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Start Racing Course at Bewl Valley SC 10/11 July 2010

This RYA Course was organised by Bewl Valley Sailing Club. It was a superb course with three highly skilled instructors, including the Clubs professional. Approximately 18 boats took part from Toppers, Wayfarers, Feva, Magno and Xenon etc a real successful mix!

On the first day the winds were fortunately relatively light and the day focussed on boat control; following closely in line trying to avoid collisions with the boat in front, running a tight figure of eight course that gave practical experience in applying the avoiding collision rules and of course many practise racing starts.

The theory sessions covered starting  tactics, the essential rules of racing eg. avoiding collisions, rounding marks and penalties and some very useful general tips on sailing.

On the second day the winds were much stronger. The emphasis this day was on starting techniques and boats were paired off for a succession of short races round a single mark and back.  The objective was to illustrate the importance of a good start position and boat control.  Getting either in such conditions was not easy!

The theory sessions covered course selection, tacking at the right time, how to steal the wind from your competitor and how to take advantage of a competitor around a mark.  Videos were taken on the last day that when played back gave an opportunity to realise our errors and occasionally some slick sailing.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the course and were invited back for a refresher next year to assess our racing progress. Last but not least we were all pleased to receive the RYA Start Racing Certificate to add to our Log Books.

The aftermath was some very creaky limbs, back and arm muscles. I discovered some muscles I didn't know I had!

On the more techy side our Xenon was criticised for having its toestraps too lose - I have since tightened these and based on Weds evenings sailing it has made hiking out that much easier.  It was also criticised for having the Tack line on the Gennaker a shade too long such that the gennaker was not held as tight as possible to the end of the bowsprit.  Have reviewed the Tack line settings and corrected them but have not as yet tried the Gennaker to note the difference.

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