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Kielder Water Sailing Club

G1 Sue Fortescue

KWSC member, Sue Fortescue, describes her experience of volunteering for the Paralympic Sailing.

When I applied, in 2010, to be a London 2012 Gamesmaker, I was expecting to be assigned to an airport or a railway station to 'meet & greet' arriving delegates, using my knowledge of French & Italian.

So I was astonished to learn, in April 2012, that I had been assigned to the Paralympics Sailing at Weymouth & Portland to work as a French and Italian interpreter! At that stage I knew nothing at all about sailing, had never even been in a sailing boat. A friend advised me to join a sailing club and recommended KWSC – so, after consulting the website, I emailed Vicky and Julie, and became a member. On my first visit to the Club, I was fortunate to meet Judy Scullion, who is not only a keen sailor, but also speaks very good French and lives close to me in Darlington.

The past couple of months has seen a flurry of activity in the club with a host of new or enhanced Instructor qualifications being gained. We now have a new windsurfing Senior Instuctor, 5 new Dinghy Instructors and 5 new  Powerboat Instructors. Well done to:

Brian Coates - Senior Windsurfing Instructor: Reaching Senior Instructor status is not at all easy – it is a giant leap above Instructor as the few of us having reached that level will know. Courses often have adults in tears with stress! It is an immense achievement, all the greater as Brian has no Windsurf specific experience at this level to call upon from within the club. Very well done indeed.

This landmark now allows us to apply for Windsurf recognition as an RYA Training Centre and add to our Dinghy Sailing, Poweboating and First Aid training. We were never in a position to do this previously as we had no Senior Windsurf Instructor. When we achieve this additional recognition we will be able to run formal courses and issue certificates – a great step forward.

I would also like to thank Ian Fair and sadly, following his untimely passing, Colin Wilkinson, for their support of Brian in his venture. Without the encouragement and support of those around you it is very difficult to push yourself forward to these levels and standards.

I am now appointing Brian as Chief Instructor (Windsurfing) to add to Mike Scott, Chief Instructor (Powerboating) and Julie Gibbon, Chief Instructor (Dinghy) who with myself (Steve Gibbon) as Principal are now responsible for Instructor development and monitoring of the very high standards we set as a training centre.

I welcome the following newly qualified Powerboat Instructors to our team which will now give us more capacity to run courses (which are always over subscribed):

  • Nicky Coates
  • Chris Lawrence
  • David Matthews
  • Rhod Rhodes
  • John Scullion

Well done to all of them. They have all also now sucessfully delivered their first course and received great feedback.

I welcome the following newly qualified Dinghy Instructors to our team to supplement our numbers and help keep up with demand:

  • Graham Thumwood
  • Adrian Langford
  • Vicky Fleming
  • Ollie Brooks
  • Ed Brooks

Well done all. Adrian and Graham will be putting their hard work into action asap. Ed, Ollie and Vicky have some tidy up actions to complete but these are largely a formality and they should be acting as Instructors soon.

Many thanks to all of them for giving up their time and effort and putting up with some stress to get through these exacting courses. It is much appreciated.

Steve Gibbon, RYA Coach Assessor and KWSC Principal, April 2012

Following the bad weather before Christmas which resulted in the abandonment of the RRO Course at the last minute we are pleased to say the course managed to finally run at Scaling Dam SC on 26/27 February. There were 10 attendees coming from as far away as Weymouth as well as a large North East local contingent representing our local clubs including 4 from Kielder.

Many thanks to Henry Wright (National Race Officer) and Adrian Stoggall (Chair RYA Race Management Committee, International and Olympic Race Officer) who not only ran the course but provided us with some excellent insights and stories which made the course so interesting and 'real'.

All 10 attendees attained the CRO+ qualification and are now submitting CVs or working towards gaining the requisite experience for RRO status. Our congratulations therefore go to the following KWSC members who successfully passed the exam for RRO and are now working towards full qualification with relevant experience: Ernie Bennett, Steve Gibbon, Peter Hawkin and Alec Mamwell.

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