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Journeys : Apr May 2012
In Tasmania today kids were to have the necessary ‘push’ to continue to sail after the initial learn-to- sail per iod. Working on that premise, the LSC team came up with the idea of building boats in family groups. This moment of brilliance addressed the twin imperatives of getting new families into learn-to-sail programs and also providing a cheap boat for them to learn in. Getting the plan off the ground presented plenty of obstacles for the enthusiastic LSC group. While the plan to get families building boats that they would later use at the club seemed simple enough, choosing a design that was cheap, easy to construct and easy for beginners to sail was quite a challenge. In the end they opted for the Firebug, designed by New Zealanders John Spencer and Peter Tait. The Firebug is a single-handed ply dinghy, 2.4 metres (8 feet) long. It has integral buoyancy and a remarkably roomy cockpit that can accommodate almost anyone, from kids to ample-sized adults. The boat sails well, and with a single sail that can be reefed, it can be set up for any-sized skipper in almost any conditions. Next, enthusiastic families needed to be encouraged to sign up for the program. Shopping centres became the haunt of the LSC team as they displayed a rigged Firebug and passed out f lyers to anybody showing interest. A highly-attractive package was put together. For $1200, a very small price compared to the cost of other similar dinghies, families got all materials required to get the boat, fully-r igged with a sail and alloy spars, finished and on the water. They also were offered 10 free sailing lessons, a free life jacket, subsidised LSC membership, free boat storage for the first season and expert group tuition in boat building from LSC members. The reaction to the offer was remarkable – soon, ten enthusiastic families met for an information night late in August, ready for construction to begin early the follow ing month. Initial construction began inside the LSC clubhouse. As the weather improved, outdoor work began. The club became a hive of busy family groups working away under the watchful supervision of their LSC mentors. Swiftly, the Firebugs began to take shape. Before long, the dinghies were completed, painted, rigged and ready to sail. The big day was special for the families involved and also for club members. Along with the boats built by families, two club-ow ned Firebugs were unveiled and in a moving ceremony they were named Ezza and The Eel as a memorial to young club member Eric Szabo, who had tragically lost his life in a car accident earlier in the year. The program has been so successful that the club is already embarking upon a second round of Firebug building. These boats should be afloat by April 2012. Readers wanting more information about the program, or who wish to participate in future building programs at the club, can visit the club on Sundays during the summer months, or access the club ’s website at w w w.lindisfarnesailingclub.com A poignant mome nt a s The Eel is chri stened by fami ly The building proces s in full swing – LSC clubhouse becomes a boat-building centre Whe re s ailing and moto ring meet! April / May 2012 43
Feb March 2012
Jun Jul 2012