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Author's Name: Clive Hassett
Date: Wed 23 Mar 2022

NSW Program Update

      

Term 1, 2022 started with the promise of resuming regular Sydney programs after all the COVID disruptions of the last 2 years.  Both volunteers and clients were eager to book sails across all programs. No sooner was the calendar live online, than it was fully subscribed!

Up to week 7 of the term, it was smooth sailing. Kayle was heading out with groups, volunteer training was conducted, twilight racing was underway and there were smiles galore! And then, the rains came … and continued to keep coming, resulting in several cancellations.

The good news though is that the sun is back out and so are our groups!

Winds of Change students were finally able to get out and experience the thrill of sailing on the harbour in their fourth week. This was their first ‘real sail’ after their initial preparation sessions getting to know the crew, boat and equipment, safety, and practicing some boat skills.

There was great anticipation with a few nerves thrown in as well when they saw the waves. The sun was shining but the swell was big, as Kayle headed towards the heads tacking all the way through the murky waters after the deluge. The students were being rotated through the different roles on the boat with everyone given the opportunity to helm. The change in confidence and self-assurance throughout this group was inspiring for all on board. The crew worked hard to support and enable the students to be confident and there was a real feeling of ‘I am fearless!’.

Wright of Passage (WoP) is gearing up again now that the Mercator has departed the shores and headed south. They will start restoring a 23ft Blazer called Stealth next term. She’s been neglected for some time, but our small group of volunteers and participants are dedicated to getting her back out on the water. The WoP program is no longer just about a ‘fixer upper’, as term 2 will see the introduction of an environmental component to the activities.

As always, our volunteers are the key to the success of each program and although we were impacted by the weather, the enthusiasm hasn’t been dampened with everyone committed to getting our groups out on the water. We’re always on the lookout for more help with this program, so anyone interested should email Clare.

 

Newcastle - we’re underway!

Newcastle Winds of Joy regular programs set sail for the first time this year aboard WOT EVA. During January, Crew Coordinator Toni Fox, arranged training and boat orientation sessions where an amazing 50 local volunteers signed up to learn the boat and all about Making Waves sailing with skipper Greg Pugh.

The Newcastle program is run on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week and commenced on February 8.

To date there have been 14 sails with 162 passengers, even with a few cancellations due to the inclement weather.

We’re working with a variety of new local schools, disability and disadvantaged organisations with many travelling from regions outside the city for a WOJ sail.

  

 

There are now 35 volunteers actively working through their levels of crew accreditation.

 

It's an exciting time for growth with the Newcastle Program and lots to look forward to over the next few months. We hope to keep building the volunteer skills through training and sails and reaching more groups through various avenues including Sail Port Stephens and The Northern Campaign.


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