Young sailors finished rigging their boats.

Mullingar Sailing Club junior sailing course enjoyed by all

The first three weeks of July came and went, and with them came Mullingar Sailing Club’s annual junior course, billed as “the best summer camp I have ever done!” by one of the young participants

With over 30 sailors aged between 11 and 17 participating, various skill levels were accounted for. Under the expert eyes of a team of skilled instructors, Mullingar’s next generation of sailors bravely faced the waters of Lough Owel - a challenge sometimes intimidating for beginners.

Expertly coached by instructors certified by Irish Sailing, the national governing body, the club’s new and returning sailors managed to sail superbly throughout the three weeks. The course was overseen by senior instructor Jack Hayes, who himself learned to sail at the club, and who primarily coached this year’s advanced sailors.

Jack was helped by a great team of local instructors and assistant instructors and also by visiting instructors from sailing clubs in Dublin, Courtown and Wicklow, all of whom ensured that the course was great fun for all and ran very smoothly.

Our junior participants were fortunate this year, as the weather conditions on Lough Owel this July couldn’t have been better. The first few days of the course brought relatively strong winds, with gusts reaching up to force 5.

Sunny and clear days were seen as a blessing by instructors and course participants alike. Stronger wind conditions towards the end of the second week were welcomed by some of the older participants, adding an extra element of challenge to the course and allowing them to develop their sailing skills.

More benign weather conditions on some days were appreciated by the level 1 and 2 sailors, who were hoping to improve their basic sailing knowledge and skills.

The team of assistant instructors took advantage of the brilliant weather, organising day trips to the diving boards and to the north shore of Lough Owel, as well as activities such as water-based orienteering and seamanship races.

A special thanks must be extended to Róisín Gaynor, the club’s junior organiser, who was the driving force behind the course going ahead and who showed up bright and early every morning, rain or shine to ensure that everything ran smoothly.

The club is also very grateful to advanced instructor Caoimhe Hunt, originally from Mullingar and now senior instructor at the Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, who came down to assess the skills of the course participants hoping to pass their Advanced Boat Handling Certificate.

A huge thank you also goes out to David Maxwell, club commodore, and to the rest of the club committee, for facilitating such an excellent course. The club is also grateful to its members who hosted the visiting instructors, as without them the course wouldn’t have been able to go ahead.

And finally, perhaps the biggest thank you of all should be given to Mr. Kieran Milner, working tirelessly behind the scenes fixing boats: patching holes and cracks, sourcing spare parts, adjusting rudders, and even having to step in to rescue the instructors’ powerboats… the list goes on.

Regardless, without Mr Milner, the course probably wouldn’t have been the success it was and the club is very lucky to have him.

Overall, this year’s course was extremely successful thanks to the great team of people behind it. It was greatly enjoyed by all.

We hope to see our junior sailors on the water over the rest of the summer and encourage them to get practicing for a race against visiting sailors from other clubs, who will come to Mullingar to compete in the Mirror regatta that the club will host on August 27 and 28.