Half Term Frolics at Otley 3rd & 4th November

Fleet of Mirror dinghies sailing in a light wind on a sunny day in November

A crisp and cold November morning with light winds and a chill in the air, the boats were rigged and the bacon butties cooked. The coach for the weekend, Sarah Richards, set the focus for Saturday on starting and the first exercise was a 9, 6, 3, Go start where we would have a practice start on the 6 and then the 3.

The wind filled in slightly with a decent wind to test both our starts and our light wind techniques throughout the morning. When we went in for lunch to warm our frostbitten toes, we watched the video footage and reviewed our starts and discussed how to improve. Jacket potatoes were served in the galley to warm us up and many hot drinks were made! After lunch we set off back out for the afternoon session, we began with a 3, 2, 1, Go start where the ‘Go’ could be 30 seconds before or after the ‘Go’ should have been. This exercise was designed to make us hang on the line, stopping our boats so we were able to power up and get a good start at any point within that minute either side of the ‘Go’. The next activity was a box start exercise where we had two buoys below the start line forming a box that we had to stay in once the 3 minute signal had gone. After sailing and the debrief we packed our boats up and put them at the end of the dinghy park (to avoid them going up in smoke should a stray firework fall on them from the club bonfire) and went home for an early start on Sunday.

Foggy, chilly and no wind at Otley on Sunday. The focus for the day was intended to be spinnaker work. After a discussion and a sheet to complete about the jobs and processes helm and crew go through to hoist the spinnaker, a small amount of wind filled in so we set out to do a windward leeward course to practice hoisting and dropping the spinnaker efficiently. After a lovely lunch of pasta bake and garlic bread the wind had fully disappeared so we spent the afternoon looking at the roles of helm and crew through hoisting and gybing the spinnaker and then we looked at and compared boat setup and mast rake. Still no wind meant a slightly earlier home time!

It was a lovely weekend getting to meet some of this years squad and I think everyone is really looking forward to next weekend at Hollingworth. Thanks to Otley Sailing Club for hosting the Half Term Frolics this year, thank you to the galley for the food and a big thanks to Sarah Richards for coaching.

Thanks to Helen Grayson for taking, and allowing us to use, her photos.

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