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Tell Tales

RQ2 – Girl in Pink: by Ellie Engwirda Robinson (8 Years)

Boat Control!

Sailing is all about control. A little tweak here and there and you can make the boat go fast or slow whichever is needed for the moment.

To de-power your sail you can release the main sheet, pull on the sprit, a little outhaul and yank on the vang or take out the sprit. The sail should look flat. With not much sprit there will be a crease and that’s not a good looking sail.

To power up in light wind can be difficult. This is how I would tackle it. I would sit forward in the boat, pull the sprit on and put in 3 or 4 twists.

Where the wind is pointing from is called the no go zone. If you are going up wind, don’t point into the no go zone or there will be NO GO! To go slow up wind do little movements across the wind. If you want to slow down on a reach you can let go of your mainsheet.

To go really fast downwind (which is what I like doing), you should have your boom all the way out. To slow down going down wind pull on your mainsheet. It will make steering harder because you might gybe.

These are the things that we went through with our coach Mel, boat control and seating position in different wind conditions. All this theory should help us control our boats.


Tegwen Creber – Sailing in Light Winds 

Hi, Tegwen again, this week is about light winds. Light winds are annoying, for me anyway.

There are many funny stories about me sailing in light winds, but I’m not going to tell you. What I am going to tell you is how to set up your so you don’t have any funny stories yourself.

The key thing is in light winds you want your vang and outhaul pretty lose not really slack, just lose. The thing my instructors say (hi Mel and Simone) is would you rather catch water with a plastic bag or plastic sheet. This relates to sailing because in light winds there isn’t a lot of wind, so you need that plastic bag look to catch wind. Your sprit shouldn’t be so lose as there’s an ugly crease, it should actually be pretty tight, but not REALLY REALLY tight.

Another annoying thing is when the wind just dies. Now I know you can’t control nature, but what you CAN do is look where it’s more ripplely in the water, then there’s more wind. Bye for now

Tegwen Creber – Boat Maintenance, more important than you think!  

Tegwen here. Today I’ll be talking about boat maintenance. Now some of you might be like “Meh so what?”. Well dear reader, boat maintenance is more important than you would think, in fact it can cost you the whole race if your boat isn’t properly maintained.

Now I’m talking about things like cleaning your boat and checking all your ropes and air bags, and just making sure everything runs correctly. Cleaning your boat? Well imagine your have to walk through mud everyday to get home, and you weren’t allowed to have a shower, that would be very annoying for you as well as unhygienic wouldn’t it? Same for your boat, if you don’t clean it salt starts to crust your boat which could be uncomfortable if you sat down, it could also seize your pulleys and knots, and foul your ropes and sail.

Maintenance could reduce the chance of something happening while you’re out on the water, such as your mainsheet pulley jamming in the middle of tack (happened to me once, not fun at all!) In a nutshell maintenance is incredibly important if you want to win a race.

RQ2 – Girl in Pink: by Ellie Engwirda Robinson (8 Years)

Seating Position – Hike It!

On Friday night we learnt about seating positions in our Optimists. Our Senior Opti Coach Mel gave us questions and she and Simone the Green-fleet coach helped us answer them. This is what we learnt.

Seating position when:
On an upwind course –
– I would sit forward on the hull.

In light wind –
– I would sit on the thwart (the cross bar in the boat), with my knees together.

In strong wind –
– I would have my bottom out, hiking on the side of the boat (that’s my feet under the hiking strap, leaning all my weight out), shoulders out flat.

On the downwind leg –
– I sit on my side like a running start with my hips facing forward (in both light and strong wind).

On a reach (where you are going across the wind) –
– I sit the same way as I do on a upwind leg.

This are some of the things we were taught on Friday night Opti training class. This is really helpful information, as it helps us the next day in our Green-fleet races. It helps us to improve our skills and become knowledgeable and ultimately competitive.

It’s also fun because mum buys us an iced chocolate and we get to play with our friends.

RQ2 – Girl in Pink: by Ellie Engwirda Robinson (8 Years)

Keeping it Upright!

In heavy conditions it’s very likely that you will capsize. When a boat turns turtle (that’s flipping right over) it’s harder to get it back upright.  To right the boat you will need to push down on the centre board that sticking out until it flips back. All you need to do now is a lot of balancing and baling!

Tacking and gybing are quite different. Tacking is into the wind and a Gybe is where the wind is behind you.

A tack is made of sequences.

  1. First set up to change sides then push the tiller away in the direction needed
  2. Remember to duck the boom before it slams into you.
  3. Change sides, mainsheet and tiller hands do a sort of cross over
  4. Once settled on the other side swop your tiller hand and main sheet hand
  5. Get the main sheet on and go!

Gybing is where you check your vang, make a decision and pull the tiller towards you.

  1. First set up to change sides then move the tiller in the direction needed
  2. Remember to do a controlled gybe to make sure the boom doesn’t slams across, as we don’t want to break gear or get hit!
  3. Upright, keep sailing and keep smiling

When you come back from sailing first you de-rig your boat, de-brief and sign off.  We love to go home and have long hot showers to get the crusty, salt monster waves off.

