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Encouraging New Sailors
By Ian Baillie
We held our members only club regatta at the weekend and it was specifically targeted at sailors who had never sailed in a regatta or who were a bit nervous of racing in one. The weather helped out greatly with sun on both days and just the right amount of wind.
We ran a novice fleet and a main handicap fleet and my job was to provide coaching and support to anyone who wanted but more specifically to the novices.
One thing that was great to see was the number of kids out on the water and much of this was due to the efforts of our training team who encouraged so many of our Tuesday evening training participants to give the regatta a go.
But it really is amazing what a bit of on the water help can do to accelerate learning. The first couple of races were mostly about getting the new sailors up to the line in time for the start but it then got better and better until by the end of the day the novice fleet was starting better than the main fleet.
On the Sunday, with the starting going well, I was getting round the fleet helping out with boat set up. I concentrated on the major fixes, which make the big differences, like depowering upwind, flat boats and sail trim and plenty of encouragement and Haribo - it's amazing how boat handling improves when coming alongside for a sweetie.
I sometimes think the biggest difference I made was not the tips and hints but just my presence on the water, showing that the club really cares about our new members and young sailors, that they are very important to the club and we will do as much as we can to help them get the most from their sport.
Well done to everyone and roll on the next one.