For those of you just tuning in: I've been working at "Raising The Sail" 420 Advanced Racing Clinic Hosted by the Barnstable High School and Sailing Boosters Club at the Hyannis Yacht Club. This is their first time running such an event, however; you would never know! This clinic has been amazing and had they never said a word; I would have thought they'd been doing this for years.
I am working with coaches Tim Fallon and Kyle Shattuck; both accomplished, knowledgeable and AMAZING with the kids. We have 30 high school sailors who hung on their every word and it shows on the water. Today's schedule of events included:
- Excellent Breakfast
- Chalk Talk
- Gear Up
- Warm Up
- Rig and Launch
- Water Drills
- Chalk Talk
- Racing (Watching them in the afternoon gave me chills it was so amazing!)
This was all done between 8am and 4pm . . .
What impressed me the most through out the day: the attitude of the kids. From the moment we arrived, they were ready to go, eager to learn and put new knowledge to use right away. One half expected to see a clear line between the upper and lower levels . . . nope. The level of skill was high and tight across the board.
The day began with a race to simply divide them into 2 manageable groups to work with. The coaches led them through speed and boat handling drills (I assisted at this point with boat handling and spent half my time with each group. My focus was on their body movements and posture with a goal of keeping speed and going fast). We stopped for lunch, quick chat and back on the water for fleet racing. This is the point where I was blown away.
These kids, each and everyone of them clearly paid attention to everything, soaking it up like a dry sponge! From the start of the first race to the finish of the last was simply beautiful sailing. There was one standout moment for me. I looked across the water, virtually every boat in my view heading to weather and with every tack observed in that one moment of time: each boat accelerated out of it in text book style...I had chills! As a result a tight fleet and any one's race to be won. When time came for us to be off the water; I was terribly sad knowing I would not be there to witness it all again tomorrow.
Even after a full day of solid sailing, they were still all ears and gave the coaches their complete attention, despite being tired. I envision tomorrow just as rewarding for both the kids and coaches. This group took in everything yesterday, today and I look forward staying in touch to see how they grow over the season after this experience. The questions and genuine concern of making healthier choices and developing better sailing skills was rewarding. My next clinic is not till June (Sail Newport) and I am counting down with excitement to do it all over again!
I could write for hours about the benefit's of youth sailing clinics, but you all know this! Looking to 2008; I would like to reach out to the community for a little help. This group would like to open the clinic to more 420 sailors in the region. It's a goal of SailTrim.Org to see them receive a sponsor who would be interested in covering the cost of coaches plus one more (4 total) for next year's event. The interested sponsor will receive ad/sales space on my site and monthly newsletter from the date they commit till next year's event plus one month post.
What would be really cool . . .a flood of e-mails from potential sponsors!!
Tomorrow morning is my last chance to infect their heads with healthy tricks and tips and as they sail off I must return home . . .what's next? You'll have to check back to find out (smile).
Fair Winds and thank you for reading! ~ Jenn