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Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD

SWYSA Winter Race Coaching at Starcross Yacht Club

by Peter Solly 8 Jan 16:07 GMT 6 January 2024

The first Winter Race Coaching session of 2024 was hotly anticipated, after the last two planned sessions of 2023 had to be called off due to named storms coming though.

There were 40 boats this week, from as far afield as Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Cornwall - and we had champagne sailing conditions! SWYSA runs the coaching across three separate fleets, which race and train separately to each other: Teras, Toppers and ILCAs. This week there were 17 Toppers, 15 Teras and 8 ILCAs sailing.

The day dawned sunny with a light breeze, but by the briefing time at 0945 there was absolutely no wind. Happily, by the time the planned on-shore theory briefing was complete, the wind filled in and all three fleets were able to launch.

The days focus was starting, with each of the fleets running various exercises and mini races to hone startline skills. Significant improvement was visible during the day, and the weather conditions were fantastic, with sun and 10-15kts of wind.

As usual there was a strong, experienced coaching team. This season the Tera fleet coaching is lead by UKRSTCA coach Caitlin Morley; the Topper fleet by experienced RYA qualified race coach Stuart Jones; and the Lasers by the excellent, experienced RYA qualified race coach Izzy Cramp. For the first time, this year the coaching team includes a cohort of assistant coaches who were part of the SWYSA squad last year and have recently done their dinghy instructor qualifications. Tom Wild (Lasers), Charlie Pickering (Teras), and Isabel Williscroft (Toppers), played significant roles in the coaching sessions this week.

The coaching team was assisted by parent volunteers in the coach boats, and with a volunteer team in the galley the event had the usual friendly SWYSA atmosphere. SWYSA works really hard to keep the costs down, and achieves this by collaboration between the host sailing clubs, and having volunteer run/led events as much as possible. As well as helping to make quality race coaching accessible to as many people as possible, this makes the events fun and friendly for all.

After coming ashore for a filling lunch cooked by volunteers in the Yacht Club galley, sailors went afloat again for another afternoon session of rolling starts and races.

As the light started to fade, everybody came ashore for a debrief session, fuelled by home-made cakes which families had brought along. A wonderful day!

Thanks to all of the coaches, the parent volunteers who helped (without whom these events could not run), and to Starcross Yacht Club for hosting.

The next SWYSA event is on 20th January - also at Starcross Yacht Club.

Starcross Yacht Club:

Drone footage of some of the sailing by Martin Laver:

SWYSA Winter Race Coaching is oversubscribed this year, but we are looking to try and make sure we don't have to turn anybody away next year. Anybody who is interested in hearing more about next year, please get in touch with organiser Peter Solly 07515 285180, and we will make sure that we keep you posted about plans and sign-up details.

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