RQ2 – Girl in Pink: by Ellie Engwirda Robinson (8 Years)

Thrills and Spills!

This week in Green Fleet we practised our race start sequences. The breeze was gusting 16 knots but it was dropping…

The waves were little but they came with huge blankets of spray, as everyone got completely drenched. The sailors got buckets and buckets of water in their boats like a bath tub, because as they were hiking the breeze would drop, the boats would flop and water gushed over the sides. There were many capsizes but the coaches assisted in getting the boats back upright.

When we got back everyone was tired. Debrief was excellent, the coaches complimented us on how well we had done.  My after sailing iced chocolate was definitely deserved this week!

Fantastic First Regatta 

Hi, I’m Tegwen (Taywin). I’ve been sailing for three years, I’m also in Green fleet. Last week I competed in the QLD State Optimist Championships, (my first regatta!). I really loved the Championships at R.Q.Y.S, the instructors were excellent, they’re fun, but experienced, and the course wasn’t that hard. It’s just about focusing and strategising. Also my fellow competitors were nice and sociable (saving the competition for later). I learned a lot there, like how crucial it is to set the outhaul and vang just right. I think a lot of people felt the same, because I saw a lot of smiles and I heard a lot of laughter. At the presentations there wasn’t a lot of tension, unlike in other sporting events. Here it was more like ” Oh you got Tenth, good job,” (which I did). I think that concludes my experience at the QLD  State Optimist Championships. If you sail an Opti I would definitely recommend competing in this Championship. Bye for now.


RQ2 – Girl in Pink: by Ellie Engwirda Robinson (8 Years)

Five, Four, One, GO!

Under the translucent blue sky, the water was sparkling and the young sailors were rigging their Opti sail boats excitedly.  The atmosphere of the rigging area was full of static. The noise of the sails crackled, the thud of the centre boards and rudders sliding into their slots was like thunder. The mainsheets flogging in the wind made a clinking sound like plates smashing.  It was a race to launch at the sloping, ramp.  As soon as they hit the water, they bolted for the bay. It was the start of the Optimist Queensland State and Open Championship 2017.

Day one – DUN dun DAR!!!!


They couldn’t wait to get on the water. It was a perfect day to go sailing, the sun was gleaming brightly. Some of the competitors were excited and others a little nervous. Tegwen Creber RQYS Green-fleet on the Opti ‘Olympic Dream’ is a seasoned green-fleet racer. She was prepared for the days racing and was looking forward to the triangle course that was set.  Tegwen said “I’m feeling pretty good. It’s just like the racing I’ve been doing in the past few weeks except now, I am feeling a little bit more professional”. She felt she had a tactical advantage as she was well prepared and she was in the zone.

Hannah Schweizer from Club Humpybong in her Opti ‘Hamburg Express’ was anticipating an exciting day. Hannah has spent time preparing her rig for the race. She was happy with her settings for the light conditions. She thought she’d do well and come between 5 -10th in the fleet because as Hannah declared “she has a really good boat and it goes really fast.”  Hannah revealed that she had been inspired by her brother to go sailing, as it looked like fun.  Hannah thought racing was the most exciting thing about sailing as she “loves being on the water”.

Green fleet had a triangle course with a 5, 4, 1 minute start with pennants (which are the code of signals for the starting sequence) and a lot of on-water coaches. Everyone gave it a good crack. The weather was light but everyone made it over the finish line.

Day two –


The sky was cloudless and the water was a blue, washy, swirl with tiny white boats speeding around. The conditions were much heavier for the fleet of 57, on the second day of the State Titles and the changing conditions challenged the young sailors.


Jasmin Young from RQYS sailing in ‘Cool Running’ is a confident Open Fleet sailor, she came second overall, an impressive result. Nothing broke on the boat and family helped with any running repairs between races. Jasmin was inspired by her Dad to get into sailing. She said “Sailing is the best sport in the world and there is nothing more fun than sailing”. Jasmin revealed that she has been sailing her boat since 2013 and this was her last State Titles in Optimists. Jasmin is moving on to another class of boat, she will definitely be someone to look for in competitions in the future.

Yael O’Hagan from RQYS sailing in her new boat ‘Paris’ found the conditions heavy on the second day.  Yael was happy with her results considering she had never sailed in Intermediate Fleet before.

The first girl in Green Fleet, Stephanie Lincolin in ‘Flower Power’ representing RQYS was proud of her results. Stephanie said “it was her best result so far”. She was hoping to replicate the success she had in the Nationals, which was winning the Measurers Prize. Stephanie said she had made a big effort, as the wind conditions were 15 knots and gusting higher from time to time, which made for thrilling sailing.

It was a wonderful regatta with the parents helping to rig the boats. Thank you to all the competitors that came and the coaches and volunteers that assisted, both days were great. As one of the competitors said “there is nothing more fun than sailing”.


