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Great sailing day for MBAS Special Needs Sailors

Great sailing day for MBAS Special Needs Sailors and for everyone

This is an excerpt taken from an email sent by Jonathon Kline to his skippers, support crew, members of the Boating Club and young sailors about one month before the annual Special Needs Sailing Day.

“I need to work with all of you to plan the proposed sailing window for our Special Needs Sailors. This is a very important day to this group of sailors, parents and teachers. The youngsters look forward to it all year. It consists of sailing, swimming, and a BBQ at the club house and a little of our own entertainment. The Hobie 16 is the perfect boat for these kids and young adults. Hobie Health, I like to call it – and the “health” applies to everyone. The sailors in this group have both physical and mental challenges. But a day on or near the ocean is the best therapy. This will be our Fifth Year doing this……..” The email then detailed all the preparation needed and the number and variety of volunteers. There was a huge amount of preparation and scouting around to get everything that was needed – six Hobie Cats and six skippers for the day were the first priority. But add to that - patrol boat drivers and crew, photographers, and beach/clubhouse support, cooking preparation. Young sailors experienced in assisting younger students, and having helped with the special needs students before, needed to organise some time off school in between exams. Adult skippers and support crew were asked to see if they could get time off work. “This has to be run DURING the school day, not on a weekend,” to quote Jonathan Kline.

The date set was a good choice.

“We had a huge support squad of teachers, coaches, parents, students! ‘ says Jonathan.

“The weather was kind, and we enjoyed flat water and gentle winds. The Mercury Bay Boating Club Hobie Cat skippers and volunteer support crew welcomed our Mercury Bay Area School Learning Support Squad for our fifth year of sail training. The students ranged in age from 6 to 18. The day started at the Boating Club with a safety briefing and fitting of PFDs, with a bit of football kicking in between. Sailors and support crew then enjoyed a “walking classroom” from the club to the Macrocarpa Reserve where all six Hobie Cats and the safety boat were rigged and ready. For some, it was their first time on these catamarans but for others, like Keiran Clayton, it was their fifth journey and they knew exactly what to do. For Keiran, this is his final one as an MBAS student. The flotilla made several forays down towards the wreck of the Buffalo and back towards Brophy’s Beach. On their second pass of the Buffalo, the boats beached for a rest and we built a few quick sand castles. After sailing, all students, parents and crews enjoyed a delicious sausage and chips sizzle at the Boating Club. Musician Leo Magri, capped off the lunch with a rousing group sing and dance along with Daddy Cool’s Eagle Rock, brought to life by the students. We all got swept up in the song and for a few moments on that beach deck – sang and danced our hearts out, “crazy ‘bout the way we move/ doin’ the Eagle Rock!” Thank you, MBAS Learning Support Coordinator, Karen Johansen for bringing your special students sailing once again. Thank you Chef Rice for the awesome spread. And thank you, skippers and beach crew for launching and retrieving the Hobies, helping out with the BBQ and hanging out with the learning support students. “


“It’s a wonderful way to end the year for them. Jonathan and his team do the work. There is such a diverse group of needs. It’s challenging and can be frightening for them. Today is about inclusion – including these young people not just in school activities but in the life of the community; people need to help us and look at opportunities. “ Karen Johansen Learning Support Co-ordinator MBAS

“We spend most of our time in the little box we call “normal”. And then we get the chance to work with students who see things differently, from totally outside our box, perhaps from above it, or below it or next to it, but definitely not inside it, where we are. Leo put it nicely when he was introducing the song. ‘For sure, I have learned more from them, than they have from me.’ That’s the way I see it too.” Jonathan Kline Commodore

‘I want to thank you for letting all the children go out on the boats. Thank you for coming and letting us get to know you and sailing.” Paige….. one of the previous special needs young people who comes for the day to help and to sail.

“I want to thank all the students because you were brave and tried everything today. Thank you for the opportunity to sail with you. I have enjoyed being with you.” Part of a speech given by Annabelle Kline.

Learning support team: Karen Johansen, Kim Abrahamson, Leo Magri, Jeni Candelaria,

Rice McDonnell.

Skippers: Jonathan Kline, Roger Harwood, Russell Chaney, Ernst Baumberger, Nick Reader,

Phil Nielsen, Loren Greenfield.

MBAS Student helpers: Kael Robertson, Tinca Samson, Zach Greenfield, Annabelle Kline.

The reason for the day - the special needs sailors: Darcy, Fergie, Keiran, Paige, Indyeh, Lucy, Reuben.


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