This last weekend the children at SailFirst took a break from winter maintainence to start looking towards the sailing season and learn a bit more about sailing and racing rules.
The first task was a scavenger hunt to provide material to make ten model boats. Each boat had to be of similar size, with a mast and sail. suggested material , were cardboard for the hulls, wire or twigs for the masts and plastic for the sails. A search around the warehouse produced the top of a cardboard box which was cut into ten pieces. The masts presented a problem until the kids found and unauthorised rubbish dump. this produced lots of material most of which was rejected apart from drinking straws. The straws had bendy tops which when bent over looked like a sprit on an optimist.
The children to the SailFirst facility cleaned off their shoes and the treasured straw and set to work each building a boat. the hulls where shaped with a pointed bow to provide better indication as to the direction the "boat" was sailing. It was decided a sail was not needed, because once the straws were cut in half and the end pushed into a hole made in the hull, the "sprit" would indicate the position of the sail.
A wind direction indicator was made from another piece of cardboard along with marker bouys and a beach. I then set up various scenarios :-
* best direction to leave the beach with different wind directions
* start line position ten, five, two, one before the start and when the gun goes
Pupils were free to place their boat in any position, choose which direction they were pointing and trim the sails, I then discussed the movement of each boat in turn. Some of the results were amazingly true with boats making no progress due to pointing into the wind or sailing backwards, which is what they had been doing last season:)
We also covered the Collision regulations and other racing rules, rounding marks, luffing and penalty turns.
All in all a good day and we will surely use the models again. It was suggested that we should purchase models however making models provides more fun.