2 days ago, another sailor I were given an ICLA boat with a full Radial rig for a season by Chris at Ovington boats and in return I am to write a monthly blog about youth sailing. This was about 5 o'clock on Friday. This was such a huge opportunity for me, because previously I almost exclusively sailed Toppers and was rapidly growing out of them. The rigging of the boats was pretty complicated, with an adequate manual and adding the numbers to the sail was pretty hard, having never done it before. It came with eight blacks and three reds, but fortunately my sail number was 217862, so one of the reds became two twos and it ended up fine. The boat came with a full rig for a Radial, and all I had to do was pay for insurance and boat park fees, so I was really happy about being given this opportunity when it came to actually sailing, we went out on Sunday, not to race, but instead to ‘shake off the rust’ and remember what to do. There was a one lap race snuck in around the middle which had three starts because of the low wind and drifting buoys, but it ended out all right. I began to drift at one point, as my daggerboard was attached to the boat incorrectly, meaning I couldn’t make adjustments mid race as it was too tight. This made for an awkward landing of the boat where I kept failing to lift it up and eventually had to climb back in to hoist it out. That has been amended now though, and hoisting the daggerboard is really easy and really smooth.
I think that getting kids like the other sailor and I into sailing boats like an ILCA is really important in helping the kids achieve much more out of their sailing career, even giving them a push in the right direction to go professional, or visit tournaments across the UK and the rest of the world. While I won’t be using the ILCA for this, I plan on competing in tournaments in a RS Feva with a friend who needs a crew. Even if people decide to keep sailing to a hobby, it can teach them lots of really useful things for later life. The sailing club is also really sociable, which can be pretty useful for new memebers, especially children. Before Covid-19, on a Wednesday evening, there would be dinner after the sail, a great opportunity to get to know the other sailors over a meal. This makes Sidmouth a really sociable club, really easy for new members as well as children to learn about the other members and ‘break the ice’ between them.