Grade Sixes Set Sail!

This guest post was written by Faith and Jessica.

Hello, visitors to Huzzah!

This year our Grade 6s got the wonderful experience of going sailing. We learned how to tie knots, rig the sails, work together to take the boat down the boat ramp, and get underway. On the water, we learned where the boat goes if you push or pull the tiller bar, how to read the wind, and most challenging of all, how to work as a team.

We had to listen carefully to our instructors

We had to listen carefully to our instructors.

Learning how to attach the sail to the halyard.

Learning how to attach the sail to the halyard.

To make the boat move, you have to have wind, which we had a bit of while we were sailing. We learned that you can’t turn your boat directly into the wind or else your boat will stop moving and you will get stuck. The front tell-tales tell you if your sail is too loose. If they are flapping and going everywhere, that means you should pull in your sail until the tellies are going straight. It’s almost the same thing with the back tell tails. If they are flapping, that means you should loosen the sail until they are going straight with the ones in the front. There are two ways to turn your boat. Into the wind, and away from the wind. Turning into the wind is called tacking and away is called jibing. When you’re tacking, you have to pull your sail in, and when you’re jibing you have to let out your sail.

We had to work as a team to get the boat to the water.

We had to work as a team to get the boat to the water.

Getting right in the water to set sail is cold work!

Getting right in the water to set sail is cold work!

Even on days with little wind, we were able to sail.

Even on days with little wind, we were able to sail.

To finish the three weeks of off, we went to a wonderful beach where our instructors have built a great hangout, the Tiki Hut. On our second-last day we went stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. It was so much fun! (Even though some people fell in multiple times. The water is warmer than usual, we were very lucky.) Stand-up paddle boarding is easier than it looks! All you have to do is kneel on your board, a very sturdy Styrofoam object, and paddle around a bit until you feel like you can switch hands at ease. Then carefully stand up. It’s a little like skiing, because it’s easier to stay on two feet if you a) bend your knees and b) keep your legs not too close together in both sports. Don’t forget about the paddle, though! To paddle correctly, you should have the angle away from you, like you’re looking down a mountain. If it’s backwards, then it will wobble in the water and be harder to control.

A wet suit was a definite benefit!

A wet suit was a definite benefit!

These sit-on kayaks were easy to maneuver.

These sit-on kayaks were easy to maneuver.

Sailing is really fun, but it takes a lot of concentration. All of the grade 6’s had a great time sailing this year. It was a challenging learning experience and I think that everyone will remember the great times that we had sailing. The instructors were really nice and helped us a lot to learn how to sail and be safe on the water.

Readers, do you do any water sports? What is your favourite thing to do on the water? Let us know in a comment!


  1. Hi Mrs. Smith,
    It looks like you guys had an enormous amount of fun! I remember doing sailing last year. I had a wonderful time enjoying being on the water, watching the seals swim around me and on windy days how we got to go so fast. I hope you grade sixes and you had a great time as well.

  2. I remember kayaking it was so much fun. Cant wait to go on more field trios and learning experience. I love to learn.

    ~ Kheton

  3. Hi Ms. Smith,

    I had a lot of fun this year going sailing with the class, but my favorite part was the stand up paddle boarding! It felt like I was surfing, only there were no waves. Do grade 7 students get to do fun things like this too? I sure hope so.


  4. Dear Faith and Jessica,

    I really enjoyed your article on sailing. I love to kayak but have always wanted to try sailing. Maybe next year I will!

    I am a teacher in Greenville NY and I often show your blog as an example to my students. This year seven classes in my school are starting blogs. All my students are very interested in your posts and when we get our blogs up and running I would like them to subscribe to your blog.

    Keep up the good work!

    Mrs. Hollinde

    1. Hello, Mrs. Hollide!

      Sailing is very worthwhile, even if there are some bad days. On our very last session, it was so foggy that boats far away looked like they were floating on nothing. The sun was just able to glow through the clouds and I could look directly at it without burning my eyes. There was next to no wind, but we were happy to drift around a bit, enjoying to view. to me, it was magical.

      My blog is in the sidebar, and you could persuade your students to come on over for a chat and cookies, that would be lovely! Are all of them liking their blogs? Have they got any posts?
      Thank you for visiting+commenting!


  5. Greeting Huzzahnians,
    What a wonderful post! So well-written, Faith and Jessica, and dynamite photos! You are lucky to have had such a great learning experience on the water and to then add to it by writing about it. I have never been sailing, so I really enjoyed learning vicariously through you.
    I do participate in sprint triathlons which involve some swimming. Typically I swim about a quarter mile in my races. I have been competing for about 6 years now, and although I will never be a world-class athlete, I usually finish around 4th or 5th in my age group. I also have a kayak and love to head out in that, but don’t get to do that as often as I’d like. Your post has made me think I am capable of paddle boarding, too, which looked a bit daunting until now. Thank you for instilling some confidence in me!
    I want to also thank your whole class for the lovely birthday wishes! You are a wonderful group of kids taught by a most inspiring teacher. My birthday wish would be to take a field trip to Comox Valley and meet you all in person!
    ~Mrs. Donofrio

    1. Hi Mrs. Donofrio! I am so glad you liked our post! Sailing is so much fun. I sail through the program that they run outside of school and it is a lot of fun. That’s awesome that you participate in sprint triathlons. 6 years…Woah! That’s a really long time, it sounds like a lot of fun! I enjoy kayaking as well. My grandparents own a cabin on a lake and we own a kayak so my mom and I paddle around the lake a lot. My mom has taken up paddle boarding. She was scared at first, but then she really got into it! She actually bought one and goes out to the ocean and paddles sometimes. I hope you had a wonderful birthday!
      Thanks for commenting!

    2. Hi, Mrs. Donofrio!

      We meet again…only on my turf! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on our post! That was the first post I’d ever co-authored, and I think it went pretty well, don’t you? Ms. Smith set up the photos, and I think they really added to the effect. (Thank you, Ms. Smith!)

      I was a little nervous about paddle boarding, too, but once I was on the ocean everything was easy and fluid. Not so fluid I was in the water, though! I thought I was going to be in the water pretty quick, but since I ski, it came naturally to bend my knees and keep my balance. It feels great to have “inspired” someone else to join the paddle boarding craze! I can’t wait for the summer, when I try to convince my parents to at least rent some paddle boards…too bad Winter is just beginning. Here, our Winters are so wet, it wouldn’t make any difference whether you were in the water or not.
      I wish you could come visit us, too. You sound like I nice, funny, interesting person to know! At least we have commenting.


  6. Hi Ms. Smith
    That looks lots of fun, I did it last year too but was in a different group. I go twice a week and Its so fun. I sail a Hobie Cat T2 instead of the waves that they are sailing in the pictures, Its a bigger boat. I used to sail the Hobie Cat waves last year but just moved up this year.

    1. Hi Amy, I hear the courses you take for sailing are a lot of fun. Will you start competing soon? I actually prefer being on the water rather than in the water–I jailed with Mrs. VanderRee during the summer of 2013. We went up to Haida Gwaii and the experience was amazing. My husband had a Hobie Cat 16′, but I have only been on the Waves. Thanks for commenting!
      ~ Ms. Smith

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