The Youth section of the sailing club held their annual prize giving on Saturday before enjoying the town fireworks with their families. A collection was taken following the display.

It has been a successful season with all 21 young sailors, beginners and improvers, coached on Tuesdays from Easter to July by Grahame Forshaw, Jim Thomas and an adult and older youth volunteer team , invited to progress to the Saturday morning youth group,’ said organiser Sally Holman, ‘We’ve certainly has a rewarding year all round, a strong youth contingent coming through the club, good for the future!

From Saturday mornings, after a further year or two, the more skilled are offered race tuition on Saturday afternoons with Jerry Rook. Theory and shore work underpin the practical training along the lines approved by the RYA, with certified instructors. This year, 9 young sailors took part in the Firefly Nationals held at the club and gained valuable racing experience. Bart’s Bash in September saw two single-handers, Josh Connelly and Elliot Samons, joining in a 12 mile race with a full club fleet, both for the first time. Others participated as crews.

Natasha Dower and Ferdy Parry Leyshon won the cups for best youth in club racing and first youth in the club Regatta. Ferdy and Simon regularly crew in club racing. The Youth section has been operating for almost 50 years, some of the trophies first used in 1947, with today’s groups following a long tradition.

There is also an Optimist youth group, some taking part in area open meetings, run by Dave Stubbs. Colin Walters, who has coached a great many youth members during his long sailing career, both at Datchet Water and Lyme, learnt to sail himself here where he was brought up. Colin continues to race competitively and this year he presented the prizes. Colin’s contribution to youth sailing has been remarkable, but he and his wife Eileen will be leaving to be nearer their family. Colin was presented with a club burgee, and Eileen with a bouquet from the youth section and warmly applauded. He will remain a frequent visitor, sailing his Albacore at the club next season.

The coveted Seamanship Trophy, for most competent youth helm also showing good all-round Seamanship skills, was awarded to Simon Law. Simon regularly sails his Laser when he’s not crewing for Colin and helps run the committee boat for youth sessions. Simon thanked the adult team for running the youth training sessions and Colin and Eileen for their encouragement.

Four beginners have already signed up for Tuesday evenings 2020 with only one or two places remaining. Competent youth sailors are able to apply to the Saturday group. The Youth section encourages sailing for pleasure as well as for racing. Please see the club website for details. New members are always welcome.

The AGM will be held on Sat 9 November and the annual dinner and prize giving the following Saturday.