I've not sailed at a training day for ages, usually I'm on the other side, in the RIB. So it was really great to take part in one of the Scottish Laser Academy training weekends organised by the Scottish RYA and I must say, very well organised and very professionally run, well done guys.
The weekend was held at my club and we managed to get a good number of our own Laser sailors out, some of whom are very new to the Laser. The Academies are pitched at anyone who wants to improve their Laser sailing, so it was ideal for our new racers. The standard at the top end was more than decent too, with some of the top youth sailors turning up. It really is so good to see the enthusiasm of the youngsters and I love the way they just want to sail all the time and take every opportunity to get out on the water. That's the way to get better and the self motivation and drive is impressive and reminds me of myself many years ago, including the gym work, the cycling and running.
The wind was pretty fierce at times, great if you knew how to handle it but it did get a bit too much for some of the less experienced sailors. But they all stuck with it for as long as they could and when they couldn't go on they were packing into the RIB to go back out and learn what the others were doing and most importantly why they were doing that and how. It's amazing what you can learn from the coach boat.
The main focus for the weekend was upwind and down wind speed, so technique and gear changing were practiced time and again. I had a great time and was exhausted trying to keep up with the youngsters. The thing with training is that if you do it properly, you go at it harder than you would in a race, push the boundaries further and so end up more worn out than after a normal regatta weekend.
I learnt loads too. When I stopped sailing Lasers ages ago, it was just before the new controls came in, so it's taken me a while to really get to grips with them. I'm fine upwind, mostly, I think I've sorted out my reaching but downwind I still seem to struggle, it's like a switch flicks randomly off and on. But I got plenty to think about, not just the rig but my position in the boat, upper body and feet placement and a bunch of other things to try.
It's nice to have new things to try out and it keeps me thinking I can still get faster or at least sail the boat as well as I possibly can. We still have a few weeks left before we stop for the winter, so I'll be out there practicing.
It was quite a cool weekend as well, the max was 9C and I found that with Hot legs
, I was only just warm enough if I kept moving. I really should have been wearing my Supertherm