Richard Cannon found a message on the AQSC answer machine requesting some sailing for children. On ringing the phone number quoted he found that Kingston Social Services wanted a sailing activity day for a group of children with learning disabilities. As Richard managed to get some help from Barrie Jones for the Safety Boat and from Laurie Bridges with a second Signet, he agreed to do it; but with some trepidation as we didn't know what to expect.

Children and Helpers in clubhouse

Six children, 14 to 16 years old, arrived with 3 helpers at 10:30. In addition AQSC junior members Peter Sutton, Robert Britton and Liah Farmer joined in sailing the Club Topper and Laser. Fortunately the weather was absolutely ideal for a change; a hot  day with a steady East force 2-3 wind.

The activities started with the visitors being shown Richard's and Laurie's Signets being rigged and each, including the helpers, was taken out for a short introductory sail before lunch. Those not sailing were taken out in the safety boat and given the opportunity to helm it. The Signet was rather on the small side as one of the children was a 6'8" tall giant, but they had a wonderful experience.

Laurie sailing with Debbie, a helper

After lunch the children had a longer sail and were given the opportunity to helm the Signet on the run. Jack particularly enjoyed the experience and loved leaning out as far as he could. At the end of the day there was a session on knots and Jack had remembered how to do and the name of the figure of eight knot he was shown when the boats were rigged.

The helpers were very appreciative and said the day was much better than they expected and asked if they could return next year. Activities are arranged for Monday and Friday through the summer holidays for the children.

The day wasn't finished for Richard because Leah's Mum, Gran and Aunt Denise had come to watch, and Denise asked if she could have a sail; another trip for Richard and she really enjoyed it including having a go on the helm.

It was a very successful, enjoyable and satisfying day and none of the children were any problem. It was great seeing them enjoy themselves so much. Richard has received a very appreciative letter of thanks and a donation for AQSC from the Children with Disabilities Team.