This Autumn saw the launch of our latest venture in sail training, the ULAC Sailing Academy. 12 lucky sailors have signed up to this 2 year programme which will see them develop their sailing skills and gain valuable teaching experience and hopelfully graduating after 2 years ready to become highly competant dinghy instructors. One of our local stars, Samuel White, will be keeping you all updated with the academy progress through his weekly reports, below are the first 3 weeks, looks like they are really getting stuck in.
Saturday 19th September 2009
The first day of the Sailing Academy started well; everybody arrived in time for our instructors Mark and Astrid to give us the briefing about the Academy itself. We learnt about the topics that would be covered during the course of the Academy and what we should expect.
Everyone was quite sleepy so we started off with a few ice-breakers to get us all awake and ready for a day of sailing. After an early lunch and a quick rehearsal of the sailing techniques that we would be tested on, we got out on the lake and tried to remind ourselves of anything we had forgotten!
But what day’s sailing could be complete without a quick race to finish off? The race started well but one of the RS Visions soon capsized in a gust and because of the lack of weight of its crew was unable to right itself quickly and soon dropped to the back of the pack! They eventually righted themselves and finished a respectable middle.
It was a great start to what promises to be an excellent course!
Saturday 26th September 2009
The second week was just as good as the first but quieter because we had been divided into two groups! We started off with a weather briefing and soon got to rigging the boats. We learnt how to rig a spinnaker on a Vision which was interesting if slightly complicated! We were divided into two groups and I discovered that I would be practising my sailing without a rudder; this is one of the most annoyingly tricky sailing manoeuvres! We just about managed it and were pleased to break off for lunch.
After lunch we switched to sailing with a spinnaker which was much more fun! Sadly the wind completely died so we had to come in for the remainder of the afternoon. What we did instead was practice teaching sailing basics to each other. This was great fun! It was another great day even if it wasn’t all plain sailing!
Saturday 2nd October 2009
This Saturday started off looking like we would have the opposite problem from usual as the wind was gusty and very strong; however we soldiered on and rigged our boats to cope with the strong winds! We were divided into two groups; one would be doing trapezing while the other group would be sailing by themselves and practising manoeuvres. I was trapezing, this was great fun as it involves hooking yourself up to harness and clipping this harness onto part of the boat and then standing up out of the boat with only your feet on the sides, it’s very exhilarating but can be absolutely petrifying if the boat capsizes on top of you. After lunch we swapped over and I went out in one of the smaller Feva’s. It was one of the best afternoons of sailing I have ever had! The wind died down slightly but it was still strong enough to get some really fast sailing in. We had to practice our coming along side and our picking up a mooring, but the most fun came when I managed to catch the wind just right and managed to get planing. This is when you get up enough speed and you’re sitting back in the boat so that the front lifts up and you go shooting off, it is brilliant!
It was another really good day!