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SAILS at Bayside - Sailing Open Day

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by Rob Rimmer (subscribe)
A freelance writer and father of two, I am interested in almost anything the ever-changing city of Brisbane has to offer. When I am not seeking the kid-friendly and affordable, I am tracking the home-grown and the unique... Come and discover with me!
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You cannot change the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

Dare to leave the shore...

The origin of the above proverb may be unknown, but if the number of nationalities who claim it as their own is any indication—Nigerian, Norwegian, Spanish to name a few—then these few words would seem to speak a universal truth. During a Sailing and Kayaking Open Day with SAILS (Sailing Adventures in Life Skills) at Bayside, you and your family can in some small way experience this truth for yourselves, and at the same time make contact with an organisation which is helping to give thousands of marginalised Queenslanders the skills required to set their sails appropriately for whatever winds of chance or circumstance may blow through their lives, and to navigate a course towards their dreams through fair weather or foul.

Preparations to embark with SAILS

In a friendly, relaxed and safe atmosphere, SAILS Bayside places kayaking and sailing within reach of those for whom these two peaceful yet exhilarating activities might otherwise be prohibitively expensive, thus offering families of all descriptions the chance to try something new and positive together. For a mere $5 per person, SAILS offers you four hours of near-unlimited paddling on one of their 11 sit-on-top kayaks, and as many 2-3 person rides on one of their four catamarans as can be effectively shared in this time-period among all participants. Organisational and safety standards are very high, with life-jackets provided, experienced skippers on each catamaran, a certified Kayak Lifeguard on patrol at all times, and a powered rescue boat ready to assist at the first sign of trouble.

Safe and sunny within the shelter of the Breakwater

All of these Blue Card-accredited volunteers are in constant radio contact with their counterparts on shore, who include among their number qualified Senior First Aid officers, competent organisers who will point you in all the right directions with a minimum of fuss, and some masterful sausage sizzlers for those who have worked up an appetite in the salt air.

Peter, Barbara and Charles - three of the friendliest sailing companions you are likely to meet.

Behind the fun and friendship of a SAILS Bayside Sailing Open Day lies a real and active commitment to the less fortunate in our society. SAILS Bayside, an outreach arm of the Anglican Churches of Wynnum, Manly, and Waterloo Bay (Cleveland), itself forms part of a larger Anglican SAILS group whose many and varied activities cover an area from the Tweed Coast to Maroochydore. Over the last fourteen years, SAILS has developed from the singular vision of Anglican Church Army adherent Russell McClue, who saw in the traditions of Sail Training an opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of marginalised youth, and began taking Gold Coast teenagers at risk of "slipping through the social cracks" for life-affirming adventures on his sailing vessel the "Matt C".

The "Matt C", and fun on the beach

Since that time, SAILS has grown into a thriving organisation, with chapters in Tweed Heads, the Gold Coast, Logan, Wynnum-Manly and the Sunshine Coast hosting a diverse range of nautical and land-based activities including extended sailing and camping trips, government-accredited Certificate training programs in Mechanics and Boat-Building, School Holiday and Creative Arts Programs, and Life Skills Mentoring Programs.

SAILS locations

At the same time, SAILS' reputation for making positive interventions in the lives of youth who struggle to find support and guidance within conventional educational and family systems has gained clear and substantial recognition from the local communities within which it operates. In 2005, SAILS received the Gold Coast City Council's Community Safety Best Program Award; while in 2006 SAILS founder Russell McClue was recognised with an Australia Day award for Gold Coast Citizen of the Year, and a Queensland Day Award for his services to the State.

Russell McClue (left) on the "Matt C"

In keeping with the values of its sister organisations in other parts of the State, SAILS Bayside not only offers Sailing Open Days in affiliation with the Brisbane City Council's Active Parks and Chill Out Programs, but also hosts Closed Events in conjunction with Community Youth Support Organisations and local schools, "The Loft" Boat-Building Certificate Training Program, and—in conjunction with the Redlands City Council—"Lights@Bayside" glow-stick and poi-twirling nights at local parks in the Bayside area. During Sailing Open Days, SAILS welcomes all interested participants regardless of background, with the understanding that preference is given in all cases to young families and young people who may never have tried kayaking or sailing before.

SAILS Bayside's next Sailing Open Day will be held at Raby Bay in Cleveland from 10am until 2pm on Saturday April 14th at Foreshore Park on Masthead Drive, and will be followed by a Redland Youth Week Event—free for anyone aged 12-25 years—at the same location and during the same hours, on April 20th. The minimum age for participation is five, bookings are essential, and Open Events affiliated with the Brisbane City Council attract a fee of $5 payable upon arrival.

Prepared for paddling with one of SAILS Bayside's high-quality kayaks.

For more information regarding SAILS Bayside's April 14th Sailing Open Day, click here, and for pre-registration click here.

For more information regarding the SAILS Bayside's Redland Youth Week Event, click here.

See you out on the water...
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Why? For a relaxing and safe introduction to kayaking and catamaran-sailing for ages 5 and up.
When: Next event 10 am - 2pm April 14th (Cleveland).
Where: Breakwater Park, Wynnum; Foreshore Park, Raby Bay, Cleveland.
Cost: $5 per person
Your Comment
Thanks Rob - We had fun with SAILS down at Brunswick Heads last year too - highly recommended.
by Lucy (score: 3|1157) 3036 days ago
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