October 17, 2010 23:26
Saturday saw the first day of the Grafham Water annual catamaran regatta, which was attended by a couple of hundred teams, across classes as diverse as the single handed Dart sprint 15 through to the NACRA N20 twin wire beast, this year as a special support for the sailors Towergate Mardon in combination with Hugh Styles of TIME ON THE WATER and NACRA provided a free coaching session for sailors at the event.
With catamaran sailing in the fore front of the sailing press at the moment now that the next Americas Cup will be raced in AC45 and AC72 catamarans, there was a real buzz at the event and the sailors jumped at the chance to get some coaching help and an opportunity to improve skills through accessing the free coaching.
The day saw a mix of conditions, but with a biting northerly wind, the wind chill signified the onset of the winter. But this didn’t dampen spirits and the gust and shifty wind was unpredictable to say the least. This made it tricky for the race officer to lay an even course and for the sailors to be able to decipher the shifts until many of them had come back to the beach and discussed it at length in the bar.
The schedule for the Saturday and Sunday was three races and TIME ON THE WATER coach Hugh was on the water observing and taking video of opportunities for teams to improve performance. This was then debriefed shore with both individual and group debriefs and a number of Q&A sessions.
The evenings debrief in the Grafham Water Sailing club, the focus of the session being in two parts:
Tactical and strategic positioning on the race course relative to the course axis and the gust and wind shifts
Mark rounding processes and how to create better tactical options by improving mark rounding smoothness.
Point 1. Was eagerly discussed by the participants, and with some simple rules of thumb provided by Hugh the sailors broke down the scenarios they had experienced and generated game plans for the how they would attack the race course the following day. The biggest hurdle most sailors felt was dealing with traffic and keeping options open to be able to sail their race strategy.
Point 2. Most teams were pushing too late with their spinnakers up too close to the leeward marks to be able to make a good mark rounding exit. Using Video analysis the sailors were able to see exactly how far in advance of the mark a good rounding should start. This was then used to improve routines with a more accurate assessment of the time and distance approach to the marks. Conversely at the windward marks teams found that there were many more options open to them than just following the boats in front, the focus of clear air and keeping in the gusts was highlighted as the priorities going forward.
The opportunity for the future of catamaran sailing is bright at the moment with the added benefit of the Americas Cup 34 in catamarans. In order to support this TIME ON THE WATER is running coaching sessions in catamarans as well as monohull’s during the winter months to help raise the level of skill in the UK fleets across the board, if you are keen and want to fast track your sailing please contact Hugh Styles on email Hugh@timeonthewater.co.uk.
Many thanks to Towergate Mardon and NACRA who made the coaching session possible, but also to Grafham Sailing club and Paul Wakeline for helping make the day a resounding success. Thanks also to Magic Marine for the clothing support for the coaching team.
October 04, 2010 22:01
Dart 18 Towergate Mardon Coaching day with Hugh Styles
This Sunday the Dart 18 Class had their single handed nationals and Women’s nationals hosted by Parkstone Yacht club. In a weekend of variable conditions a good fleet of 25 boats turned up on the Saturday morning with the prospect of a windy weekend.
The reality was that the forecast did not match to the conditions at all, as is so often the case in the UK. The wind didn’t blow on Saturday and did on Sunday, far more than expected, and meant that the Sunday sailing was abandoned. But before this happened the Dart sailors were however able to get a a positive spin from the day for the sailors by linking them into some good local knowledge, coaching of the land effects and tidal influences in Poole harbour, this coaching was provided for the Dart class by Towergate Mardon who’s ambassador Hugh Styles of TIME ON THE WATER (Olympian and high performance sailing coach) attended the event in support of the class.
The Sunday, dawned with a windy and rainy outlook, and from the initial assessments of the meteorology web sites, there was a mixed message from the various weather models of what would be the likely wind conditions, with many forecasting light and variable winds. The end result being that the weather was totally dependant on a weather front moving over the region during Saturday night and Sunday morning, and that this front moving faster than expected managed to hang over Poole for long enough to keep the very windy conditions for such a time that it precluded the Sunday racing from occurring. The one benefit of this situation was that there was an opportunity for a training session with Hugh followed by question and answers in the clubs training room.
Hugh being one of Britain’s few successful Olympic catamaran sailors, was able to focus on the needs of the fleet, and ran an initial assessment session, then helped sailors with some hints and tips of how to improve their starting and mark rounding skills, this then developed into more elaborate insights into how to make big gains in the tactics and strategy of start and mark rounding incidents, where avoiding boat on boat traffic and incidents on the water help provide race wining opportunities.
This coaching day was one of a selection of days which as part of an innovative new approach to supporting dinghy sailors and attendees get the benefit of the teaching as well as the opportunity to get a discount opportunity on insurance premiums. Many classes such as the Flying Fifteen and J24 class have already expressed an interest for coaching days in the future and If your class or fleet would like a Towergate Mardon sponsored Hugh Styles coaching day please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, we currently have several opportunities for these days in the calendar for next year and would be keen to hear from interested clubs or classes.
CEO‘Time On the Water’, agents for Magic Marine UK
October 26, 2009 19:03
This weekends regatta was the last in a series of victories this year for Team Styles, now the UK National and Inland Champion as well as winner of Carnac and Texel course racing and 3rd place finish at the F18 worlds. The Grafham event was a great medium to windy regatta, where Styles Nacra Infusion yet again proved it pedigree with 4 out of 6 race victories.
