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ILCA - UKLA Skills Week at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy

by Andy Weatherspoon / UKLA 31 Aug 19:34 BST 22-26 August 2022

The biggest (and best) UK training event of 2022 took place last week with 82 sailors of all ages taking part. UKLA subsidise the event to the tune of £6000, making it both affordable and of the highest quality coaching. In the coach lineup were Olympians, World Champions, European Champions, British Sailing Team:

Tim Hulse, Ali Young, James Parker Mowbray, Micky Beckett (Star guest), Jon Emmett, Rory Wilson, James Percival-Cook, Flo Nicholls, Eve Kennedy, Ali Goodwin, Ali Brown, Joe Drake & Lisa Anderson, Jake Farren Price and Sam Whaley.

Sponsored by Vaikobi and Fernhurst Books.

Here's the report of the week by Andy Weatherspoon:

Well, that was a great week! Driving down to WNSPA on Sunday evening I wasn't sure what to expect from the next few days as I hadn't attended to many coaching events All of the sailors and coaches met as a large group the next morning and Tim Hulse gave an introduction and what was planned for the week. We then went off in our individual groups, mine being with the ILCA 7s and we met out lead coach for the week who was James Persival-Cook.

On the first morning it was so good to have the time to go back to the absolute basics, where to sit, how to hike properly and safely, what the controls did and when to use them. We were able to discuss all of this and listen to different opinions before we went afloat.

We had a good wind on the first couple of days where we just worked on boat set up for upwind and downwind, lane holding and boat speed. I never really appreciated how much of difference small adjustments in the sail shape can affect speed. We spent the Wednesday looking a tacking and gybing, which for me was a total revelation.

Portland harbour was a familiar place now as was went from beat to dead run and worked on our techniques. Big shout out to Jake Farren-Price, Sam Whaley and Mickey Beckett who were present for most of the week. These guys never seemed to get tired of the endless barrage of questions and the 'just show me that one more time'! We did some great exercises that Mickey had set up later in the day and when we got back to shore it was definitely cup of tea time.

Thursday was starting day. After an in-depth briefing in the morning we set about a day of starting exercises. The guys who had done quite a bit of training in the ILCA 6 defiantly had the edge, but by the end of the day I would like to think that us oldies were beginning to hold our own. On that note there was a range of abilities and experience in our group and to be honest this was not a problem at all. I'm sure that everyone felt included and were able to work at their own level and pace eventually been pushed out of our own comfort zone where the real learning takes place.

To top off a superb week we had a race day on the Friday. Wind, sunshine, and close racing finished off what was an excellent week of learning and camaraderie. Well done to the ULKA for a great initiative in bringing all the fleets together in an exceptional five days, roll on next year!

Anyone interested in join the class or for training please take a look at the UKLA website and contact our class secretary.

Thanks to all organisers and sponsors at WNSPA.

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