a really good opportunity,” said Robin.
The trust was founded in 2016 as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of The Royal Dart Yacht Club, and they are helping to get students from all around South Devon out on the water.
They run dinghy sailing for six local primary schools, and they also help students at Dartmouth Academy get their Stage 1 RYA qualification. The trust is entirely funded on donations, so if anyone wants like to donate please visit royaldart.co.uk