There is a new look for the Howard Davis Memorial Youth Training Week with the most significant change being the venue. This year, training takes place at Crosby Water Sports Centre near Liverpool and with its first class facilities and apple sized water, it made the perfect choice.
Luke Shaw took on the challenge of being the coach for the week along with the assistance of Jon close, Emily Cole Evans and the week’s organiser Phil Hodgkins.
This year five boats entre for the week, the Monday saw them being dragged out of bed for a 7am warm up run before unpacking the boats and then finally the joy of a full English breakfast (to the horror of Luke Shaw).
The first day was very breezy with 18mph gusting 42mph, hard work for even a top sailor. With all this wind what better to practice than how to de power the boat and letting everyone settle into sailing on a new water. With a capsize or 15 everyone took a lot away from a hard days sailing.
Day two saw the wind drop a little, first thing Luke took everyone through the video footage from the day before to point areas of improvement and at the same time discussed what everyone wanted to get out if the week. On the water a hard day’s spinnaker work with lots of gybes got every ones adrenalin pumping. To finish of the day some practice races helped everyone to practice their new gybing techniques and concentrate of flying the kite through the gybes.
Day three started with a long warm up run to the beech for a change of scenery with the iron men! Yet again another fully cooked breakfast, yet again to the horror of Luke. After breakfast everyone was straight on the water to practice to practice the finer points of boat control. Everyone had great fun practicing tacking as close to the rib as possible. Soon the challenge became to get so close that Phil could touch the back of the boat after the tacks, which nearly cause the demise of his phone.
Yet more practice races to help put all the hints and tips together along with a new knowledge of tactics.
Day four saw yet another morning run, the first evidence that assistance coach Phil was not quite as fit as he should be! The plan for the morning was to learn how to self-coach by deciding what areas needed work on and what outcome wanted to be achieved. This lead onto a demonstration of how not to do it with Luke and Phil who somehow managed to acquire a boat.
The afternoon was full of starting practice including box starts and hunter and hoverers. This was the first fail for the group but after many starts great improvement was seen.
The evening was a night of fun, we were joined by Ian Sinclair for a meal out and bowling. After some tasty Italian food it was off to the bowling alley. The three teams were decided as helm, crews and staff. The staff was victorious but Sam Clarke got the highest score, his prize......an extra-long lie in.
The last day for some started with a very lazy morning, for some of the participants they woke up at 6am to have some fun with some spinnakers. Again everyone tucked into a full greasy fry up which finally Luke buckled and enjoyed one himself. As we hit the water the new artwork created on the spinnakers was visible in all their glory. The morning training consisted of rudder less sailing and starting practice. Luke, Phil and Emily all hopped in and out of boats go give some hands on advise…..or some would say after watching sailing all week wanted a play themselves. To make the most of the day everyone had lunch on the water and for the afternoon a mini three race series was run.
Although a very intensive week everyone got a lot out of it. Thanks goes out to Luke, Phil, Jon and Emily for running such an excellent training week and a special extra thanks to Phil Hodgkins for making this year’s training happen. Bring on 2012 for another excellent week!
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