Matt is 21 years old and qualified as a DI in 2019 becoming an SI in 2021. Matt is also a Power Boat Instructor and a Power Boat Safety Boat Instructor.
“I learnt to sail in Eastbourne 12 years ago and I have sailed at Orford for two years. My favourite thing about sailing in Orford is also being able to go for a cruise and enjoy the more relaxing side of sailing.
When I am teaching sailing, I really enjoy watching the student’s progression and passion for the sport grow as they develop from beginners to sailors able to race competitively and/or pass on their newfound knowledge and experience on to others by qualifying as Instructors themselves.
My favourite boat is the 18 foot skiff as they are the pinnacle of dinghy sailing. I race regularly in Eastbourne, sailing my Laser for many years, and last year I enjoyed competing in an RS200 on the National Circuit with Miranda Cook.
My favourite moment on the water happened many years ago when I took my Laser out for its first sail the day after I bought it. It was my first time sailing my own boat.
My biggest sailing mishap was in a Dart 16, with Miranda, on a very windy and rough day. The traveller snapped and I had to fix it quickly so that we could tack and not end up on the beach!
My favourite sailing memory is having the perfect sailing conditions in Eastbourne: a good force 4 and flat water and flying downwind, trapezing with the kite up in a Laser 4000 skiff.
My best sailing memory of 2022 is sailing to the spit in Orford to swim in the sea.”
It was a pleasure to welcome back our former Chief Instructor Suzy Cooper for the 2023 training season. Not only does Suzy return again in 2024 but she has also taken on the role of RYA Principal. Suzy is 26 and has sailed with her family at OSC for eighteen years. Suzy was a DI from the age of 16 before becoming the club’s Chief Instructor for four years.
“I started out sitting in the front of a Mirror with my mum and did my first sailing course at OSC when I was 10. I like sailing at Orford because every time you go on the river it is different, and yet it always feels like home.
For me, I love teaching because I get to see other people getting excited and enjoying one of my favourite things in the world. I love getting to spread a love of the river and the sport.
My favourite boat is either a Pico (because they are practically indestructible and nothing can ever go too far wrong), or our little day boat ‘Bojangles’ because I love being able to sleep on the water and am really enjoying learning to sail and DIY her.
I don’t tend to race, and when I do I’m likely to finish rather near the back! I love the feeling in the evening after a day in the salt and wind and sun.”
Now a Senior Instructor 23 year old Miranda has sailed at OSC for eleven years where she completed RYA Stages 3&4, Racing and Spinnaker courses before qualifying as a Dinghy Instructor five years ago.
“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 can 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 getting down to the water to sail is a short walk or cycle making it very 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.
I love seeing the joy on kids faces when they master a skill well and grow in confidence as they improve their sailing skills. I believe the importance of being taught well 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. However, last year I very much enjoyed racing my new boat, an RS200 with my sailing partner Matt Riley and 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 moments sailing in Orford was winning the Feva Cup in the Class racing, sailing up to the Ness in lockdown and swimming with the Seals and sailing in the Ten Footer race on Regatta Day with Hannah (Kunert).
My best sailing memory of 2022 is from my brief stint team racing with Annabel Nash on a session.”
“I’ve grown up sailing in Orford, from Topper 1 all the way through every course, I became an AI in 2021, and am now on my third year of teaching. In the autumn of 2023, I became a DI and am now looking forward extending my teaching for many years to come.
I love a cheeky bit of Feva or Hartley sailing, and my family have recently purchased a Hartley as well, at the request of myself, and it has quickly become my favourite boat to sail in.
However, it has definably not been all smooth sailing for me, and of course, there have definitely been a couple mistakes I’ve made along the way. To name just one of many, I remember capsizing a line of toppers which were all getting towed back from the floating pontoon. This made for an awkward moment with my colleagues watching on from the club house, but also taught me a valuable lesson about towing boats and thinking on my feet.
Aside from this minor mishap, I have loved sailing in Orford and am absolutely buzzing to pass on my excitement and love for sailing onto the students in courses to come and can t wait to get my first season as a DI underway in the 2024 season.”
