Stewartby Dart 15 Training, 26-27 April 2003

It was April 26th and I was bursting with excitement as I sipped my drink and watched everyone arrive at the Dart 15 Teach-in 2003.

My driver (Mum) and I went to rig my Dart, and we'd soon met everybody on the course. We were all mucking in and I could feel myself on a steep learning curve. With the help of Robin and his obscure gadgets my boat was ready. We hadn't got wet yet, but I'd learnt loads. We went for a short sail and I was relieved to see I'm not a complete idiot.

After a quick, tasty refuel (thanks Nancy) it was time for racing!! Yeah O.K. I'm a bad starter and I pinch, a lot, but I managed a second so there we go. In fact I was doing quite well until I capsized, intentional, of course, but with some expert advice and some extra weight she came upright.

Apré sail consisted of an indoor barbie (food, not doll) and a mock Rutland Open Meeting. When the bar floor was cleared, lake built and course laid we started. I was doing brilliantly. After my quick tack to Port and my lift I was first to the windward mark, first to the second mark, my plastic knife screaming along, a win in sight, until I forgot the course. How gutting! I managed to beat back and join the stragglers but I won't forget in the real thing! In fact the evening was so interesting that Mike was only woken up by the protest that was almost resolved using the Marquis of Queensberry rules!

Sunday brought winds in which the big boys go out to play and little girls hide. It was force five to seven and after a talk on heavy weather techniques we took to the water with an instructor on every boat. I went with Robin. On land I'd been terrified, but once on the water I realised big wind doesn't necessarily mean big problem. The best bit of the weekend was when we decided to go for a blast. It was manic. So wet! Ridiculously wet! Without realising I was laughing my head off! Stupidly good fun! I'm still buzzing now!

The weekend was brilliant, highly advisable for any new Darters. I think everyone who went feels a lot more confident and has a good set of basics and ideas to build on with time on the water.

Big thanks go out to Stewartby sailing club especially Fred and Nancy for the fab facilities, although the gate needs calming down as the alarm and flashing light nearly gave me a minor heart attack. I'd like to thank Neil for the go on the Stealth and finally my biggest bucket load of appreciation goes to Nick, Robin and Graham for their fantastic coaching and knowledge spilling.

Emma Buckels