The Press Office regularly publishes ‘Spotlights’. These are articles on areas of Eton life that those outside of the school might not know much about. This week, Zac tells us about sailing.
Despite sailing being one of the success stories for Team GB in the Tokyo Olympics and despite GB finishing as the top sailing nation for the fifth time in six Olympics, it can appear as if there are limited opportunities to try out this exciting and growing sport, especially at school level.
At Eton we are lucky to be able to access a fantastic sailing programme. Many pupils may have tried their hand at the sport during Year 9 Minor Sports at the Queen Mother Reservoir – only a 20-minute drive from school. There is, however, the opportunity to continue sailing into Year 10 and beyond. The school is very fortunate to have access to the outstanding facilities and wide range of boats at Datchet Sailing Club. We also are coached by helpful, fully-qualified instructors who have years of sailing experience under their belts.
Most pupils begin their sailing career in smaller boats, like Toppers, and then progress to sail in a number of larger, quicker boats, such as Laser 2000s. The ambition of the club is to coach pupils to obtain their RYA Level Qualifications, with the ultimate goal of becoming a fully-qualified dinghy instructor. You can also complete a powerboating license with the club, for those who prefer diesel power to wind. These are very useful qualifications to have, providing many applications beyond school life.
It is very much up to the pupils what they want to get out of their sailing experience at Eton. You can have a relaxing sail under the guidance of the instructors at Datchet Sailing Club. Or, if you want to compete, you can join the race team who are coached to compete in regattas against other schools.
The club currently has strong numbers with 33 pupils sailing, but is always looking for more members. As it is a Minor Sport, commitment can be flexible, so there is no need to worry if you play rugby or football – you can still come along!