12 Boats arrived at Northampton Sailing Club last Saturday to light winds and drizzle for a training weekend run by Ex Olympian and world famous Coach Cathy Foster, assisted by National Championship runners up team Steve Hall and Simon Haighton.
A 10.45am rigged and ready briefing in the club house was followed by a warm up session on the water consisting of some short races to give everyone a chance to get into the swing of things and also for Cathy to have a look at the abilities of the group.
During the lunch break we were instructed to split into groups of two boats ideally of similar standard to work on a number of techniques throughout the afternoon. These techniques included working together sailing up wind whilst scoring each other marks out of 10 for keeping the boat at the optimum upright position for the conditions. Staying in our pairs we moved on to slowing down and stopping techniques, getting out of irons and various accelerating techniques, all with a focus on improving the groups starting ability. All these exercises were extremely useful and a marked improvement was seen all-round.
A thorough de-brief from the days training was given by Cathy giving everyone a chance to share their findings from the day and also hear what was in store for the next day. An excellent day on the water and in the classroom was washed down by some nice food cooked by the Sailing Club galley and a couple of pints of well deserved beer.
The 12 teams were met by rain and 25+knot gusts on Sunday morning upon arrival to the club but this was not going to put anyone off and we all quickly set to rigging our ships and meeting in the club to find out what Cathy had in store for us for the day. An excellent question and answer session in the class room which involved some useful miming which resembled the YMCA dance from Steve and Simon to demonstrate their gybing techniques as well as a session of Cathy’s infamous musical chairs was followed by everyone hitting the water and splitting into 2 groups to practice breezy weather tacking and gybing on the whistle. The gybing part made for some good wipe outs but all who did take a swim were quickly righting their boats and getting back into the training. The fleet came back together for a short race before heading in for lunch to re-fuel the energy levels.
The afternoon session was run in even more breeze than in the morning and was a chance for all the teams to put everything they had learnt over the weekend into practice around a square or sausage course depending on which end of the reservoir they had chosen. The options were the consistently breezy end or the gusty shifty end!!) Again their were plenty of impressive capsizes all round but a lot of fun along with them.
The weekend was a brilliant success and all the sailors gained a huge amount from Cathy’s training and the top tips from Steve and Simon. A big thank you to all the staff at Northampton Sailing club for keeping the sailors full off food and cold beer and more importantly safe on the water on the Sunday. A big thank you also to Mark Ampleford the Lark Class’s very own Training Coordinator for organising the weekend.