NeilPryde National Youth Development Squad south session 3 at Queen Mary SC

Fleet of Mirror dinghies sailing on Queen Mary Reservoir on a grey day

Last weekend, the 24th-25th November the National Youth Development Squad South squad had their third training weekend at Queen Mary Sailing Club. This was our first session inland so far, to be followed by a second at Datchet. There were only 6 out of the 10 boats normally there on Saturday morning so there was more coaching all around. It was around 14-15 knots and we went out to the other end of the reservoir.

To start off we did tacking practice by starting off following the rib then heading up and tacking every time Chris shouted ‘TACK!’, every now and again we would do the same but downwind with some spinnaker gybing practice. Then we started doing a windward-leeward course but having to put in 5-10 tacks and 3-5 gybes per lap. We then went in for a nice warm lunch. Over lunch the wind picked up and by the time we went back out it was 15-20 knots. We went out and carried on with the windward leeward course for a bit longer, by this time everyone was getting a bit tired. We then moved on to the dreaded gutbuster, where it was still 5-10 tacks but you have to do a full turn around a coach right in the middle of the course, now peoples arms were seriously hurting and everyone was very tired, so we packed up for the day ready for an even harder day on Sunday!

When it came to Sunday morning it was not very nice, the wind was howling through the dinghy park and it was freezing cold. The wind was at a constant 20-25 knots gusting 30… there were lots of gusts. Chris and Izzy decided to take us to the other side of the reservoir as the water was calmer and there were a lot less waves. All morning we were just doing a windward leeward course as the conditions were not very easy to sail in, there were a few capsizes but not too many. Lunch was like heaven on Sunday in the warm sailing club as we watched the freezing cold windsurfers out on the water. For the afternoon we just did 3 races, 2 laps of the windward-leeward course with a leeward gate, it was very gusty that afternoon, so there were a few patches of water where there was not much wind so it was very tactical as to where there was more wind and which way you should go. Overall it was a good fun weekend and thank you to Chris, Izzy, Queen Mary Sailing Club and all the Parents for the weekend.


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