National Youth Development Squad North at Ullswater 18th & 19th April

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Photos by Dave Woodhead

The Mirror National Youth Development Squad ( north) completed their winter training programme with a superb weekend at Ullswater Yacht Club over Easter. Two final days of training took place on Friday and Saturday and were followed by the class Northern Championship on Sunday and Monday. Although Friday was a little lacking in wind, the sun shone all weekend and the wind filled in for the remaining days. There cannot be a better venue when the sun shines - an 8 mile long lake, spectacular mountains still retaining some snow and  T shirt weather around the club. Those freezing winter gales seemed a distant memory!

Friday’s training necessarily revolved around light wind technique, something not practised since the very first weekend back in November at Yorkshire Dales S C. Experimenting with trim, balance and sail shape provided some challenges and interesting conclusions. On Saturday the wind filled in and in the morning the emphasis shifted to boat handling with plenty of trigger pulls, tacks, gybes, mark rounding and 360s on the agenda. The afternoon was used to conclude the important squad race series. Squad Champions were Rachael ( Reg) Grayson and Gemma Francis- Burnett from Beaver Sailing Club. Unable to attend Ullswater the girls had dominated the series to win without sailing in the final event. The rest of the places however were very closely contested. In the end the another girl pairing of Emma Clayton and Faye Caswell from Yorkshire Dales took 2nd with Robert Richardson ( Royal Windermere) and Megan Thornley ( Ullswater) taking 3rd. The ever improving Rastrick brothers, Henry and Jamie from Ripon, won the series at Ullswater to take 4th place overall. In the crews race series Megan Thornley deservedly took the honours.

The National Youth Development Squad ( north)  has been a highly successful squad. At the joint Mirror squad weekend at Carsington last month, sailors from this squad dominated the racing taking 5 out of the top 6 positions against the RYA National Junior Squad and southern branch of the Youth Squad.

Six weekends of intensive training have taken place at Yorks Dales, West Lancs, Beaver, South Staffs, Carsington and Ullswater.  Each weekend had a particular focus theme and set of skills to develop and perfect. At West lancs for example it was spinnaker work. At South Staffs the squad abandoned their Mirrors for one day and experienced a day of team racing in the host club’s Fireflys, thus  broadening their skill and knowledge base, but more importantly having great fun! At Carsington we invited along a National Judge ( William Jeffcoate) and gleaned from him more insight, in a none threatening atmosphere, into the world of rules and protests. This has been a comprehensive training programme and a character building experience for these young sailors who have shown great determination in all weathers. The improvement in performance has been quite dramatic and bodes well for their future sailing careers.

The Squad will be running again next winter and will be looking to recruit more young sailors who want to excel. ( Both north and south branches of the squad) Check the NYDS page on this site later in the year for details or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register your interest.

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