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Model Yacht Race Training at Knockburn Loch

by Ian Dundas on 23 Apr 22 April 2017
Starting practice during the Model Yacht Race Training at Knockburn © Ali Law

Now in its third year, the 2017 Scottish District race training day proved again to be popular with 15 radio sailing skippers taking part from 6 clubs. They made the trip to Knockburn Loch near Banchory to join up with 4 Instructors for a full day of race training.

The day began inside the excellent Knockburn Conference Centre with two classroom presentations covering ways to improve performance around the race course. Emphasis was placed initially on making good preparation ahead of an event then went on to cover racing strategies and tactics at the start, upwind, downwind and at the finish. Particular attention was placed on mark roundings and typical boat to boat incidents. Throughout these presentations there was good interactive participation from all and lively debates on which racing rules applied and on various tactics to use to reinforce a leading position or to recover from a poor one.

After the classroom theoretical sessions, the skippers were then split into small groups for a Boat Tuning Clinic under the expert eye of the Instructors, Robert Brown, Ian Dundas, Ali Law and Steve Taylor. Boats were scrutinised and adjustments made to correct for minor set up issues or, for some, to carry out major surgery.

Following lunch it was out on the water for the Boat Handling training exercises. These exercises started with the basic boat handling exercises of tacking, gybing and moving into a start. Many found the hovering exercise difficult at first but with a bit of practice were soon getting much better at starting on the gun.

After completing the basic boat handling exercises the groups then went on to sail around a short course to practise mark rounding skills. Again this highlighted some areas of weakness that were improved upon by repetition and coaching.

The day finished with the full fleet taking part in a series of races where skippers were able to put into practice their new skills.

Despite the wide difference in experience of the participants, they all took away new ideas and skills that will be able to be put into practice back at their local clubs and at upcoming Scottish District events.

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