Nineteen eager Sea Cadets gathered on Portobello beach this weekend to enjoy some sea and sand.
This was the first of this year’s Sea and Sand events – a joint project run by the Scottish Volleyball Association and the Royal Yachting Association Scotland. The project aims to encourage a sense of community among seaside sports participants, enhance the spectacle of waterfront events and generate new opportunities for sports and facility development, along our shores.
The cadets, aged between 10 and 13 years of age, belonged to Sea Cadet units based in Trinity and Dunbar. They poured out of the minibus and into the Portobello Bowls Centre (our dry base for the weekend) with disarming enthusiasm for the challenge ahead – one day of sailing and one day of beach volleyball, or visa versa.
Some had a little boating experience and only one confessed to having played volleyball previously. As the group was spit into two, a clear preference for the sailing option emerged but, by 10am, all wardrobe problems had been resolved and even groups of cadets were making their way along the prom to embark on a day’s sea or sand activity. The weather, which had looked so gloomy in the forecast, delivered sunshine (with some showers).
Sailing instruction was led by Ali Watkins, from Port Edgar, with local support and safety provision from Max Blinkhorn and Portobello Sail and Kayaking Club. Freddie Fairbairn led the beach volleyball sessions, with support from Jamie Salvin. Their energy, expertise and ability to pitch sessions at near absolute beginners were crucial to the success of this weekend.
Adding to the Sea and Sand backdrop was the Portobello Beach Volleyball Tour event, where the cadets were able to see some GB and Scotland players in action, and the Portobello Sail and Kayaking Club, running their regular weekend racing.
By Sunday evening, the cadets were tired, in some cases a little cold, but mostly still displaying the enthusiasm they came in with. Our thanks are due to Dave Dunbar who agreed to advertise and coordinate this opportunity among the Sea Cadet Units of Edinburgh and East Lothian and the officers from both Dunbar and Trinity who attended.
Andy finally, what became of the beach volleyball skeptics? There were more than a few converts, among them Jack from Dunbar, who is desperate to know where he can play more volleyball. Details will, of course, be provided.