Rutland Training Weekend 2003

Earlier last week Daniel Alsop was sitting in the infamous, or should I say notorious, 'Smugglers' down in Lyme Regis with a bit of a predicament on his hands. As he fondled his girlie white beard he thought to himself, "There aren't enough boats going to training". The opportunity of having coaching from the esteemed likes of Jennie King, Will Rainey, Mike Calvert, Simon Blake, Liam Dempsey and his good self seemed in doubt. Thursday night arrived and still only 4 entries had been received, however, he took the executive decision and thought sod it, I'll go for the good beer, fine fodder and shenanigans. As a result of lack of entries though, Uncle Mikey Clavers was binned off (like many of his past crews) and having shown zero pace last season was thought of little value to the training anyway.

Needless to say come Friday morning 14 boats miraculously appeared and so Dan had actually pulled off a bit of a blinder (bit like Uncle Mikey at Whitstable). Game On!

Training commenced with short races, started and organised expertly by "Theres only one Stevie Watson" who was outstanding as our OOD all weekend (cheers Stevie). The breeze was brisk and a bit gusty around the edges but it made for exciting yottin. Everyone was thrown in at the deep end with a succession of one lappers to assess our complete ineptitude for sailing with myself being the first to go for a swim.

Top tip 1: Rutland Water is chuffing cold and 3mm summer wetsuits are not advised!

The de-brief over luncheon (great nosebag) highlighted our shortfalls and a request list for training was drawn up. Everyone hit the water again for some exercises. Tacking and boat handling was first, playing follow the leader behind the two training boats.

Top tip 2: Ease the kicker and the boat rights quicker.
Top tip 3: Ease the kicker before you bear off in breeze and you don't swim in the first place (Ross you twit).

The day finished with a river race where we had two rescue boats creating an imaginary transit between themselves and the two end marks of the start line. If you sailed 'onto the bank' a whistle was blown and you had to tack. Little Rach thoroughly enjoyed her sail with Simon Blake (yummy), however, it was Philly Factor and Andrea who took the gun in ever good Trent Valley form.

Friday was also Lizzy Page's 18th birthday. The outlook was messy. Liz obviously never having had an alcoholic beverage before was going to lead the whole pack astray. Power drinking ensued followed by food fights during the meal, a dodgy night spot in Stamford where Merlin youth performance caused a bit of a stir with the natives. Back at Rutland Sailing Centre, our home for the weekend, madness continued whereupon one of the Dalby sisters was locked in the disabled lavatory (by one of the instructors) and released a good few hours later.

Top tip 4: Toilet rolls make great pillows.

Saturday morning came and after Dan had smoothed things out with a couple of disgruntled Rutland residents (cheers Dan), training commenced. Will Rainey began with on-shore starting practice using boats on trolleys to see if helms could visualise the start line - conclusion from this was the only sort of transit known was one with 4 wheels. After Will had informed us of the delicate art of starts we put our new found knowledge to practise with about 20 rapid fire starts in a gusty force 4, by luncheon a big improvement was noticed - Al Warren would have been proud.

In the afternoon races were held with lots of boat swapping taking place as the instructors jumped in to give 1-on-1 tuition. The most noticeable start was made by Tom and Hywel Perkins, managing to broach down the line into 3 Merlins and skilfully sawing off Philly Factors forestay with his centreboard, a novel way to knobble the competition. Best screams came from Unfinished Business.

Everyone piled down the Wheatsheaf and upon Dans starting orders tucked in to some lovely Chinese grub. We all then gate-crashed the GP14's disco back at the club. Dan instructed the ever hard-core Merlin fleet out onto the dance floor to show GP14 sailors how an event should be held. Most noticeable dancing was by Liam Dempsey who insisted on getting butt naked and taking over the DJ's mic...unfortunately for Liam, it was actually a lamp, nice one!

Top tip 5: Dalby's will exact revenge.

Sunday morning came and after Dan had smoothed things out with a couple of disgruntled Rutland residents (cheers Dan), training commenced. Gybing practise was the order of the day and there was an overall improvement noticed with much less swimming all round. After the now customary luncheon and de-brief we returned to the water for pursuit races. The starts were clean, gybes tidy and pace rapid! Everyone was pleased with their performance - who could have imagined that these bunch of numpties would metamorphoses in to half decent yachters in just 3 days?

All participants would like to thank the instructors, Dan (the negotiator) Alsop, Jennie King, Will Rainey, Stevie Watson, Simon (yummy) Blake and Lamb Dumpy for sacrificing their weekends and livers.

The attendees

In summary, the training weekend will improve your sailing, no matter what your skill level, so book yourself in for Lyme Regis on 20th June now.
Don't forget, in the words of our esteemed chairman, "Great Parties!!"

Written by Alex Jackson (Cool Cookie, 3620), aided by the 'Magic Midget 3555'

More photos

Disclaimer: The MROA accept no responsibility for the insults contained in this report.