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Great Britain and France join together to train

Since 2019, each country has been in different lockdowns and for different amounts of time, which has disrupted training and competitions.

As we all know Commodore Lucy Hodges MBE loves watching sailors grow, and those in our fellow sailing countries. So when she heard about the amazing new French Fédération of Sailing, UNADEV, base nautique de Sciez's' new facilities and the up and coming training and event, she jumped at a chase to take some sailors out to the beatuful location and sail together.

The view from the water of the sailing club flags flying blue sky.

With flights booked and a small team, Lucy, Colin, Kate and Judith set off to Sciez. All we can say before you read this blog is what a warm and welcoming village. We had beaches to swim from, bars and restaurants that overlooked the lake and yes, we had some amazing sailing.

Day one was an early start, and we mean early, but it was great to land to some lovely warm sun in Geneva. With Lucy's knowledge of the area and the campsite providing some information, the team planned to take the bus and tram into the centre of Geneva, but the last bus was not for another hour and a half so it was Uber that saved the day.

Arriving at midday to Camping Chatelet, which we highly recommend, our accommodation was just perfect with outside space we could all enjoy. There was a lovely welcoming snack of French bread and cheese awaiting us.

We then headed down to the sailing club, which has been built in the last two years, We will say that from the moment we were met by our fellow French sailors, the welcome and hospitality was amazing. We thought on day one we were just saying hi. but, no we all jumped on board boats and headed out with the French team on Lake Geneva with the mountains all around us. We weren't sure whether we had the right outfits and Lucy didn't know if she had the right sun tan cream but a great four hour sail was had by all.

View of the lake and mountains from the plane window all blue.

After an amazing afternoon, we then came ashore to a fabulous barbecue - full of lovely meats and breads along with a fresh salad,. We were looked after so well. After an early start and a great afternoon on the water it was back to our accommodation for an early night ready for the next few days of sailing.

The accommodation came with free bikes, so with little or no cars in the quiet village, Lucy and Colin headed out early for an explore to the local beach. There were stunning views. The wind hadn't quite started to funnel off the mountains but the forecast was for a lovely 8-12 knots of breeze.

After a small, well large cheeky fresh croissant, which became a morning tradition while we were there, it was down to the club. With a plan of the day made by the teams, the sonars were rigged and all boats headed out. Match Racing was quite new to Judith and Kate but with support and communication from Lucy they were soon off round the course finding the marks. Just before lunch we also worked as a group on starts - entering on the four-minute gun and finding your opponent. The French team are still quite new to the sport but showed great control of the boat and awareness of where others were.

It was in for lunch for another great lunch - pasta. It's true to say the training in the UK has pushed all the sailors with our monthly sessions, and the French team had there heads down. But, after a quick chat over lunch with Lucy about how far they had come and smiles were back. Lucy then joined them on board and worked with them providing a bit of coaching to help them along. Colin also jumped in with Judith and Kate so the day finished with a good old battle at the start seeing Lucy and the French team give Colin and Judith 2 pre start penalties. Colin and the team fought right back to the finish and everyone came off smiling. The French had bounced back in to their training.

Lucy pushing the French team up pre start, Judith main Kate Gib

Whilst we were out there, we were also lucky to be taken out on the French team yatch and have a go sailing up and down the lake with the app SARA made for iPhones, designed by the French team.

The app doesn't do the sailing for you or beep to say you are on course, but it's smart and can provide you with wind angles to mark or course over ground. The same information you'd get if your were sighted looking at a chart plotter. This means that you use your sailing knowledge to take on the right angles to make your way to the mark. Truly clever and it meant you were thinking all the time, it's a must to try and down load.

Two teams together eating pizza on the final night.

Our time came to an end and with a large goodbye meal and a dance with a local band on the beach, we finished our week off nicely.

Each morning, the team said how lucky the French team were to have the amazing facilities to host their charity, so we're looking to make the week a yearly event for more sailors to join together.

We thank all involved, we can't wait to be back!


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