The new RYA National Junior Squad had its first outing at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) last weekend. Eight boats have been selected with representatives from Poole, Itchenor, South Staff, Restronguet, Penzance and Otley.
The first day was the land day where the squad got to use the Olympic gym and trained with Paul Goddison. After this there was a series of lectures on food and fitness. This is the first time the national squad has run a residential so all eight boats crews were packed off to Portland lodge for well earned rest.
On Monday the squad was put to its first real test – and what a test. With driving rain and wind gusts of 35 knots our young group of sailors launched themselves – with parents at work but watching through their work PCs through the webcams at WPNSA with open mouths. After some eventful training and racing alongside the Cadets the squad came in for some early lunch and debrief. After lunch the wind continued and the squad managed to get out again under the guidance of Catherine Putt.
Tuesday and Wednesday there was less breeze but after four days of hard training the squad decamped and loaded up ready for the long journey home. Weymouth really is a terrific venue, made for sailing and with with the Olympics there there is a tremendous atmosphere and excitement. Our national squad move to Oxford Sailing Club in a couple of weeks where Catherine will continue to put them through the training. Watch out for the RYA Mirror South and North Zone Squad reports in the next couple of weeks when they start their campaigns for 2012.
Report by Jonathan Davies