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F101 End of Season Tribal Gathering at Mar Menor, Spain

by Rob Andrews 16 Nov 2018 07:48 PST 10-11 November 2018
F101 End of season Tribal Gathering at Mar Menor © Foiling World

The Tribe came from far and wide to the end of season F101 Tribal Gathering, hosted by Pro Vela in Mar Menor Spain. Sunshine, temperatures just into the low 20's and wind greeted competitors from USA, Canada, Argentina, Norway, Holland, Spain and the UK.

The sailors of mixed foiling experience, received racing and F101 bespoke training / coaching to suit their ability, all based on the training system developed by Foiling World. This allowed a number of sailors new to foiling to all get airborne on their first sail.

The event also was an experiment into alternative event formats, to try to make racing suit your ability and fitness. Sailors could race in different categories but still be scored in the overall results. The categories were:

  • Warriors - race in every race
  • Tribe - share your boat with a friend and sail in half the series
  • Joker - borrow a boat and try to beat everyone in just one race each day (ideal for someone watching or thinking of joining the F101 Tribe)

With the weekend consisting of as many non-discardable races that can be fitted into the racing window, everyone was keen to see how the experiment would unfolded. With foiling on both days, the Pro Vela race team completed eighteen races, all sailed within a daily time window that is sent to each competitor by WhatsApp in advance so that they can plan the rest of their time with friends and family and participate in other activity. With the F101 Tribe being founded on three key principle's and using modern day technology to facilitate this:

  • Race a fun boat
  • Sail with interesting people and engage with friends and family
  • Foil in great locations, suitable for racing and coaching

After the eighteen races, Jerry Hill, ex-SB20 World Champion emerged as the clear winner overall and first in the Warrior category having competed in all the races. Second overall and first in the Tribe category were Martijn Buitenhaus and Rebecca Taylor, sharing the boat over the weekend. Simon Perry picked up the top speed award for the weekend at 17.4 knots, another aspect of the Tribal Gathering format that is being worked upon to bring in elements of Cycling's Strava.

The feedback on the Tribe option of sharing a boat was very positive from many viewpoints. It turns out that it is quite sociable, chatting to others in between races, as well as giving you the opportunity to discuss coaching ideas and also watch others sail, in order to learn from them. Fitness wise it also allows you to have a break and try to put more into fewer races but still compete overall. Finally, a big factor that should not be overlooked, is that it allows you to split costs of boat ownership, running costs, transport, maintenance and share this sailing experiences with a good friend.

The sharing aspect of the boat also opens up a unique development opportunity for the F101, as we aim to create Tribes in a number of countries. Once a fleet has established, Tribes from other countries can visit and due to boat share, have twice as many competitors as we have boats in that venue, fostering the ability to deliver the three key ingredients of the F101 Tribe ethos. With boats now in China, USA, Canada, Holland, Spain, Italy, France and UK this all looks likely as local Tribal groups develop.

As for the Joker category, Alan Hillman fresh from coaching some of the newcomers to foiling dropped into one race and despite coming second didn't quite do enough to pull off the ultimate Joker act of beating everyone in one race on one day. This category will also allow some of the first time foilers to try a race as part of their day - options for everyone, rather than just one fixed format that everyone needs to comply with, that has been the norm in open meetings and championships in the past. To facilitate this Foiling World have created some rules and courses that new and experienced foilers can enjoy safely together, as they develop their skills.

Lots of learning, but a very encouraging start. Small refinements on Sunday of changing Tribe group sailors after two races cut down boat change logistics. We also hope to refine the top speed aspect, using technology to make this easier and also open it up to records outside events - all inspirational and interesting if you are sailing a foiling boat. Finally, by looking at Strava and how it has impacted on cycling and events we hope to be one of the first classes that have an APP based around Tribal venues and the sailing records associated with that location.

By encouraging activity outside events, providing a bespoke coaching / learning to foil system and making events far more accessible for different abilities, all integrated around the social elements of the sport, we aim to see the F101 Tribe growing internationally.

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