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08/08/2009
RS400 Pre-Nationals Coaching Arun YC

  • 49 RS400s at the Irish Nationals!
  • RS400s in the sun at Lymington, 2015
  • RS400s in the sun at Lymington, 2015
  • Howard Farbrother & Dan Martin win the Gul RS400 Inlands 2015
  • JP Watersports RS400 Scottish Tour at Royal Findhorn, July 2016
  • Jon & Nicky enjoying the 2016 Inlands
  • RS400 Eurocup, YC Carnac, May 2018
  • RS400 Eurocup, YC Carnac, May 2018
  • RS400 Eurocup, YC Carnac, May 2018
  • RS400 Eurocup, YC Carnac, May 2018
  • Largo Bay Games

Yet again Arun sailing club proved to be splendid hosts to the 400 fleet when 11 boats descended on the picturesque riverside location for the pre-nationals coaching day by the inimitable Paul Hillier.

Iain and Fiona managed to start the day badly with a puncture on the way, not as you’d expect in the trailer, but in the car.  Four new tyres later, they were able to make good time, and only missed the first part of the briefing.

This covered, pre-start manoeuvres, wind bends and shifts, positioning on the line, and gate starts.

Paul then prepared us for on the on the water exercises.  This was to cover multiple starts, rabbit runs, down-wind sailing, and mini-races.  Prior to launching Paul demonstrated the order of controls to power and depower the rig. 

We then all launched into sunshine, fair breeze and slight waves.  (Hopefully this will be the weather Heather has booked for Mounts Bay!).  Then with the eleven boats grouped into 3 sections, each section to start at either the committee boat end, middle or port tack lay-line in a specific order we began our multiple starts.  This forced the boats to practice positioning, lay-lines, timing, acceleration and boat on boat tactics.  As there were multiple starts in quick succession, and we were only practicing, all the boats were able to be more assertive than perhaps they might have been on a real start line, thus on all the starts the majority of the boats were OCS every time! 

Rabbit runs involved all the boats starting together and trying to hold the position they had won on the start line whilst all continuing on the same tack following a gate-style start.  Despite the earlier starting practice, there were still a few boats reaching down to the gate-boat having found that they could not hold their position in the increasing tide, but all good practice for boat on boat tactics and no collisions.

By now the tide has swept us all far to the West.  So we had a long downwind session practicing maintaining the perfect profile, with a flat boat and mirroring the leach profile of the spinnaker with the jib and main.  Each boat being followed in turn by Paul in the rib shouting words of encouragement and advice.

As we neared the harbour again, Paul set up several mini-races each less than 10 minutes long, this allowed us to put into practice everything we had learned in the earlier sessions.  But we were all concentrating so hard on getting the perfect start, holding our positions in the first beat, keeping the boat flat and maintaining the ideal main/headsail/spinnaker profile we forgot to look out for wind shifts, and some even missed the lay-line to the top mark altogether! 

With one torn spinnaker, one snapped halyard and 22 smiling faces we all sailed back to the sailing club with thoughts of thirst quenching cool beer in mind, only to have underestimated the power of the outgoing tide in the river.  The club ribs performed a sterling job of towing us all back safely through to the beach, and many boats learned another lesson for the Nationals, a minimum of 10m towing line is essential, any shorter and towing several boats in line becomes very difficult.

Eventually all boats safely home, and beer in hand, Paul gave us all a thorough de-brief on what he had witnessed during the day backed up by video and photographic evidence.

All 8 videos are available to watch here www.youtube.com/user/paulhilliar, including the proof that Charlotte despite her diminutive size is perfectly capable of telling Ian where to go on the race course!

Thanks to Paul for a splendid day, and to Arun Sailing Club for providing an excellent venue, and great safety boat/race management/beer recovery program.

Fingers crossed we can remember all we learnt and get some excellent results at Mounts Bay.

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