Faye Caswell reports from the Northern Youth Development Squad
The Northern RS200 Youth Development Squad gathered bright and early on Saturday the 25th November for the first squad weekend of the season, boats trundling down the track with icicles on their masts and very white looking covers.
After checking out the newly refurbished clubhouse (well done UYC very impressive effort!), we gathered in the training room to decide what to do with the day, as the lake was flat calm and it didn't look like any miracles were happening any time soon (so much for wind dances I guess). We were straight in to action, heading back outside to watch Dave ‘berate a boat’ for about half an hour, coming up with things none of us had ever even considered doing to our boats, leaving the Rastrick boys looking very downtrodden as he trotted off after doing his damage to their boat. Heading inside we then had a master class in splicing, which felt like trying to learn how to speak giraffe to most of us. Practise makes perfect apparently.
After lunch and thawing our fingers again, we headed back outside to look at leach control on both the main and jib, focusing on how much of a difference the main sheet makes in light airs- this was really useful to see from a side on view as you could really see the effects which is really hard when you're in a boat. The wind then came streaming down the lake, so with frenzied haste we rigged and changed. However, as Sod's law always comes into play, the minute our mainsails hit the top of the mast, the wind dropped. With our plan of mini races down the drain, we did not waste and had a pumping race round a windward mark and back in. Whilst it must only have been about 100 metres, it felt like we had rocked our boats all the way to Pooley Bridge and back! The day was finished off with a chat about starts and start preparation, with the coaches deciding that a session was due on trigger pulls the next day.
In the evening we joined the Ullswater Yacht Club members at their annual Christmas dinner. Everyone absolutely loved the evening, with exceptionally good food and company, so thank you to UYC for being to welcoming and friendly towards us.
On Sunday we started off the day with a session on trigger pulls, where we paired up and did our own count downs within our pairings, so then we could compare each other and see who got the best speed out of it etc. Unfortunately the wind died again though making the exercise very difficult, so we headed in and did some video analysis of the morning whilst we waited for the wind to fill in.
After lunch the wind gradually filled in, giving us a steady yet shifty breeze. We did mini races all afternoon, focusing on starts and later on roll tacks. The races saw Ollie/ Esther and Henry/ Jamie battling it out for first place all afternoon, with the main bunch of us very close behind, giving great close racing. On behalf of all the squad members, thank you to UYC for their kind hospitality, especially letting us join them for the Xmas dinner on Saturdays evening.
Thank you to the coaches, Adam, Martin and our guest coach Dave Hivey, despite the lack of wind I certainly felt I had learnt loads! Once again it was brilliantly organised by Erica.