Ocean Yachtmaster Instructor David Foreman, second left above, congratulates our 2022 Dinghy Instructors
Orford Sailing Club is not just a small friendly sailing club but a place where young people make enduring friendships. It has become a long standing tradition that many youngsters develop a passion for sailing and go on to become qualified RYA Dinghy Instructors who inspire the next generation of sailors.
The baton passes quickly down from sibling to sibling and it’s hardly surprising to see several families with multiple relatives who have spanned several years of service and volunteering at the club.
Instructors are encouraged to start off as helpers before getting an Assistant Instructor qualification and then going on to fully qualify with the RYA. Children being taught are inspired to be Instructors by their Instructors. It is very much a badge of honour.
A passion for long summers spent in Orford and the strong sense the club has of family and community spirit. Every year it’s thrilling to see OSC members returning to the club with their own children in tow who catch the sailing bug and want to join our team.
It is a familiar pattern – and long may it last!
Whilst many sailing clubs need to recruit instructors from other clubs or areas, OSC prides itself on the description ‘home grown’. Indeed, over the past several years we have been very fortunate to also have our own Senior Instructors and Chief Instructors.
22 year old Ruby learnt to sail at OSC 10 years ago and has been an OSC Instructor for 6 years.
“OSC has a great sense of community, creating a friendly environment in which sailors support and help each other.
I really enjoy seeing students improve their sailing and discover a passion for it. But it is important for students to be taught properly so they can enjoy sailing safely.
I love RS Fevas because I think they are fantastic boats for beginners and I learnt to sail in one myself.
I occasionally race for fun and I love the sense of freedom that sailing gives me.
My biggest mishap sailing was when my rudder popped off in the middle of the river and I had to dive in and swim after it.
My best moment sailing was when Tom and I got the spinnaker flying on the Feva and we zoomed to Aldeburgh.
My favourite moment on the water in 2021 was sailing the Sea Race because it’s always a fun challenge and it was nice to sail it with my grandfather.”
Tom is 23 and came to OSC 6 years ago from our close neighbours, Aldeburgh YC, where he learnt to sail. Tom qualified as an Instructor at OSC 5 years ago.
“OSC has a great community and family feeling. It is all about having fun and developing your sailing skills.
What I love most about teaching is being able to see my students become comfortable and skilled sailors over the course as well as seeing them have fun whilst learning.
My favourite boat is a Laser with a radial sail.
I race and I love the sense of freedom I get form being on the water.
My biggest mishap sailing was in too strong winds with a full sail. I capsized quite a bit that day, but it was still good fun!
My best moment sailing was doing the Sea Race.
My favourite moment on the water in 2021 was enjoying some fun races during the regatta.”
Hannah is 24 and has sailed at OSC for eleven years. This will be Hannah’s tenth year as an Instructor.
“I love it when something about sailing suddenly clicks for a young person and they catch the sailing bug. I think that teaching sailing well is about giving each student a love of being on the water and the skills that they need to get out there by themselves and have fun, whether that’s messing about with friends or racing competitively.
My favourite boat is a Topper but I normally race a Laser.”
In 2021 Hannah bought her first Cruising boat. See Hannah’s marvellous article about her first summer cruising by clicking here.
“There’s just something very special about the freedom that comes with being out on the water and getting the most out of a boat.
I’ll never live down the day that I popped Oscar…” (A rib and one of the OSC Safety Boats)
“My best moment sailing was smashing through big waves in a Topper during a very breezy Sea Race.
My best moment of 2021 was when all the kids at the Junior Regatta cheered me on from the pontoon as I struggled in an Oppi against squally winds and a spring tide during the Instructors Race then rushed to find and rig me a Topper so that I could continue after the Oppi’s mast-sprit and tiller extension snapped off.”
Jacob is 22 and has sailed at OSC for thirteen years.
“I was taught to sail at OSC and I’ve been an Instructor for five years.
Everyone is friendly, and it’s a real pleasure to be in Orford.
It is very satisfying to see a person begin to enjoy sailing, and the camaraderie amongst Instructors is lots of fun. As sailing is such a dangerous sport, it’s clearly important that students are properly taught, and we’ve been paid to teach so we’re obliged to do our best.
I race and my favourite boat is a Laser.
I love the freedom and the peace on the water (even when it’s blowing a gale).
