Getting To Know The RS21!

The RYA with RS are developing opportunities for all to race in the RYA Keelboat League. A type of racing we love here at Blind Sailing, 12 minuet races and lots of them no time to dwell on the last race as you are quick into the next one.

Another new club to visit and be part of there RS21 training over the 6 weeks was Hayling Island Sailing Club, a place that again provided all we needed in one place, and it was great to have Niall Mayant- Best back coaching.

With September approaching fast and the RYA Sailability Keelboat league, Blind Sailing was keen to train in the RS21 and show those sailors looking to be selected what they can expect from the boats. Comodor Lucy is a big fan, and says "they are fast, responsive and you feel very safe in a good breeze, but they soon let you know like a dinghy when you have got it wrong".

The team met, with again the sun shinning and a good 15 - 18 notes of breeze blowing down the river. Niall was keen to get us all going so we new the boats first hand, he gave a run down of what to expect and what to look out for. The aim of the morning was windward - Leeward to get all crews going and familiar with the boats.

Jonny C, Dennis, Sarah and Vicki kit up and heading down wind in the sun.

Well it was a shock to some just how smooth the boats performed and the need to ensure your weight was in the right place, as Niall said not a boat for one team member to relax.

We came a shore and was spoilt by our team of volunteers who made us welcome with a feast and lots of cold water. As little did we know the fun was aboard to begin.

The warm sun and the great breeze, was just the ingredients needed to play with spinnakers, for some it was the first time and for others it was a new boat playing spinnakers.

This is where in the report we turn to Kate Healey for her account of the weekend, before we rap up.

" Not sure what I was expecting but before returning to the water, we had a chance to get a hands-on feel of a spinnaker, its corners and we talked through how it is deployed, how it is flown and then packed away a picture I and many of my sailing buddies tried to paint in our minds.

Once we were on the water every boat had several successful attempts to fly their spinnaker, every team encountered similar issues when trying to launch a bit of a twist put one big pull and it was out. We all swop rolls as we got more and more familiar with the feel and some started gybing down the river. I know and felt that there was boats full of smiles.

After the first day’s training session one of our onshore volunteers could be heard explaining to one of our sailors that she had had to explain to a member of our host sailing club why our coach could be seen and heard constantly giving verbal instructions. Everyone from blind sailing knows the reason that he shouts is not just because our sailors have sight loss but also because he is a very enthusiastic coach 😊 Niall bring passion to all and is always looking to advance individual knowledge of all members in the large group.

Our first training day ended with a discussion of how we thought the day had gone, and if we had had issues, if possible, how did we recover from them and what had we learnt. It was a pattern over the boats of the twist when launching and it was highlighted to give the sheet a pull as the launch of the kit was half way. A tiered team but a happy team left, we believe for the bar or a quick nap.

That evening we socialised over dinner and a few drinks; some of us took the opportunity to have a gentle stroll along the beach, the club is in an amazing setting and of course the sun helps.

Sunday morning dawned with more wind than we had the day before and after breakfast, we again started the training day with a briefing. As we had to go home after today’s training session it was decided that we would have a longer training session in the morning and due to the strength of the wind we would also use three boats instead of four meaning that we’d have five people in each boat, another chance to practice how we might race in September. Having five people onboard meant that everyone on board became familiar with each other and it again in the stronger breeze was key to have all weight on the side..

We continued our spinnaker training and despite four brooches every team had successful down-wind blast with a spinnaker up and new helms learnt how to control the broaches with their crews.. We learnt that it was about finding the knife edge of balance that would make the boat blast along. We also worked on sailing up wind in more breeze sailing just inside the jib and keeping it moving and for the new main sheet trimmers it was about playing the main not letting it out too far the boat would slip sideways and not forgetting to pull it back in working with the helm.

The day was ended by yet another welcome lunch and a debrief. Everyone from sailors, volunteers to coaches had had an amazing time and we all left for home with a fuzzy feeling, well I defiantly did."

Great to hear from Kate who is one of our B1 sailors who takes every opportunity she can.

Great thanks for RS and Hayling Island Sailing Club, Niall and all our volunteers was a busy and fun weekend.

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