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On the 8th and 9th of March we had the 4th of our squad weekends at South Staffordshire sailing club where we were joined by ex-squad sailors Chloe and Izzy and we planned to do some team racing.

Saturday was a medium wind that allowed us to get a good day of training in despite the gusts and shifts. We spent the morning doing a couple of different training exercises to catch up on the things we had previously had to miss out on due to the gales. When we launched we all found marks to practice trigger pulls at before going into a few gap attack starts to practice finding and defending spots on the start line. After this we went onto river bank exercise and did a few starts before heading in for fantastic lunch prepared by the parents. After lunch we had a couple of goes at a twin windward mark activity (which Emma decided we should name twinward marks) where we didn’t know which windward mark we were going to until the first boat was getting close. After this we went into some races with 9-6-3-go starts where we had to do practice starts on 6 minutes and 3 minutes. We completed 3 of these races (which Reg won all of) before doing an optional crews race which 4 crews decided to take part in before heading in.

After a debrief we all had sat down to music for a tea of pizza and chips. The music got changed a few times before eventually ending up on Disney songs! After tea we all relaxed in the clubhouse when the girls somehow ended up all plaiting each other’s hair.

On Sunday we arrived at the club at 9 o’clock for Emma’s fitness. After fitness we had a briefing where Dave and Sarah explained a few differences of team racing. We then had to find a different crew/helm to spend the day sailing with. We were then put into 4 teams of 2 boats and given the race timetable. The conditions for the team racing couldn’t have been better! It was a bit lighter than Saturday which meant we could all handle the fireflies. After launching the club fireflies, we did a total of 6 races in the morning where we all competed against each other. After lunch we then headed out for more team racing where we did another 6 races before switching the crews around in our teams. We then completed another 6 races. After this 2 teams: Reg, Megan, Jamie Wilson and Alexander (Team B) and April, Gemma, Emma and Izzy (team A), were joint on points with 6 wins each. This resulted in a final of best of 3 between the two teams which was very competitive. The first race was slightly embarrassing for team A when on the downwind leg April and Izzy gybed on to port and called starboard at Jamie and Megan. The B team went on to win the race which made the A team determined to win the following race. Unfortunately for team A their determination did not pay off when they were beaten by the B team in the second race.

After packing all the boats up, we had a short debrief (where Dave supplied prizes of Haribos) before all heading off home.

Thank you Dave, Sarah, Emma and the parents for making the squad weekend so good, we all enjoyed it very much!

Report by Emma Clayton

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