Capsizing Conundrum: by Tegwen Creber

Heya, Tegwen here again. This week I’m talking about capsizing. Some of you might might be like: Yay! Capsizing and some of you might be like: What is capsizing? For those who don’t know capsizing is basically when the boat tips over submerging the sail. Anyway this week as I was training I kept capsizing and I was getting super annoyed, wouldn’t you?

Afterwards I talked with my dad about it and I realised it was my fault. I shifted my sail too much and that shifted my centre of power (where the wind pushes the sail) and that caused it to come on top of me. Now keep in mind this was in heavy winds (it was really windy) and in heavy winds you want to be precise with your sail and you rudder (the bit you steer with, it goes at the back).

Sometimes capsizing can be fun, but it’s not if you’re racing and almost to the start line. I guess what you and l can take away from this is that you have to be precise with the movement of the sail and the rudder. That’s all for now bye! Regards Tegwen

RQ2 – Girl in Pink: by Ellie Engwirda Robinson (8 Years)

RQ2 Girl in Pink

Rigging Your Boat

Rigging your boat properly is an important part of sailing. If the boat is not rigged correctly you could break something on the water or have trouble sailing.  The sprit position and tension is important.  You must have it on the correct side and if you don’t have the sprit pulled on properly, the sail will sag and the wind will make the sail too full.  Which makes the boat and sail hard to handle.




Rig your boat:

  • Find your boat
  • Lay out your sail to rig
  • Put your sprit on the correct side and pull it on
  • Put the mast into the slot and check the rake
  • Tighten your vang
  • If lots of wind tighten your outhaul, pull it on until the sail flattens
  • If there’s not much wind release the out haul
  • Remember your centreboard and rudder
  • Finally check your bungs, sail ties and detangle your main sheet.

Launch the boat, say bye to mum and have fun!

RQ2 – Girl in Pink: by Ellie Engwirda-Robinson (8yrs)


The breeze was light but I was fast!

Last week Green Fleet was racing in only 5 to 8 knots. Racing in light breezes is harder to sail for heavier people, but easier for lighter sailors. In light winds to become faster you will need to release the out hall.

Once the winds pick up, pull the out hall on to make the sail flat. I like to be fast in light winds because there’s no waves and you can get places quickly without capsizing.

Sailing in the bay is lots of fun. It’s more fun than sailing in the marina. When we race, we always have a 5 minute countdown and always race 3 times. As there was no waves on the tranquil bay, the tiny white sail boats skittishly skipped across the mottled, blue wake made by the Instructors bright red boats.

A challenging but rewarding sailing journey: by Tegwen Creber

Hi I’m Tegwen (sounds like Taywin) and I’ve been sailing for three years. I’m in green fleet and I want to talk about my sailing journey.

I really enjoy sailing because it’s fun and you logically think about it E.g; you would have to think about things like the position of the boom (a metal bar at the bottom of the sail) the wind direction and speed and the current and of course other boats or marks.

It also demands maturity and concentration, otherwise you’re in the water a lot more instead of in the boat! If anything you also need fast reflexes unless you want to find out why the Boom is called the Boom!

RQ2 – Girl in Pink: by Ellie Engwirda-Robinson (8yrs)

Ellie epitomises the purpose of the Tackers program; completing Tackers 1, 2 and 3 with such success that she is now excelling in Green Fleet and well on her way to be a formidable competitive sailor – demonstrated by her first place position in the Poly Opti points score!

The waves claw at the rocks and small, grey boats slice through the crumbling swell as we exit the harbour, 24 or more kids compete in the Opti / Green Fleet races.

In Green Fleet, we have numbers on our sails to tell who has won the race. In races there is usually lots of wind, so when we curve round the mark (a bright coloured buoy) we almost capsize. We have to lean out as far as we can to stop it from turning turtle.

Sailing is a great sport to play, it gets you off the couch. When you get out of the marina, that’s when all the really fun stuff happens.

Green Fleet – by Evie Engwirda-Robinson

Green Fleet Evie 1

Green fleet sailing is all about race training and an introduction to competition. After Green fleet on Fridays, we normally go swimming or sneak a slushy when Mum’s not looking. On hot days, when there’s no wind, capsize training is great fun. When the wind is fizzing and the waves are big, that’s when the real fun starts. When you’re sitting on the gunnel (the side of the boat) and you can lean out, using the tiller extension without thinking that the boat is going to tip.

I’ve come so far, my Mum says and all of the coaches are really encouraging. Come and join us!

RQ2 – by Ellie Engwirda-Robinson

RQ2 Girl in Pink 2

Green Fleet is a great chance to learn to sail and make new friends. It will teach you how to race. There are 3 stages of first time boat training, Tackers 1, 2 and 3. Once these are complete a young sailor can go up to Green fleet and become a member of the RQYS.

The yacht (yot) club provides everything including boats, sails and coloured hats. The hats have certain colours for different stages of tackers sailing. At the Club café you can buy water bottles and delicious snacks to take in your boat.