Northern Teach In & Training

An excellent turnout of thirteen boats attended the Northern Teach In held at Carsington Sailing Club on the 6th&7th May, the two day event designed for newcomers to learn how to sail their Sprint 15 safely and competently, for those with a little more experience a desire to improve their sailing techniques and have the confidence to go racing which will inevitably mean sailing at close quarters.

Attendees:- David Blagg, Keith Bridger, Jim Bryce, George Carter (Yes – we have another one…!), John Dullehan, Robert England, Jeremy Ford, Tim Harrison, Adrian Holland, Steve Tunnicliffe, David Walker, Tim Woodman & Mike Woodman, came from far and wide some making the journey on the Friday and camping at the local Knockerdown Inn joining up with the Halifax mob that arrived early Saturday morning. By all accounts beer / food at the Knockerdown was well appreciated, however, much debate about the miniature zoo at the Knockerdown, especially the "Cockerel" that decided to do its crowing at 04:30 each morning which then set the Lama off, ensuring that no one got a lay in and morning cuppa taken very early.

Saturday, 13 boats rigged and on the foreshore for 10:30, welcome and first topic of the day "Five Essentials of Sailing" then off for the "Tyre Kicking" session, impressive to see 13 different opinions on how to set up a Sprint 15…!!! Masts leaning excessively forwards / backwards and in one or two cases sideways…!!! Much nervous laughter with students waiting to present their pride and joy for the Dewhirst inspection. Time set aside for some boats to change their rig set up before going onto the water.

Majority of the day given to sailing around a small square course, this to enable trainees to have as many one lap races as possible, this improving start line positioning and seamanship skills, an opportunity for everyone to get a good start and be at the front of the fleet.

Capsize drills the order of the day for those who have never practiced the art.

Off the water and changed for 18:30, start playing the infamous "Knife Game", this is a great game played on the club veranda, a 20 foot square course laid out with rope depicting rather suitably "Instow estuary" along with its two rivers, Torridge and Taw, this brings out lots of sailing rules and racing conditions that you will find yourself in, and really helps in a practical way to understand the RYA racing rules.

19:30 call a halt to the day, reservation for dining at the Knockerdown Inn, beer / food and exchange of stories and experiences are the topic for the evening.

Sunday, early morning start, no problem thanks to the "cockerel & Lama" 10:00 boats rigged and on the foreshore, start briefing on the day’s agenda "Club Racing" start session on sailing rules, particularly reference to Windward mark, arrival on Port tack with the rest of Carsington fleet arriving on Starboard tack. We organised a couple of "Pathfinders" Charles Watson & George Love sailing 2-up to indicate to the trainees where they should roughly be 3 – 1 minutes prior to the start. Race officer of the day Liz Gall set a big safe square course for the two races, which proved beneficial, kept reasonable separation between mono hulls and Catamarans.

The two races did produce an overall winner, Dave Walker, but in truth all 13 Sprint 15s were winners, they all improved their knowledge, sailing skills and over came natural apprehension to sail in close proximity to others, they take away ideas on boat set up and how to sail their catamaran more efficiently and best of all enthusiasm to practice the "Five Essentials" over the coming months.

15:30, final de-briefing session and an opportunity for the trainees to have the last word, very favourable comments and request to run more of these training days.

My thanks to Nick Dewhirst, Charles Watson, Liz Gall, George Love and Norman Grum for their help in running the Teach In.

My thanks also to all the Sprint 15s for making the two days such tremendous fun. I hope to meet you at a TT Open event in the near future.

Ray Gall
1914 YaHoo!