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Lucy Hoyle

Lucy, 18, joined a Flying Fish Dinghy Instructor Fast-track in Vassiliki. In her own words:

I had an amazing time, learnt lots and now I am an RYA qualified dinghy sailing instructor!

I stayed in a house with other people doing similar courses, some windsurfing and some scuba diving. The house was nice and it really was like being a student for a few weeks, as I was sharing a room and we had a shared kitchen.

Developing skills

For the first two weeks we focused mainly on developing our personal sailing skills, practising manoeuvres like man overboard, picking up a mooring, anchoring, lee shore landing, as well as rudderless sailing and racing with spinnakers.

We sailed Laser 2000s, which are crew boats, and in Laser 1s, which are single handers, to develop skills in both. During these first two weeks I completed my RYA first aid course and my RYA Powerboat Level 2 certificate.

After hours

I also had the opportunity to go mountain biking which was really fun. The views were amazing and it was really a great area for biking. After hours there were lots of things going on socially - cocktail nights, bbqs and some nights we went out to the bars in Vassiliki.

The third week was instructor preparation week. We practised giving presentations and rehearsed seamanship skills, getting ready for teaching our own students.

We also had the chance to sail a Hobie 16, which was amazing. We used the spinnaker and I got out on the trapeze a few times and it was really good fun.

Over the four weeks there were lots of other opportunities, such as taking part in race day at Wildwind, which I did quite well in. We also had a sea safari trip, where we got to go snorkelling and into a cave. We visited the island of Kefalonia for lunch and then went on to a beautiful beach on nearby Ithaka.

Instructor week

The final week of my course was the actual instructor week. We spent the week building up to giving a taster session to people who had never sailed before. We had quite a lot of homework and lesson preparation to do in the evenings as we had to lead a discussion and also take a lesson. I taught rudderless sailing, beginning with teaching the theory on land, and then I led a session on the water.

The highlight of the course was the taster session which was on the final day of instructor training. I was teaching in the Laser 2000s, so I took a beginner with me and began with the basics. From the method we had learnt I began the session with a 'joy ride', getting the student used to being on the water, and the feel of the boat.

Great sense of achievement

We talked about a few parts of the boat and then I demonstrated how to stop, how to get speed, and how to tack before letting my student have a go. It was really great being able to help and by the end of the session, my student was having a great time and had learnt tacking with a good technique. It was really enjoyable and I felt a great sense of achievement afterwards.

I passed!

I'm happy to say that I passed my course! I had an amazing experience living and sailing in Greece for four weeks. On the day before I left, I had the chance to learn windsurfing with one of the newly qualified windsurf instructors. It was hard work, and used a lot of different muscles compared with dinghy sailing but it was really fun, and I managed to stand up quite a few times, sail forwards and turn around.

Thanks Flying Fish for an amazing few weeks which I certainly won't forget in a hurry! What a great way to start my gap year!

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