Students set sail for fun and life skills

Students from Carinity Education Rockhampton took to the waters off Yeppoon to learn a little about sailing – and a lot about themselves.

Fifteen junior school students swapped the classroom for the ocean to set sail on Wings of Joy’s 52-foot racing yacht, the KAYLE, on Rosslyn Bay.

Operated by Sailors with disABILITIES, the Winds of Joy program offers students a chance to learn basic sailing skills and experience first-hand practical solutions to new challenges in a safe and encouraging environment.

Carinity Education Rockhampton Principal Lyn Harland says Winds of Joy is a “wonderful opportunity” for students to “take part in an operation much larger than themselves”.

“By engaging in teamwork and the articulation of new skills in the world of sailing students are able to push themselves in areas of learning not readily available for them during a normal school day,” Lyn said.

“Being able to put into practice boating skills learnt on the day helps to encourage self-belief by realising they are capable young individuals that need to embrace opportunities where possible.”

Casting off from Keppel Bay Marina, it was the first time some of the students had been on a boat and, despite small bouts of sea sickness, they thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“This was my first time going on a sailing boat. I was so scared at first but was fine when we got out of the harbour,” student Kaytaya Bujayer said.

Jesse Billington enjoyed a “pretty fun day” with a “really nice crew and awesome weather” while Loreen Johnson enjoyed learning sailing skills.

“I had a fun day, I enjoyed sailing the boat and tacking and also doing the knots,” Loreen said.

Sailors with disABILITIES was formed after the first fully disabled crew to sail in an open ocean race competed in the 1994 Sydney to Hobart event.

Founder David Pescud says the sailing experience encourages people with a disability or those in challenging circumstances to see themselves in a new way and show them what they’re capable of.

“Through sailing, people start to forget about what they can’t do, and concentrate on what they can. For some, it’s the first step towards accepting their circumstances and believing they can achieve more,” David says.

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