My worst moment on the water was turtling a Wayfarer and my favourite moment was the 2018 Sea Race in my Laser, and the exhilaration of sailing over large waves.
The best moment of 2021 was the Mike Pearce cruise and seeing my adult course students sailing competently around the island.”
21 year old Miranda has sailed at OSC for 9 years where she completed RYA Stages 3&4, Racing and Spinnaker courses.
“I like sailing at Orford because it is quick and easy for me to rig up my Feva and I can go out in my boat whenever I like, and take out my friends too. I am able to sail to Aldeburgh or round the island if I’d like a longer trip. I know the area well and live in the village so to get down to the water to sail is a very short walk or cycle making it convenient. I am also able to use my boat to sail up to Dove Point and stop on the Ness to have picnics etc in the summer.”
Miranda has been an Instructor for 2 years.
“The joy on kids faces when they master a skill well and grow in confidence as they improve. The importance of being taught well I believe gives people the ability to go out sailing to practice, enjoy their leisure time safely or even take part in racing. Without well established skills in sailing this is not possible to a high degree.
My favourite boat to sail with friends in Orford is an RS Feva XL.
I race regularly – but not so much in Orford anymore.
I love the sense of freedom and the adrenaline of a thrilling sail in strong winds.
My biggest mishap sailing in Orford is either getting rocks stuck in the dagger board slot jamming it halfway in when we went aground on the spit to go swimming in the sea and then couldn’t get the board back down for the sail back OR Having my partner break the spinnaker whilst sailing towards Raydon and being unable to tack due to the sail being caught under the hull round the dagger board and so sailing helplessly towards Aldeburgh.
My best moment sailing in Orford was winning the Feva Cup in the Class racing.
My favourite moment on the water in Orford this year is either the first lovely sail on my Feva with the Spinnaker up flying along OR Sailing Mary’s Orford 10-footer in the strong winds with Hannah.”
20 year old Freddie has been an Instructor for 3 years and learnt to sail at OSC 7 years ago.
“The other sailors and people at OSC are very friendly and it’s a very nice and relaxed environment
What I enjoy most about teaching is seeing my students sailing or racing on their own, or really wanting to helm with someone else in the boat. It shows that I made them feel comfortable on the water and that they had a great experience.
I race and my favourite boat is a Hartley.
I love just being able to go out on your own on the water and enjoy the peace and quiet .
I once turtled the boat and got my leg stuck under the toe strap meaning I got stuck under the boat, which was a little bit scary.
My favourite moment sailing was when I completed my Instructor course.
The best part of sailing in 2021 was the whole topper two course as the students learned very quickly and had so much fun on the water. It meant we all had fun and a wonderful time on the water.”
Willa is 17 and has sailed at OSC for almost 11 years where she learnt to sail.
“I started sailing Topper Ones when I was seven.
I became an Instructor last summer but I have been helping on the courses since I was 13 and I think I got my AI at fourteen.
I love the community around iOSC and I think it is a great place to sail. It is also very convenient for me as I live in the village.
I don’t race and I really like sailing small boats like Fevers.
I love being surrounded by the water and nature and I love sailing with another person.
Luckily, I haven’t had too many mishaps but one time my kicker strap snapped and the boom wouldn’t stay on the mast because it was pretty windy so I had to sail without the boom.
My best moment sailing was probably when I saw a porpoise in the river. But some of my other favourite moments have just been sailing up or back down from the spit with friends whilst listening to music.
My favourite moment on the water in 2021 was being back teaching the courses having missed 2020 due to Covid.”
Harry is eighteen years old and was born in Orford.
A keen loose head forward on the rugger field and an excellent swimmer we are lucky to have Harry working the river in our safety boats. It is an environment Harry has known all his life.
Milly is 17 and has sailed at OSC since childhood where she learnt to sail.
Milly qualified as an Instructor this year.
“I love Orford and sailing is a huge reason why. It is a lovely environment, the people, the conditions are often demanding on the water and most of all the place.
Being taught properly means that you have the best possible experience on the water. Knowing what you are doing and feeling safe means you can experience everything that there is to love about sailing.
My favourite boat is a Feva. I race sometimes but not seriously.
I love the excitement of going fast and feeling in complete control of my boat.
My biggest mishap sailing was a capsize and a tangle with a moored boat. My dry suit also filled with freezing water.
My best moment was sailing down from the spit in a strong following wind. It was amazing.
