20 Brightlingsea scouts took turns at the helm of 70ft gaffer, Pioneer, last week - thanks to the OGA Youth Fund

On Saturday 20th June the youngsters set off down the River Colne in Essex aboard Pioneer. OGA member, Judy Harrison, was skipper for the day and started by showing the scouts round the boat and giving them a short history of Pioneer, including her working life, her sad decline and then her rescue from the mud.

Back on deck the scouts hoisted sails, hauled on sheets, coiled ropes and learnt useful knots with the mate and the bosun, as well as taking charge of the heavy helm (in pairs) under Judy’s watchful eye.

The children, aged 10 to 14, came away understanding the difference between the modern Bermudan rig with a triangular mainsail and traditional gaff rig with a long wooden gaff supporting the top of a four sided mainsail.

Later they took turns in the Bradwell 22s of Essex Outdoors centre at Bradwell, which gave them the opportunity to try out a smaller scale boat. After a long day on the water there was a well-deserved burger on the beach, where each participant was presented with a T-shirt from the OGA as a souvenir of their day.