Well in our last post 'Busy Sailing' (http://www.roostersailing.com/blog/?p=4460
) I trailed the kids first solo session in the Teras. Clare and I got in our RaceSkin/ shorties and the kids were wet suited up nicely, (bit too warm for Polypro
as a base layer which makes a pleasant change!) We rigged a Tera, sail rolled to the first batten, and Clare did a demo. Then it was time for the kids. We set up cross wind in waist deep water and got them to sail between us, catching them at each end, and talking them through the tack as we slowly turned the boat. They did really well. Nice and accurate steering, with just one bear away into the beach, and one accidental gybe. Both pretty much managed a tack by themselves. In fact the steering was very accurate - when I checked afterwards Johnny admitted that he had been aiming for my nose! They both looked very comfortable, in fact, to use a horsey term, they had a good seat! But it was amazing how much was in common with the adult teaching and coaching we do.....'Sit forward' (open the tiller/extension angle), 'dagger grip' and so on.
It made me think of the regatta I did earlier in the season with some novice soldiers. I got my team out the week before and got them sailing round a triangular course in a Pico....after an hour and a half and a few swims they'd cracked the hand motion for controlling the sail and steering the boat. Come regatta day they'd cracked it and won first and second prizes. And that took me back to Steve demonstrating sheet handling to me at the 300 Nats many years ago. It's such a fundamental skill, and it rewards investment. After his wise words I would sit reading a book with a long sheet rigged on a return pulley, not looking at it, but just feeling it run through my hands. Work wonders (although turning the page was tricky!)
The nice thing about the plastics like the Pico and the Tera is you can practice ashore. Here's something we set up for the kids in the winter, which seems to have worked (Got to have both the kids in action!):
I was feeling really pleased with myself then showed it to another coach...he mused and told me I needed to give an indirect stimulus: pictures of flapping sails and tell tales it will be then!