My favourite moment on the water was winning a race with Ruby Brint. It was such fun as it was quite a tight race in amazing conditions.”
Issy is19 and learnt to sail at Orford ten years ago. Issy qualified as a Dinghy Instructor this year.
“I’m not only always surrounded by friends and friendly faces, but Orford Sailing Club has allowed me to develop my sailing and racing skills.
The best part about teaching is seeing the students improving and becoming more confident. A big part of this is making sure that the students are learning in an environment that is both challenging and fun.
My favourite boat is a Laser. I love racing and have participated in many OSC Regattas.
My favourite bit about being on the water is when the conditions are less than optimal – especially strong winds.
My biggest mishap sailing was capsizing and the boat getting swept under a small rowing boat on a mooring.
My best moments sailing are taking my friends who don’t sail out in a Feva.
My best moment on the water would be anytime that I’m sailing with my friends.”
“I am 20 and my first time sailing in Orford was the beginners Topper course, so I must have been about 11. Except for Covid I’ve been back pretty much every summer since, first working my way through the courses and then returning as a helper and Assistant Instructor. This spring I qualified as a DI so will be working this summer as a full instructor.
I love sailing in Orford because it’s such a friendly and fun-loving club and makes me think of the excitement of first learning to sail. As well as being a beautiful place the sometimes extreme conditions of mud and tide really have a social bonding effect! Teaching over the course of a few days is great as you get to see less confident sailors coming out of their shell. This is often helped by starting with instructors in boats, then having students sailing together, which means they really understand what’s going on by the time they start single-handing.
My favourite type of dinghy to sail is probably a Feva – they’re easy to manoeuvre whether you’re double or single-handing, while still allowing you some power. I don’t race, but I do love the thrill of tacking quickly upwind when it’s a bit breezy, but not overpowering.
Over the years there have been too many sailing (mis)adventures to count, but quite a few were concentrated into one really gusty day of instructing a couple of years ago involving a couple of runs aground and a jib spontaneously coming off the boat, but luckily salvaged before going into the water. My best moments sailing have been getting into a really good groove of teamwork between helm and crew, and more recently refining adapting to the quirks of the tide, although a group of us singing in the powerboat to keep warm when we were little, will always be a close second!”
Raffy is sixteen years old and has sailed at OSC for eight years where he learnt to sail. Raffy qualified as a Dinghy Instructor this year.
“I enjoy OSC as it’s challenging sailing, so it improves my skills and it’s a positive environment as everyone is friendly.
I enjoy seeing students improve their sailing and have fun at the same time. It’s important for students to be taught correctly so they can keep safe.
My favourite boat is a Wayfarer. I have taken part in OSC Regattas, but I don’t race often.
I love the peace of sailing on the water.
My biggest mishap was turtling my boat and the mast getting stuck in the mud and my best moment was sailing up wind to the spit with a friend.
My favourite moment on the water was sailing my new Topper Topaz with my Dad”.
22 year old Mads has sailed at OSC since she was about three years old.
“I learnt to sail at OSC. I’ve been an Instructor for five years, but I started helping out on the courses when I was 14.
If you can sail at Orford, you can sail anywhere and you’re never short of generous and supportive people to help you learn.
Teaching people to sail is about making sure they’re comfortable in the boats and on the water. Often they are in the water too! If a student loves sailing or had a fantastic time with us, then we’ve done our jobs, whether or not they’re the most technical, fastest or most competitive.
I would have to say my favourite boat is a Topper, because it’s the first boat I single-handed and I grew up sailing them. A Laser One is probably a more sensible boat, now that I’m not quite so little anymore.
I used to race a fair amount, however I don’t love it in the same way that I love going for a pootle down the river, but I will always do the Instructors race at the Junior Regatta!
I love the relaxation and comfort I get from sailing. I was so young when I learned to sail that it’s second nature to me now and possibly the least stressful activity I can think of, and even in strong winds, it’s just, really good fun.
I’d have to say my biggest mishap sailing was getting my topper stuck under the Lady Flo” (The Lady Florence). Thankfully she was moored at the time!
There are so many best moments sailing, but my favourite memories are doing the sailing courses at Orford, with Rachael, my best pal and fellow Instructor.
My favourite moment on the water in 2021 was seeing Jess, a student who had worked so hard and progressed so much, win the Feibusch Cup! However, to be honest, seeing all the students back out on the water last year after essentially 2 years without sailing courses made me incredibly proud.”