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In the first week of the summer holidays, 22 students went to the UK Sailing Academy (UKSA) on the Isle of Wight to enjoy some dinghy sailing. We sailed boats from small single− and double-handers to large yachts and catamarans. On the first day, after a warm welcome from the UKSA team, we were given wetsuits and buoyancy aids and went straight off to do some kayaking. Everybody paired up and went into the sea, playing some fun activities.

The next morning, after breakfast, we were organised into groups according to our abilities; a beginner group, an intermediate group and an advanced group. The next two days were spent sailing, using different boats in each group. Each day had an evening activity: Sunday we played games in the pool on site, racing each other, competing to make the biggest splash and enjoying a frenetic game of water polo. On Monday it was an educational visit to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), where they talked us through some of their procedures and taught us some new knots.

On Tuesday, all the groups except the advanced group went keelboating. Keelboats are very interesting and are considerably bigger than most of the boats we used. The evening activities on Tuesday were raft building and crabbing. Both teams had intriguing rafts which took a lot of teamwork to build, and then in pairs we went crabbing, using bacon to lure the crabs. The crabs were then put back into the sea and there was some warm hot chocolate (for us, not the crabs) and a quiz night. The next day, the advanced group went keelboating whereas the other two groups did dinghy sailing. As the evening activity, we all went to the beach and played some action-packed games, including obstacle courses. After the games, we were allowed to do as we pleased. A group of the boys created ‘Mordor’ out of sand whereas some went into the sea.

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Thursday was the last day of sailing, so we made sure we enjoyed it. After a long day, everyone went to the Needles to see the amazing view and the place where they tested rockets! On the final day, everyone said goodbye to UKSA and went into Cowes to buy mementos from the shops. As a special thank you, the older boys organized gifts by collecting money from all the students so they could buy presents for the teachers: Mr Davies, Mr Wallington-Smith and Miss Kamperis. Miss Kamperis was given a piece of rope and a captain’s hat as it was her first time sailing. Mr Wallington-Smith was given his own dry bag as he was always borrowing Mr Davies’ dry bag. And Mr Davies was given a book of Ways to Succeed at Sailing due his repeated losses racing Mr Wallington-Smith. A huge thank you to all the teachers, and the UKSA staff, for an amazing week and a great start to the summer holidays.