School sailing club
School sailing club

Students seas the day with school sailing program

A first of its kind school sailing program in Brisbane is helping to train up the next generation of sailors. More than 1000 kids have already been through the unique program.

The Year 4 Gumdale State School student is one of more than 1000 to take part in the bayside school's pioneering sailing program, believed to be the only one of its kind in Australia.

The program, launched four years ago, is taught as part of the school's PE curriculum by professional sailing instructors at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.

Gumdale State School Year 4 students Arthur Franjou and Ace Prater on the water. Picture: Renae Droop
Gumdale State School Year 4 students Arthur Franjou and Ace Prater on the water. Picture: Renae Droop

Once a week, students from Year 2 to 6 hit the water at Manly Boat Harbour in an Optimist - a small, single-handed sailing dinghy.

While it is not compulsory, Gumdale State School's head of PE James Doherty said about 95 per cent of students have grasped the opportunity with both hands.

Gumdale State School PE teacher and sailing co-ordinator James Doherty. Picture: Renae Droop
Gumdale State School PE teacher and sailing co-ordinator James Doherty. Picture: Renae Droop

Mr Doherty said by getting children out of the classroom and onto the water, the program was teaching them much more than sailing.

"It's great for their self esteem, their resilience," Mr Doherty said.

"They're by themselves so they have to solve the issues. They don't have a teacher standing over them - they've got to figure it out."

Year 4 student Grant Gaka. Picture: Renae Droop
Year 4 student Grant Gaka. Picture: Renae Droop

The young sailors finish the program with a Tackers 3 completion certificate and the course culminates with a regatta on Moreton Bay.

This year, the school has launched an elite squad of 10 students.

Gumdale State School sailing program at the Royal Qld Yacht Squadron. Thursday, June 27, 2019. Grade 4 Gumdale State School students are excited to get sailing. (AAP Image/Renae Droop)
Gumdale State School sailing program at the Royal Qld Yacht Squadron. Thursday, June 27, 2019. Grade 4 Gumdale State School students are excited to get sailing. (AAP Image/Renae Droop)

The group will compete in the Queensland Youth Sailing Championships at Yepoon in September.

The squadron's sailing academy co-ordinator Katy Jones said Gumdale State School was "very unique" in their program.

"Other schools might offer learn to sail lessons, but nothing to this extent," she said.

Gumdale State School’s Ella Endacott and Madeline Woods. Picture: Renae Droop
Gumdale State School’s Ella Endacott and Madeline Woods. Picture: Renae Droop

Ms Jones said it was great to see such "high activity" breathing life into the bay during the week.

"It's really good to see the new level of grassroots sailors coming through," she said.

"I just think it's so cool that we live so close to the water and a school is taking the opportunity to use it."