Saturdays racing was staged in a great 10 – 13 knots, double wiring mostly with shifty offshore winds from the South West. The first race was a tight affair to the first mark with 7 boats all getting there at the same time and a good tussle for the lead, after the first lap it was down to Styles and Grant Piggott in second with Luke Yates third. Styles extended for the next few laps to take the gun and the first win of the weekend.
Race 2 and Hugh and Kyle lead from the first cross up the beat and built a commanding lead over Johnathan Worthington in second also on a Nacra Infusion, with Grant Piggott Nacra Infusion third. This changed abruptly when Kyle Stoneham unfortunately hooked onto the elastic on the last downwind leg to the finish and left Styles trying to stop a capsize then recover the kite and sailor, the team dropped from 1st to 9th and Worthington capitalised on the opportunity to win the race.
Race 3 A perfect port end start for Styles and Stoneham in their Infusion, giving them a great jump on the fleet, leading at the first mark and never to be headed! Worthington had another cracking race, with really good speed, Grant Piggott sailed a great steady race to finish 3rd another counting result in tough conditions.
Saturday night the social activities flowed, with the F18, Handicap and Shearwater classes all competing at drinking games, until everyone went down to the Wheatsheaf pub. Sunday dawned with a big breeze forecast and an opportunity to blow away the cobwebs of the night before, needed by some far more than others!
Race 4 Sunday morning and a start in 15 knots with a heavily port biased line, Styles and Stoneham took full advantage of this and charged off on Starboard into the left side for the pressure, and arriving in at the top mark closely followed by Jon Wothington. The wind built steadily through the race, but Styles was never headed and it was then down to the minor placings to duke out for 2 – 3 overall.
Race 5 and another 5 knots increase which made the average wind speed 20 knots. Still a massive port bias on the line and this time Styles played the Joker card with a flying port tack start, then converging on a tight Starbord lay line just rounding ahead of Stuart Gummer and Grant Piggott in third. Styles maintained this through to the finish and Gummer maintained 2nd with Piggott 3rd.
Race 6, just before the start 24 knots was read on the start boat and by the time the gun had gone it was over 30 knots. The fleet was down to 5 boats after a lot of the boats had had gear failure, but this didn’t deter some tight and testing racing, with Chris Sproat and Lewis Crawford in their Viper leading for 2 laps with the places changing a lot behind them. They had a mishap though and just on the last downwind gybe they capsized and lost the race. Gummer sailed a really strong race to pull through and win the race from Styles in second and Piggott in third.
The overall regatta finishing positions ended as follows:
Hugh Styles and Kyle Stoneham, Nacra Infusion
Grant Piggott and Andy Sinclair, Nacra Infusion
Luke Yates and Matt Humphries, Wildcat
Thanks to Grafham water sailing club, and the rest of the regatta organisers, also for Nacra Europe making this possible with their Help, Boskalis for their great support throughout the year. Then to the UK F18 class organisation for making the years regattas come about. There is one last event which is the Weston Cat Open on 6&7 of November, which is the Nacra UK Nationals 2009, please come and join in the fun. I am now off to Sydney for some R&R with my long suffering girlfriend and then a load of Extreme 40 racing over the winter in Hong Kong, then Singapore and final event in Muscat Oman.
October 17, 2009 20:23
This week has been manic with returning from the Almeria Extreme 40 event after a 12 hour delay to the flight from Spain back to the UK.
Thursday I was in Holland to work out the plans for the winter and next year with Nacra Europe for sailing F18 next year, lots of good discussions and my proposal went down well, so waiting for a reply.
Now back on the Isle of Wight sailing an Etchells at the Uk Nationals with Graham Sunderland, we had a 1, 4, 9 today and have one race tomorrow, its good and close racing and today we had a dying breeze from the North and offshore and very shifty. it was good to be sailing some slower and really close racing rather than the extreme 40 which is all a bit bigger tacking angles and harder crosses to call as the closing distances are so big.
Tomorrow is the last day and we have plenty to play for with it all close between 3 boats for the placings 2nd to 4th.
October 13, 2009 17:10
Yesterday was one of the best days for our team in the 2009 iShares Cup circuit. The venue was a very tricky place for racing, but the races kept coming and the races got closer and closer.
We had a great last few races, and if the radio had worked better we would not have been ocs in the 3rd race of the day. We finished the afternoon with a 2nd in the penultimate race and a 5th in the last race. BT and Holmatro our main opposition in the overall circuit had a shocking result in the last double points race. This jumped us up the circuit leader board and we finished 6th in Almeria and oh so close on the circuit standings, with iShares a 5th overall wow after a fully up and down season its been a good result all in all.
catch you soon.
October 06, 2009 21:50
Today was a scorcher and all the suspicions of the venue being a windless rather than windy venue were confirmed today, not a breath till about 6pm!
New team for this race on the ishares x40, and were joined by my f28 sailing mate Mischa Heemskerk from Holland, hurrah, the rest of the team is me Shirley Robertson and Nick Hutton.
Looking forward to this and then looking forward to the Extreme 40 racing circuit over the winter, which will be going to Hong Kong 20 – 24 Nov, Singapore 9 – 15 Dec, Oman 28 Jan – 6 Feb, Maldives 3 – 8 March.
Anyway its late and i need all the beauty sleep i can get before the event starts and then i am broken and nackered.