Making broomsticks out of optis

Quaffles, tillers, snitches and pintles; string them together like that and it almost makes sense - and so does sailing Quidditch – the invention of Tauranga sailing coach Kirsten Moratz to make winter sailing more fun.

Working on the theory that people learn quicker when focussing on something else, the TYPBC sailing coaches have been working on creating new sailing games to keep young sailors engaged in their learning.

“It started off with a simple game of Sailing Soccer, which then evolved into the first ever game of Sailing Quidditch that we played at the end of last term with 17 sailors participating,” says Kirsten.

Sailing Quidditch players use Optimist sailing dinghies instead of broom sticks. The sailing soccer ‘fluence is in the passing rules – the ball must be passed three times, no leaping into the water, penalty 360s for contact with another boat, etc.

Based upon the Quidditch as played in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books, there are two teams of seven people; three Chasers, two Beaters, one Keeper, and one Seeker: And four ‘balls’; a Quaffle, two Bludgers, and a Golden Snitch.

“Our bludgers are waterguns (waterpistols) so we have a couple of kids on each team who have waterguns, and if you get squirted by the watergun then you have to do a 360,” says Kirsten.

The quaffle is borrowed from sailing soccer.

 “The chasers play sailing soccer against each other so they have to compete a certain number of passes, and they score by sailing the ball through the net –through the goal posts,” says Kirsten.

“They hold the ball in their boat and they have to pass at least three times before they score. And when they pass they have to be at least a full boat length away, so other players can intercept. The ball is fair game whenever it is in the water or in the air. It is very elaborately thought out.”

The Golden Snitch is a buoy towed behind one of the coaches outboard powered inflatables.

“So the coach in the coach boat will go really, really fast then slow down a bit,” says Kirsten. “Every time the seeker catches up with the buoy and taps the buoy they get ten points. So it becomes really, really, difficult to catch it.

The first game was pretty hectic, but it was really good. The chasers every time they scored it was one point so we ended up with a final score of 42-41.

The coaches also sorted the young sailors into the four Hogwarts houses based on their personalities, says Kirsten.

“It was really sweet. The next time we do it I want to do it in better weather. It was a little grey outside and it was super choppy, so it was really hectic.

“We played with a really big skill range. I want to play it sometime this term, hopefully in nicer weather.

Also coming up this term is a perfected sailing version of Mario Kart Balloon Battle, among other games.


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