Teach In – Marconi SC
Saturday 1st April 2017
Twelve locals and visitors attended the Sprint 15 Association Teach in at Marconi SC on 1st April. Despite being early in the year, the weather was glorious – mild, sunny and with a perfect breeze for sail training. We could not believe our luck!
Participants included people who race regularly and were just looking for some tips and practice to improve. Others have had their Sprint 15 for a short time and were building their experience. And two participants have just joined the class from other fleets and this was their first outing on the boat!
After a briefing session over bacon rolls and coffee, the group headed out to the cat park to discuss boat set up and share lots of tips about tramp tightening, rigging, batten tension, rudder alignment and general commentary on tacking and gybing. None of which I am going to share with you here because we want to keep that advantage to ourselves.
The group then split into two. Howard Hawkes led the teaching for those who were newer to the fleet, supported by Fenella Miller and the fleet headed out onto the water to sail a triangular course – practicing different points of sail and boat handling, particularly mark rounding. Mike Godwin travelled all the way up from Newhaven and Seaford (our new TT venue for 2017) and kindly took our newest fleet member out on a Sprint 15 to help them find their way round the boat. Mike obviously did a great job because his crewing services were not required by the afternoon!
Chris Tillyer and David Ball led the second group and ran a series of mini-races with committee boat starts run by Jenny Ball and Mark Savill. The famous Blackwater tide pushed half the fleet over the line for the first start suggesting that a bit of practice was required after all (see footage on the Sprint 15 Facebook page!) – but the fleet quickly got to grips with it and put in some great races.
After lunch, the two groups did a debrief using footage from Go Pros of the morning session before heading out onto the water again. Howard’s group built on learnings from the debrief with a series of practice starts and races around the triangular course with coaching from Howard and Fen from the RIB. Chris and David’s group headed out onto the race course which had been moved to an area where the tide was less strong as there was now more water to play with. The fleet completed a series of races with lots of competitive sailing and with coaching from the RIB. And Gordon Deuce kindly capsized in order to show people how to right a Sprint 15 from the turtle position as part of their training. Except the others were all too busy racing to notice ……..
After a cracking day’s sailing, the fleet headed home for well earned tea and cake!
Thanks to Howard for leading the Teach In on behalf of the Association. Thanks to Chris, David, Fen and Mike for tutoring. Thanks to Pat Shaw, Dave Russell, Pete Richardson, Tony Goode, Rhiannon Hitt and Mark Savill for manning support boats and the committee boat.
And a big thanks to Antony Bailey, Richard Piper, Nigel James, Steve Thomas, John Hefford, Rob Bailey, Steve Healy, Kevin Dowley, Gordon Deuce, Andrew Perks, Donald Sloan and Nick Pavitt for taking part!