Keven Rainbow's Story
So there we were, out in the ocean with this little boy on the helm turning a 54ft racing yacht around and around and around with everybody screaming with laughter on this nautical merry-go-round ride. It was priceless! We got back to the dock and he couldn't wait to tell his Mum what he'd been doing. She later told us he hadn't stop talking about his wonderful time on the boat.
Keven and I were about to embark on the four day intensive sailing course for Aboriginal kids from northern NSW on Moksha, SWD's Hanse 54. We had time to catch up over a coffee at the CYCA before the group arrived. It was a beautiful Monday morning: clear skies with a fresh NW wind coming off the ocean and a little gusty on the harbour.
Since retiring a couple of years ago Kev's done deliveries to Hamilton Island, races twice a week and also volunteers for Marine Rescue too. How's that for keeping active and brain training in retirement?
His reasons for joining SWD echo those of most of the volunteers - a love of sailing that he wants to share with people from all walks of life.
He's been sailing for 10 years, and has a wealth of knowledge built up over that time, but there's still more to learn. Like all of the volunteers on the boats he's willing to share his knowledge and also keen to learn something new on every sail.
We've all been out there on the harbour on a calm day bobbing around like a cork; it's an ideal time for interrogating the skipper and picking up tips. Kev will listen to the skipper, then ask 'but what if?'. He clearly needs to satisfy his naturally inquisitive mind!
One of the pleasures we have sailing with SWD is seeing nervous or reluctant kids turnaround and get involved in the sailing of the boat. For most kids this could be steering towards a mark, winching in a headsail or maybe standing on the pulpit, but Kev recalls something different whilst sailing out of Coffs Harbour on a SWD Northern Campaign:
"I remember there was a young boy; about 8 or 9 years old just looking like he didn't want to be there. We were trying everything to get him out of his seat and join in with his mates. Every time we invited him to do something we got a forceful 'No!' and he went back into his shell.
Near the end of the session I quietly sat down next to him and after a while asked him what he wanted to do. '
'Turn circles!' he said.
'Okay!' I said.
"So there we were, out in the ocean with this little boy on the helm turning a 54ft racing yacht around and around and around with everybody screaming with laughter on this nautical merry-go-round ride. It was priceless! We got back to the dock and he couldn't wait to tell his Mum what he'd been doing. She later told us he hadn't stop talking about his wonderful time on the boat."