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CoastWaterSports 2014

ITCA (GBR) Invitation Coaching at Carsington Sailing Club

by Mike Powell 8 Feb 09:00 GMT 27-28 January 2024
The ITCA (GBR) Invitational Sailors at Carsington Water © James Harle

The GBR Class Association for Toppers (ITCA-GBR) organised an Invitational Coaching Event at Carsington Sailing Club on 27th/28th January where we had 24 very enthusiastic Topper sailors from across the country in attendance looking to hone their racing skills ahead of the upcoming NS2 at WPNSA in March.

This is the 1st Invitational Coaching event of the year, where Sailors are invited to attend the Training events based upon their recent results in the ITCA GBR National Series and a forward commitment to the class. This is a great opportunity for the sailors to train with others who they are regularly racing with at these events.

The class association arranged for 3 amazing coaches, these being the very experienced Topper Double World Champion head coach Steve Irish along with Topper National Winning and RTG North Coach Tom Goodbourne and Joe Rowe, the 2022 Topper World Champion. Steve and Tom bring with them a wealth of knowledge into the Topper Fleet and with Joe's recent World Championship success in Toppers, it was guaranteed to give the sailors first class Topper training that they could really benefit from.

Head coach, Steve Irish had formulated a plan along with pre-work that was sent out to all the sailors ahead of the event so they were fully prepared for what the weekend would entail. The forecast for the was light to medium South Westerly Winds (8-10 knots) which would enable the coaches to work through a range of different activities and really maximise the time on the water.

The plan for the weekend was to ensure all of the sailors got to experience working with all of the coaches, splitting the sailors into groups of 8 so they could focus on their individual activities. Following a short welcoming brief, the coaches were straight into working with the sailors, then it was onto the water for the first activity of tacking and gybing on the whistle followed by some short course races and then bringing the full group back together for some practise races.

At the halfway stage on the Saturday, it was evident that the Topper sailors were enjoying every single minute of the conditions and the coaching with huge amounts of effort and focus being put in by every one of them.

Into the afternoon and the sailors swapped over coaches to work on downwind strategy and choosing the correct mark. Just to spice it up a little, the coaches adjusted the marks so they were never the same, meaning the sailors really had to think which gate was optimal, depending on wind direction and conditions. The sailors all then reformed into one big group and completed the activity with a lot more congested gate entry, having 24 sailors really enabled the coaches to simulate more realistic race conditions which benefited the sailors considerably.

For Sunday the forecast was very similar to the previous day, following a short briefing it was straight back on the water with sailors swapping coaches again to complete their final set of activities which was starts. This was initially played out as small groups followed by rejoining into a single large group, however each group had to be at a different end of the line with 1 minute to go. This really made the sailors think about start bias and how to best maximise the benefit of their position on the start line.

Into the final session on the Sunday afternoon, the wind was beginning to drop but it was still sailable, and the coaches set up a mini championship of 4 races, with 1 discard. All the sailors were keen to put in place all the excellent coaching they had received of the past 2 days and there was some amazingly close racing with Nathan Clark (East) taking the overall honours by 1 point, just ahead of Thomas Semmens (South West) in 2nd, followed by Kat Gunn (Midlands in 3rd).

The enthusiasm showed by the sailors was amazing all weekend, they had a great time working with the coaches and their energy levels remain high and focus continued right until the end of the 2nd day.

A special thanks to all our coaches and volunteer parents/guardians who really made the weekend so much fun and full of learning. Thanks also to the team at Carsington Water SC who were our hosts for the weekend and made us all feel so welcome.

With the Topper ITCA (GBR) National Series Event 2023-2024 now under way, Round 2 of the National Series is at WPNSA on 2nd/3rd March 2024, entry is open through the ITCA Website (www.itca-gbr.co.uk/calendar). Topper Sailors will be keen to do as well as they can to put themselves in a position to receive an invite to the next ITCA GBR Invitational Coaching which is planned for April at Grafham Water SC.

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