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Kit Guide

Sailing - Breaking Down the Age Barrier and Barriers from Age

By Steve Cockerill 30th September 2020
Its been a wild and mild November, but with Chilly December around the corner, this last weekend was a hint of the weather we can expect to come.

"hey I beat Steve Cockerill"

I was sailing my Laser Radial and managed to 'gatecrash' on a training session at Hayling Island. I have to say that sailing against kids can make you feel very young. It's always fun to see them keen to show you what they can do; I do love the 'on the water banter' that makes the generations between us disappear despite that fact that I am old enough to be their grandad (well only just). Some might think that racing against a bunch of youngsters might be a lose lose. Lose if I win as they might say - "oh its Steve Cockerill - 7 times Laser Radial National Champion", and lose as they say - "hey I beat Steve Cockerill". Personally I see it as a win win, because I just love watching their faces as they wrestle with the fact that a grey haired old fart can still sail. It might be something to do with the 20,000 hours of racing and training I have put in over the years? It's just great to share races with them on the water, I hope it can start to help break down any age barrier.

"Club racing is like gravity boots....."

Its also why I am so keen that parents and kids continue to race each other on the water in club races. Club racing is like gravity boots; a name I recently read on someones yacht in Chichester Harbour - It helps keep your feet on the ground.

"....winter glove with both warmth and dexterity"

This weekends weather had a bite to it that suggested hands might feel the cold first. The struggle trying to design a winter glove that gives you both warmth AND dexterity is a continual challenge. We have tackled this problem from two sides: 1. A super thin neoprene glove liner - Rooster's Hot hands. Its titanium 'hot neoprene' reflects your heat back to your body whilst offers as little resistance to the dexterity required to dinghy sail. Last season we sold hundreds of these to those slightly crazy kids up and down the country who were putting the hours in during their winter training. I often heard it commented that 29er coaches had suggested "hot hands under grip gloves". I personally might use them to winterise my normal summer glove. 2. A beautifully constructed neoprene glove - that despite being 'all fingered' offers the wearer the feeling of a glove that offers little resistance to rope griping. This is mainly down to the 3D construction with its claw grip. It was option 2 that I selected. I guess because I still have our original sample pair of large that Sarah had worn last winter whilst we were testing the gloves. They are still in great condition. I was also wearing our Pro Aquafleece Beanie, Polypro base layer (top) and Supertherm® top and long john. Superstretch wet socks and Pro Laced Boots - and of course the Pro Aquafleece®. I was warm and toasty despite spending time between sessions hanging around. Not quite cold enough yet for the Aquafleece® Neck Gaiter or Aquafleece® Balaclava, but perhaps time to have one on the water - just in case.

"...he famously paddled his canoe in the dead of night from East Germany to political asylum"

I even had enough gas in the tank and warmth from my sailing gear, to pack away both Harry's and my boat whilst he attended the debrief. As I was completing my chore, I thought about the age gap between myself at 50 and those I was sailing against. It was similar to that between Peter Seidenburg(75) and myself. Peter is one of my closest friends and is still racing hard in Radials in the North American Masters Circuit and internationally. At the age of 25 he famously paddled in the dead of night from the DDR to Denmark in a two man Kayak, where he was able to claim political asylum. Having set up Seitech Dollies and made it a commercial success in his later working life, he has recently just come out of retirement at 75 to start up Dynamic Dollies. He continues to be an inspiration to myself and many others. Funny how sailing CAN break down the age barrier and any barriers from age.
Steve Cockerill and Peter Seidenberg - 1st and 2nd in the North American Masters Radial Category 2013

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