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    RS 500 Race Training at Datchet.


    On Saturday 17th October twelve RS 500’s gathered at Datchet Water Sailing Club for a day of race training led by Nick Martin.  Seven of these were club members with the travellers coming from all over, including one boat from as far afield as Skerries in Ireland.


    In the morning a number of simple mark rounding exercises were performed followed by a couple of very short races.  During these the coach was offering encouragement and pointing out areas for improvement.  He was also busy with a video camera finding examples of good and not so good boat handling techniques.


    Over lunch these video clips were discussed by Nick Martin with some additional input from Tim Wilkins, the new RS 500 class association training rep.  The merits of crew/helm co-ordination during tacking and deciding who was balancing the boat in various wind strengths were discussed.  We were then briefed on the afternoon’s short course racing.


    After getting back on the water four short two lap races were run over the course of the afternoon session.  With the short windward/leeward course; some tricky wind shifts; and the number of boats on the start line, very few boats showed much consistency in their finishing positions.  Comments to individual boats from Nick and Tim seemed to make the competition tougher in each successive race, with some very close battles going on throughout.


    At the final video debrief comments were made about making sure you were on the line at the start and not following the crowd.  One of the most useful insights was about how you should try to get on the leeward stern quarter of the boats in front after rounding the windward mark.  This was a revelation for many of the helms who had started life in symmetric boats where you normally want to stay to windward.


    Unfortunately the club racing planned for the Sunday did not happen due to a lack of wind.  Better luck next time.


    Our thanks go to Nick Martin and Tim Wilkins for providing some excellent coaching and to Datchet Water Sailing Club for organising the event.  Please keep an eye of the Class Association Website for details of a series of training events, starting early in the new year, as a build up for the first RS 500 World Championships next year.  At least one of these will be attached to the Datchet Winter Warm-Up Series in February 2010 (http://www.dwsc.co.uk/winter_warmup.html).


    Michael Clapp

    RS 500 637.



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