The course in short
The two weekend course covers everything from the theory of how a sailing boat moves, through the three simple knots you will need, rigging the boat, getting it away from the beach and back again, capsize drill, going across the wind, towards the wind and away from the wind and how to make the turns to do all that. We also introduce you to the "rules of the road" - what to do when you meet another boat on the water and on the last Sunday you will learn how to start races and compete with other sailors in a series of short races. We teach in English, but you may well find some colourful phrases in Dutch, Luganda and maybe others too, depending on the moment and the instructor.
This is an intensive course and full participation over the two weekends will be required if you are to learn to sail a Laser by the end. If you see from the schedule that you will miss any of the sessions, especially the practical ones at the weekend, because of other commitments, it would be better to delay your start until the next course. We teach in small groups, with a normal maximum on the whole course being fourteen beginners. Although we rope in as many more experienced sailors as we can to help out, we cannot offer the one-to-one tuition that would be required to catch up if one session is missed, the others will have moved on.
The dry sessions
Dry sessions, unless of course it rains on the dash from the car to the pub, will be held on three consecutive Wednesday evenings somewhere in Kampala.Experienced sailors/trainers will talk you through the intracacies of sailing spiced with pictures, animated powerpoints, colourful stories and indian bitings.
You will be given a course book which can be used as a sailing reference book long after the course is finished. If you want to make your own notes please bring paper and pen/pencil.
You pay the waiter cash for any drinks you want, but the VNSC will provide small snacks to keep up the blood sugar needed for the grey matter to work.
The wet sessions
The wet sessions entail two weekends, starting early at Saturday morning and finish at around 5 Sunday afternoon. All participants will be allocated a Laser, and share with 2-3 others a trainer. The wet training will certainly included some involuntary swimming, but after one weekend the Lake dives will reduce and more and more of the wet stuff will come at you as spray.
The wet sessions are carefully put together, from simple straight sailing to making tacks and gybes, sailing around squares, venturing out on the lake in small groups and, at the very end, even doing some short races. During all sessions you will be closely followed and instructed by qualified trainers. Where necessary one-to-one sessions will be given to sort out individual difficulties.
What do you need
You should preferably be able to swim or be confident to float around in the water wearing a buoyancy aid while you remember the lesson in getting the boat back up and you into the boat. We have had non-swimmers learn in the past without problems.
The club has some spare buoyancy aids you may borrow, but your own that is suitable for your shape and weight is obviously going to be more comfortable.
Swimming clothes, and/or shorts and tee shirts. Several dry shirts. You are going to get wet! Shirts with collars save your neck from sunburn, synthetic absorbs less water than cotton, close-fitting doesn't attract bits of boat equipment up the sleeves etc.(I speak from experience). Shorts save your modesty and from "Laser bum" (as above)
I personally find some footwear more comfortable than bear feet, others think differently. Shoes that you slip on will slip off in the water. Best are cheap lace up "daps", or lightweight trainers. Teevers (Rafters) sandals are OK, except the fittings seem to attract ropes.
If you want to wear a baseball cap (good idea), bring a price of string to tie it onto your buoyancy aid.
If you need to wear glasses to see, and cannot get on with contact lenses, make sure your glasses are securely fixed onto your head with cord, they don't float, believe me. Ditto sunglasses, but usually better off without extra things to worry about.
The cost of the course is 550,000 for members and 650,000 for non members. This includes tuition the canoe ferry to and from the club for the two weekends, and all printed handouts/other materials. You will be charged a modest fee for lunches and drinks, but you can also bring your own.
You will be responsible for the boat and it's kit from when it is allocated to you on the Saturday, to when you return it on the Sunday afternoon. The club boats are quite old, and we know what sort of things can go wrong with the older boats as a result of fair wear and tear.
Obviously, irresponsible behaviour or actions against the explicit rules of the instructors causing damage to boats may be invoiced to you.
The courses are held on two consequtive weekends and the three Wednesday evenings before, in between and after these weekends. It is important that you are available for the full four weekend days to have maximum benefit from the course.
Sign up for the course by filling in the online registration form
Please do not hesitate to call or email me with any queries either about the course, clothing or sailing in general.
Looking forward to meeting you soon.
Victoria Nyanza Sailing Club