“OSC is a place like no other where you find a community spirit which is so accepting and welcoming, that by the end of the summer you feel as if you re leaving behind your family. Teaching or sailing in Orford always feels like home and it never fails to put a smile on my face. There are such a wide range of ways to participate at the sailing club: lessons in the classroom and out on the water, racing, family sailing Wednesdays, delivered talks from the experienced sailors of the community. Never will you find OSC boring, there s always something for everyone. Personally, I fell in love with the competitive side of sailing and don t mind a good race. However, I would never say no to a good old dove point picnic. My biggest mishap was definitely the time where, during the junior regatta, I got stuck in the immense wind shadow of the Lady Flo resulting in a few dents in my topper.”
“My first experience of sailing was here in Orford at the age of 10. I have thoroughly enjoyed working my way through all the courses starting from Topper 1 and finishing with some more advanced courses such as Seamanship Skills.
It s great to be part of such a warm community with lots of young keen sailors. At the moment, I would say my favourite boat to sail is a Laser however toppers are what I have spent most of my life learning to sail on. I am more of a fair-weather sailor myself, so I only find myself sailing when the suns outs.
There have definitely been some minor mishaps in my time sailing. One example where things haven’t necessarily gone to plan was when I found myself on the helm on a Feva being asked to land it having never landed a boat before. This did not go to plan as I ploughed through the pontoon with an audience watching me from the clubhouse.”
“I have been sailing at OSC all my life and did my first Topper 1 course with the club when I was 8. I love everything about Orford and it is an amazing place to be and to teach. I love teaching especially watching a nervous new sailor find a newfound confidence.
I am definitely not a racer and have often been heard saying that it was a good race if I crossed the finishing line! My favourite boat to sail is definitely my RS Feva as I can either sail it alone or take friends out for an adventure.
My favourite moment on the water last year was entering the Sea Race and leaving the river by dinghy for the first time, although the conditions could only be described as the perfect storm and it resulted in a tow home for many, I was still incredibly proud of myself for staying upright out at sea!”
“I have been sailing in Orford for as long as I can remember. I first came to Orford as a very young child and have been involved with the river and the sailing club since the very first day. My grandfather, Michael Pearce, was commodore of Orford Sailing Club the year I was born and has been heavily involved in the sailing club and my sailing ‘career throughout my entire life.
I completed all the courses that were possible as I grew up as this was encouraged by everyone in my family and I absolutely loved doing them. Once completing the courses, I started helping at 14 and have recently become a DI. I have raced in Aldeburgh Regatta the last few years however tend to take a much more relaxed approach in comparison to many of the sailors in Aldeburgh.
I have two favourite boats, one being a Laser Radial and the other being a Topper. I have sailed Toppers my whole life and have many great memories in these boats. My favourite memory being completing the ‘Round the Island challenge set by my grandfather with a £30 reward for completing it, and my worst memory being between drifting out the river with 8 people all crammed onto a Topper or when me and my older cousin nosedived a Topper on a windy and choppy day, causing it to jump out the water and flip. However, I did enjoy these moments despite being very scared at the time.”
“I’ve been sailing in orford for my entire life and I’ve always enjoyed being on the water. Around 2 years ago after finishing all of the courses OSC had to offer I decided that I wanted to be an instructor as wanted to pass my knowledge onto the people who are just as keen of sailing as I am.
My favourite boat is a feva, which I love to race in as a crew. I have race in the National Schools feva regatta at Hayling Island and have also sailed many other regattas as well. I also enjoy sailing Toppers, which are the boat that I first learnt to sail in.
My biggest sailing mishap was when I turtled a topper in the middle of the river and lost the daggerboard. The daggerboard wasn’t attached properly to the boat so I was left lying on top of the upturned boat as it drifted down the river until another boat came to rescue me.”
“I have been sailing since I first did Topper One and enjoyed every second of it. It was that summer when I decided that sailing was my passion and have been pursuing it ever since. It has been the highlight of my summer every year since then. The people there, both teaching the course and learning it alongside me, really helped me make the most out of the experience. They have helped me make many of my favourite memories there on the water with games and exercises that make it worthwhile. For me, teaching the kids and helping them learn the skills needed to sail is one of the best bits as I can see how much they enjoy it, reminding me of the fun I used to have when I was learning to sail, and the things I experienced during that time which ignited my passion for the sport.”