I will admit when I was first asked if I wanted to do the FairWinds.ie sailing programme I was unsure about the whole thing. I had never sailed before and didn’t know if I wanted to start. I thought it over and decided to give it a chance.

On my first day out I was a little bit timid and unsure of what to do with myself but then I started talking to the instructors. They were extremely welcoming and reassuring. They promised me I would enjoy sailing. They weren’t wrong! We were given wet gear and sent out on the boats with an instructor. On my first day out it wasn’t windy which was actually very good because we got to get used to being on the boat, and we started learning words like genoa (front sail), the tiller, starboard and port. We learned about the dangers of the boom. We learned which ropes were connected to what. The first day was a day full of learning.

The next week we set sail for the first time. We learned to tack and how to put up the sails and how to put them away. All through the course we began learning more and more and eventually we started racing. That’s when the real fun started. By the end of the first course I had learned so much and knew that I loved sailing.

As the week flew by I began to miss sailing more and more. Then I heard the great news that the course was starting again. I was delighted by this news and knew straight away I was going to do the second course. As the starting date of the second course neared I became more and more excited. When the first day came around I was ready to go out again.

The second course again went very fast. We learned so much again and this course was more advanced. We learned things like how to pick up the buoy when moving, we learned how to read the wind, we learned who had the right of way when boats are coming toward each other. We done a lot of racing. This second part of the course was amazing. It was enjoyable and I learned so much.

As it was nearing the end we got the unique chance to go on a bigger boat and go out on the sea at Rosses Point. We all got our gear on and eagerly waited to board the boat. We soon set sail to a beautiful sight of the vast ocean ahead. Everyone was doing their jobs when we heard the shout of someone saying they saw a dolphin. Everyone eagerly looked around and we got the amazing chance to see four bottle nosed dolphins up close. They played around the boat for a while and eventually swam away. This was an amazing and unique chance. We slowly made our way back in while keeping an eye out for more dolphins!

Over all the sailing course was an amazing experience. I would recommend it to anyone that would have an interest in outdoor activity. It was one of the best experiences of my life!

– Chloe Convey