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Scottish WASZP Training Weekend at Dalgety Bay Sailing Club

by Keith Bedborough 21 Jul 13:27 BST 17-18 July 2021

Whilst our southern cousins were busy supporting the amazing WASZP sailors at SailGP Youth Inspire Plymouth, the "northern old blokes and veterans" division of the class had organised a weekend of training and fun at Dalgety Bay Sailing Club.

With a most un-Scottish forecast of 25 degrees, wall to wall sunshine and 15-20 knots everyone was fully revved for a Garda-esque experience - and for once the reality didn't disappoint.

Four of the 8 local boats were joined by 3 visitors from Loch Earn Sailing Club, and such is the quality of Jamie Calder's instruction that Dave Lilburn had bust his annual CO2 allowance flying in from Rhode Island to join us and be part of the action. Given tides it was decided to split Saturday into 3 sessions (2 afloat and 1 ashore) and hence we were on the water by 11am to allow Jamie to get some video and identify coaching themes for the weekend. The breeze was already a punchy 15 knots but with the security of RIBs and with some swapping in and out of boats everyone had a great blast around, and of course some comedy moments were captured on the video for later analysis and dissection / humour.

The afternoon shore session focused on boat setup and in particular rig and sail setup and the sensitivity of the sail to batten tension. Whilst the WASZP is a relatively simple boat with only 3 main controls it was really helpful to have Jamie take us over his boat and all the little modifications he has made to ensure everything runs perfectly. There isn't a lot of spare time in a WASZP to have your head in the boat fiddling with cleats or lines that don't run - so he encouraged everyone to make their lives easier by ensuring all controls ran smoothly and keep heads out the boat. There was then time for some fettling of our own boats and then back on the water for a longer session in F3-5 conditions and with the tide turning some challenging gusts and chop to deal with. Jamie swapped in and out of all our boats to check setup and this was really helpful in identifying potential issues which were making our lives more difficult than they needed to be as the conditions took no prisoners. Ewan McLellan deserves a special mention for mounting a successful challenge to Keith's "wipeout of the week" win at the nationals -a pretty convincing effort IMHO.

Tired sailors retired ashore at 7pm - to the unfamiliar experience of a balmy 20 degrees summer evening breeze whilst we sparked up the barbeque, cranked on the tunes and cooked copious quantities of meat, washed down with the local-brewed "Inner Bay". After dinner Jamie led a very thorough video debrief on the big screen which was extremely helpful in identifying areas for improvement and exercises to practice (with some helpful and also not so helpful banter from the floor). True to form the WASZP band tuned up encouraged by several rounds of dark and stormies - but by midnight the lights were starting to fade as even the "Last Men Standing" were wiped out after such a big day.

Sunday dawned bright and lighter - and with an early high tide we were launched and ready to go by 9am for some fun racing organised by Mr Calder senior - with Jamie performing on the water coaching and video from the RIB. 4 fun races were run with a variety of results in a shifty F1-2 which blessed these who could get up on the foils and punished these who couldn't. As a final gift the breeze then notched up to F3 and with the flat water we had another 90 mins of perfect foiling to put into practice our foil gybing and (sometimes) foil tacking lessons from the previous day.

On return to shore chief BBQ-meister McLellan cooked up some delicious Tikka Chicken, and we had a socially distanced lunch and final video debrief in the sun where Jamie summed up, and could already see great improvements across the fleet.

Special mentions:

  • Most improved sailor - John Ferguson for his first sustained flight and great improvement over the weekend
  • CO2 (un)environmental award for the longest commute - Dave Lilburning Bridges - 3120 miles
  • Endeavour award for single-mindedness and refusal to give up, EVER - Glenn Halstead
  • Variety award for the most creativity in wipeouts - Ian Fitzgerald
  • The Unforgivable Planning Failure Award for not keeping the weekend free - Andy Marshall, John Mac, Callum Reid
  • Last Man Standing - Phil Ewart (attending remotely)- nothing if not consistent !
  • The Papa Smurf Wipeout award - hands down Ewan McLellan
  • Best home-made cookies award - Leonie Bedborough
  • Vorsprung Durch Technik award for motoring (un)reliability - Ben Ibbotson
  • JC Sailing Award for p*ss poor boat preparation - your truly
  • Team player award for most swapping in and out of boats, top event organisation skills and general helpfulness- Andy Hutch

Huge thanks to world-beating comedy duo Jamie and Iain Calder who did an awesome job running a flawless training event - and thanks to DBSC for being the perfect hosts and providing everything we needed to run such a great weekend. The Scottish WASZP contingent are now turning their attention to the Scottish Championships at Loch Lomond SC on 4/5 September where we'll get further opportunity to put our learnings into practice, and hope to be joined by our Southern cousins for another WASZP-tastic weekend of fun and foiling.

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