Monday, August 19, 2013

Santa Cruz Training Weekend - Mike Holt

Editor's Note: The West Coast 505 Fleet held a training weekend as the NA's container loading event prior to shipping out the Kingston NA's. The event was a huge success, and a second similar weekend has already been planned for Long Beach October 3-6. At the 2013 AGM, the Class unanimously voted to financially support these training weekends on both coasts in an effort to boost turnout and the level of competition. Look for more of these events in the second half of 2013 and next season. Thanks Mike for organizing the event and for providing this report.

This past weekend we held a training weekend in Santa Cruz. Spurred on by the domination of the German's in Barbados and the fact that the NA's have not been won by the West Coast since '09 we felt it was time we all tried to get better!

18 teams took to the water over the weekend with a variety of levels  from "plenty still to learn" all the way up to World Championship winners out training. While the weather was not what you would describe as classic Santa Cruz conditions, we probably had better conditions for training, with wind generally around 6-10 knots and a moderate swell. Conditions all to similar with what we see at the "Big" events.

On Saturday Steve Bourdow coached us all, running short windward/leeward courses with a proper gate start, complete with attendant Rib. On the water coaching was provided by Steve and several of the crews swapped with others on the water. I lost count of how many races we ran but it was definitely well in to double figures so we had a huge amount of start, mark rounding, tacking, gybing etc going on.

Following sailing on Saturday we had a full debrief, with lots of good questions and even better answers and everyone went away having learnt at least a few things from the day.

Sunday we had Rich Mundell coaching us all. Starting with a recap of what we had learned on Saturday and then what he was going to cover for the day and to remember this is FUN! And it was, amazingly so. I really have to think hard to remember the last time I had such an unexpectedly good time on the water. The short races were incredibly tight, getting tighter every race. In our boat we focused on different parts every time till towards the end we started to link them all up together and wow were we sailing better! I felt that the back boats had improved by 20 boat lengths a race, the middle by 10 and the front by 3. In the last few races all the boats were on the short beat together!

Again a full debrief followed with more great input. However I am not going to share any of it here, for that you need to come to the next one at Alamitos Bay YC October 3-6.

A big thanks also to Bruce Edwards(and his partners) for lending us his Rib, made a great coaching platform and to Mo Hart for keeping an eye on us from the Protector. 

However the stars of the show were Steve and Rich, great work, top tips and all done in a fun and casual atmosphere. Roll on the next one.

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