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Weekend One of Lockdown Online Coming Alive with Chris Watts.Racing Rules Explained.

Lockdown was a great chance for learning and asking questions. Blind Sailing was truly thankful to the support they have from all the coaches and guest speakers, and as Commodore Lucy promised she would turn it into hands on training with the coaches.

Colin and Chris moving the model boats around down wind.

Chris is an amazing support to Blind Sailing, he thinks out of the box in his seminars not just for the blind sailors but his large model boats turn the rules into real life. You are able to move them around and see or for our team feel each scenario or rule, without the pace of a race.

The weekend was held as a joint training with members of South Cerney Sailing Club, it was broken into two, with onshore rules on the Saturday and then on Sunday Chris jumped into the rib and observed the two races so he could feed back, and all the sailors could talk through any situations.

Saturday started with everyone mixing and getting to know each other, (being aware of COVID). Chris was support by Paul Kimmens to ensure the group could get hands on and have support. We started running through how the basic rules are mad up, Chris had gone through this online in depth, but the boats were out, and it was being put into practice. As Chris says it is the fundamental rules you come back to port, starboard, windward, leeward and then you build.

There is nothing like seeing light bulb moments and for some sailors out there racing not always understanding the changes to the rules suddenly going oh my I did not know that. It makes the training worth it.

For our blind sailors it creates the picture that they do not see out on the water. One area that we get lots of questions on is down wind, creating overlaps and who has right of way. So it was great to spend a good bit of time with the team moving the boats around and working our way down wind.

Kate said “it was great learning, and I am truly thankful to Chris and the large model boats. It gave me a chance to feel and understand the rules as the boats moved. Chris put me at ease and made the rules come to life”

Chris working with John and Elena both hands on with the model boats down wind at the mark.

Saturday, you could hear in the bar the talk of rules and brains still thinking about what they had learnt.

Sunday, the breeze was good slightly strong but good to go. Our sailors set off for two races, I am truly thankful to all our volunteers and the club for the support they give, and it is great to have these weekends as it is learning for all as are all our coached weekends, you never stop learning even our coaches. When our sailors come off with smiles we all smile, Sunday racing was tricky conditions but great to see John crewing and hiking with Hazel giving him confidence, John is a climber that thinks nothing of heights but is building confidence with the water. I won't name all but Kate was out too and on the helm a place she is learning and as a B1 its not easy.

Racing was tight with 24 boats out on the water and of course, there was a few calls, at the marks.

It was back ashore and time for tea and a recap, it always funny how everyone is in a slightly different race. It was great to have Chris out on the racetrack, as he was able to come in and offer support to the racers and race team. There was some great conversations also people commented on how much more alter they were.

Cannot say thank you enough to Chris Watts and Paul Kimmens and of course our great team at South Cerney Sailing Club headed up by Jonny Stevenson and our amazing volunteers.

So pleased that lockdown learning is turning into face to face.


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