Young sailors were rewarded at Arun Youth Aqua Centre’s annual meeting and prizegiving.
Chairman Roger Elliman welcomed special guests Littlehampton mayor Ian Buckland, Rustington Parish Council chairman Alison Cooper and East Preston Parish Council chairman Joop Duijf, as well as members and their families.
Mr Elliman gave a brief rundown of the season, accompanied by a photographic display.
He said the new sailing Oppie dinghies for children aged from six on Mewsbrook Lake, introduced with the support of boating co-ordinator David Chase, had been very well received and would become a regular feature on the 2017 programme.
The 2016 season saw the safety boats and crews providing cover for a number of off-site events, like Arundel Festival’s dragon boat race and Raw Energy Pursuits’ swim events in the River Arun, which helped to raise around £2,000 for the centre.
A power boat course was run for Brighton Sailing Club and on-site courses saw a number of the older members gain a range of qualifications.
Mr Elliman said none of this was possible without the band of willing parents, whose help on the beach with launching and recovery was invaluable, and coaching and safety volunteers who gave up their time each week to ensure the centre could continue to offer the exciting sport of dinghy sailing at an affordable price to many young people of the area.
The centre had been unable to attract a kayaking coach, bringing a sad end to a sport that had been a feature at the centre since its foundation in 1977. Several kayaks were donated to Scout groups and some were sold.
Membership was in the low 40s and the income was not sufficient to cover fixed costs but there were 18 new young people, who would hopefully form the backbone of the centre in future years.
Mr Elliman said: “We are going to be heavily reliant on the Oppie sessions to bring in new youngsters next season, with the demise of both local authority initiatives of SPACE week and Oscar sessions.”
Rob Elliot, chief RYA instructor, congratulated members who had competed in the West Sussex Schools’ and Youth Sailing Association’s Travellers Series and Regatta.
The RYA Young Sailors Scheme awards gained were:-
Stage 1, Olivia Beek, Jackson Chandler, Noah Downs, Nathan Golding, Mat’I Macioszek, Jack Marden, Hannah Mepstead, Joshua Trew.
Stage 2, Sebastian Wattam.
Start Racing, Francesca Blondell, Jonny Brown, William Dadswell, Aerial Darling, Bradley & Daniel Robinson.
Sailing with Spinnakers, Francesca Blondell, Jonny Brown, Jamie & William Dadswell, Aerial Darling, Daniel Robinson, Thomas Shorten.
Seamanship skills, Edmund Kirkby-Bott.
RYA Power Boat Level 2, Aerial Darling, John Elliott, Laura Elliott, Megan Renson, Wayne Robinson.
RYA Small Craft first aid, Max Clarke, Katrina Halsey, David Holmes, Gareth Hughes, Gaynor Kirby, Elle Hunter, Steve Pilkington.
RYA Instructor and Race Instructor, Max Clarke, Sam Hughes, Edmund Kirkby-Bott.
Mrs Cooper presented Sailing a Century certificates to Francesca Blondell and George Myers, and double centuries to Max Clarke, Jamie Dadswell and Lauren Hunter.
Jamie Dadswell won the Overall Racing Medals gold and trophy, William Dadswell gained silver and Francesca Blondell bronze.
Mr Duijf presented Most Improved Boy Helm to Bradly Robinson and Sailing Achievement to Francesca Blondell.
Mr Buckland presented the John’s Effort Trophy to Daniel Robinson, Overall Achievement Trophy to William Dadswell, Russell Moore Memorial Trophy to Elle Hunter, the Littlehampton Town Mayor Willing Hands Trophy to Richard Renson and Blue Water Trophy to Richard and Megan Renson.
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