Lake Garda Sailing Trip
Caroline Payne, Activities and Outdoor Education Administrator, took part in this trip and gave this wonderful account of their adventures:
What could be more exciting than a trip to Italy with your friends? How about throwing in some insane weather and a trip to a theme park!
For this year’s October sailing trip, 24 boys and girls travelled to the outstandingly beautiful Lake Garda for a week of activities on and off the water. After an early start the excitement built as we flew to Milan, especially for Sam who announced that he’d never been on an aeroplane before. The flight crew made his first flight even more memorable by calling him up to business class for the descent into Milan, and taking him onto the flight deck to meet the pilot once we’d landed!
We were met by the wonderful Jo from the Andrew Simpson Watersports Centre and made our way up through the foothills of the Alps to Campione del Garda… and the rain.
Sunday dawned, we think, but the rain and mist hid the lake and the view although that didn’t stop us getting out on the water. Unfortunately the regular and predictable winds didn’t get the memo, and four of the Year 7 and 8 boys discovered how easy it was to “turtle” a Quba. They weren’t put off though - after all they hadn’t just turtled a Quba, but they’d done it in Lake Garda.
The more experienced sailors had a slightly more successful session, but quickly followed the fleet of Lasers off the water a short time later, demonstrating the CC spirit and showing the Austrian youth squad what teamwork really is by stepping in un-prompted to help them land their boats in the increasingly choppy surf.
Monday brought with it another soggy dawn. The advanced and the high performance sailors had a short but exciting session on the water, while the beginner and intermediate groups played indoor theory games in the hangar. After lunch, instead of risking the building winds on the water, we went on a walk to see the waterfall and on up through the woods to the top of the cliff wall.
Once we were back in Campione, the winds continued to build, and the rain really came in. Little did we know the storm that was brewing was to be the worst in the area for more than 50 years. You’d think that would put the sailors off, but the ASWC team were ready with Plan B. That evening we went back to the hangar to see which group could build the best boat out of junk. The team also had a Plan C which was just as well once the power went down! It’s amazing how much fun you can have with torches, packs of cards and a sense of adventure.
Tuesday dawned with much calmer weather. Too calm in fact, as there was no wind for sailing at all! That wasn’t a worry though as we were off out onto the water for fun and games with kayaks and paddleboards. After lunch the wind picked up a bit and the big sailors took the little sailors out for a ride.
Wednesday saw us back out on the water with the beginners and intermediates having a long, fun afternoon sailing in Quests and a Bahia, with everyone having an opportunity to take the helm. Meanwhile the advanced sailors switched between racing Fevas, trapezing in the Bahir, and having a go at foiling in the Aero, and the high performance group had the opportunity to crew a 49er with one of the instructors. The evening brought a spookier feeling to Campione as back in the hangar there were pumpkins to be carved and all important team points to be won.
After the weather over the previous few days you’d never have believed that Thursday was actually November. It was beautiful and clear, with the most amazing views of the snow capped mountains as a backdrop to the surf-paddling races being run. This was followed up by a walk to the ice-cream shop and cake after dinner to celebrate Alistair’s birthday.
Friday, our last day in Italy, was spent exploring Gardaland - Italy’s premier theme park. Think Thorpe Park but with a lot more rain. It’s uncertain who enjoyed it more - the students or the staff! It was going to take more than a little (!) rain to stop this lot having fun. Suffice it to say, the coach journey back from Verona was a very quiet affair, with the vast majority nodding off to sleep before long.
And then before we knew it, it was Saturday again, with the long journey back to Milan, the flight home, and declarations of “Best. School. Trip. EVER!”
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