ACF Sailing – Winter Training / Racing Update
3-4th November 2018
What a fantastic couple of days, we chose to not let the forecast defeat us this weekend as it was safe to sail, just really windy at the top end of our limits. We tweaked our plans to work on heavy wind sailing techniques, staying safe and working as a team as this is never practiced, thus creating an experience in a controlled environment. Then the weather on Saturday was a typically Cowes day where your sheltered by the Island with the Sun shining hard, followed by a huge drop in the forecast on Sunday with fantastic conditions for developing, learning and building confidence.
When sailing with people you may or may not know well, the key is to focus mainly on the communication and just slow things down especially when windy by planning further in advance. If you watch the top sailors they almost never need to crash tack to avoid a collision, etc, due to they are aware of what’s going on around them and always ready as a team. This is the same in a super yacht or an old ship which could take both a long time and distance to tack, if rushed could lose its rig.
This weekend we showed what we are aiming to achieve with many different disabilities, mixed with able help ranging from people with lots of experience to those with little and needing a confidence boost. The best bit is watching new friendships develop of people who have just meet with friendly discussions on land after sailing, able-bodied and disabled individuals chatting about where they struggled and what they learnt throughout the day which if we didn’t put on the opportunity they then would not have had.
On Saturday, we started with a bit of a discussion on how to communicate with visually impaired people, but with a different spin. We used Lego with only the visually impaired person able to handle it and the sighted having to talk them through it. This helped to just get people into the mindset of the detail individuals needed and create some team bonding. We then took out 1 boat and worked on tacking and gybing focusing on the communication, steering and general boat handling.
Sunday was followed up by a few extra people coming to help, enabling us to get out a second boat and start a little winter race series with mixed teams and doing some match racing, with homemade rules to keep it fun. Our start was circling a RIB within the last minute of a 3,2,1,Go which meant you had to think about where you were (with no overtaking). Then a 2 lap race with a floating leeward mark (the RIB) to enable us to keep the racing tough and variable. Also if the lead boat was to get more than 10 boat lengths ahead then they would be given a 1 turn penalty. This consisted of 6x 25-30 minute races.
Huge thanks to the team, volunteers and the support from the Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club and Duke of York, Cowes to create these opportunities.
We’re really pumped to create more of these opportunities of fun, social, sail race training mixed for all. If yourself or a friend is interested, disabled or able, then please do get them to get in contact via firstname.lastname@example.org
Further planned dates are on our website and app which can be found via www.acfsailing.org
The ACF Sailing Team