ICS - Inspiring a love of sailing for young people age 7-16
ICS - International Competitive Sailing - run courses for all levels, from complete beginners to advanced race training. Courses are structured so that skippers are arranged into small groups of similar abilities.
Sailing and Swimming ability requirements
For Optimist Courses:
No minimum sailing or swimming experience is required (buoyancy aids are worn at all times), and there is no requirement to belong to a sailing club. Age minimum 7, maximum 14. Maximum weight: 55 kgs. There are up to seven ability groups on each course accommodating skippers with little or no sailing experience all the way up to those with extensive racing experience. These are guidelines and there are always exceptions, please email the principal if you have any questions.
For Topper Courses:
No minimum swimming experience is required (buoyancy aids are worn at all times), though we do not take total beginners in the Topper class so a minimum requirement of RYA level 1 plus some further sailing experience is required for all Topper sailors. There is no requirement to belong to a sailing club. Age minimum 13, maximum 17. Maximum weight: 65 kgs. Max height 170cm. There are up to five ability groups on each course accommodating skippers from intermediate level to advanced race training.
These are guidelines and there are always exceptions, please email the principal if you have any questions.
NB: If a skipper can’t swim they must wear a full life-jacket (rather than a buoyancy aid) at all times when on or near the water.
Syllabus and awards
The standard course duration is five days (four for courses running either side of the Easter weekend).The syllabuses are moderately intensive and include ‘homefun’ each evening. It is therefore not inadvisable for parents to schedule other evening activities during the week of their child’s course.
Two award schemes are run concurrently on the Optimist course: the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Junior Award Scheme and the International Optimist Class Association (IOCA) Award Scheme. For the Topper course we just use the RYA scheme. The syllabuses include a capsize exercise. All awards are given only when required levels of skill or competence are reached. We do not give ‘attendance certificates’.
Instructors and Staff
We draw on a corps of experienced instructors who are conversant with our teaching methods. New staff are briefed before hand and will be teamed up with staff who have worked for us before. For the typical number of fifty six children on a course there is a staff of around twenty including fourteen instructors, giving us a ratio of 1:4. Two instructors are allocated to each group, at least one of whom (usually both) holds the qualification ‘RYA Dinghy Instructor’. There are, on average, eight children in each group. There are at least two RYA Senior instructors on site and almost everyone holds a valid first aid certificate.
An Optimist/Topper dinghy must be provided for each child, with a trolley if possible. To help parents of beginners who cannot provide a boat, ICS arranges the hire of Royal Yachting Association regional ‘Oppies’, charged per boat per course. These abrasion resistant boats are a bit slower than real Optimists but are eminently suitable for beginners and intermediates.
Parents, family, and friends are invited to attend on the last day of the course at 3.45 pm to watch the sailing and attend the presentation of awards, after which tea is served.
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