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Young sailors pass course with flying colours

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Young sailors pass course with flying colours

A SQUAD of four young people are to take an active role in the future of Annan harbour after training to Royal Yachting Association standards.

They learned how to skipper a powerboat and will play a role at events such as next month’s coastal rowing race.
Speaking after the training at Loch Ken on Saturday and Sunday, Annan Harbour Action Group secretary Alan Savage said: “It was really good to see the sense of achievement that each young adult had when they got their RYA Powerboat Driving Licence — they actually get a physical licence with their photograph on it.
“For me, it was really the sense of achievement they all felt when they were given that, that they’d really completed something good — because only one of the four had been on a small boat before.”
Funding delivered by Annan Rotary and the now defunct Friends of Annandale and Eskdale Museums had allowed the action group to deliver the training.
And volunteering to take up the opportunity were Benjamin Harrop, Ben Creighton, Rachel Deer and Kara Newlands, aged 16 to 18 and from Annan and Cummertrees.
But Alan said: “For us it’s not just about participation with safety boats, it’s about actually becoming a full volunteer member in the harbour action group so that we can start to listen to the views and opinions of the young people.”
The volunteers spent the weekend at Galloway Activity Centre learning how to safely handle different types of boats at low and fast speed, anchoring, mooring, retrieving a man overboard, getting wet and cold and are now all qualified powerboat handlers.
All of the group passed with flying colours and will next take to the water to gain more experience on Saturday May 7 for the third annual coastal rowing event, the ‘Bell Ringers Raid’, from Annan Harbour across the Solway Firth to Bowness on Solway and back.
The young volunteers will spend time consolidating what they’ve learnt over the next few months, under the close supervision of qualified adult group members, and will then take on the demanding Safety Boat course around the end of July.
The action group are hoping to repeat the training opportunity next year for up to six volunteers.