Blog from a Topper parent
Below is an edited version of how sailing life has progressed for a junior AWSC member in just 2 years, and how it has also changed for the parents.
- finished RYA courses levels 1-4 at AWSC, really enjoy sailing dinghies and want to race - try a couple of Monday night races after the RYA Onboard sessions. Great fun!! Dad, can I have my own boat ??
- not sure what to buy , ? a topaz but not much class racing, how about a topper ? Find a good second hand one for apx £1000 ( ex squad boat and tweaked whatever that is ? ), told to join Topper class association ( ITCA ) by previous owner and introduced to Eastern Area class rep - "why not come along to our next Open meeting? "
- first open meeting, semi disaster with loads of wind,cold, much swimming, but very friendly and helpful people and RYA coach there - "what you need is to apply for the RYA zone squad" - not sure what that involves but we do the necessary events, finishing near back of the fleets but are given a place for winter training 2008.
Winter 2008 / 9
- Training with RYA East Zone squad, involves about 6 weekends at different clubs around the region being coached along with about 11 others by 2 great RYA race coaches. Learn about fitness, nutrition, physcology - all very interesting. Off the pace / upside down a lot but learning loads, having a great time and making new friends. Introduced to joy of staying in Travelodges. Also racing the winter series at AWSC whenever a free day along with others from the Zone squad.
Spring / Summer 2009
- Lets just do a few local open events with fleets of around 25-30 boats and see how it goes? OK, that was fun, lets try just one of the big National events with around 250 boats to see what that's like ? " WOW, what an eye opener for all of us". Fantastic to see such a huge fleet, a bit intimidating to start with, especially a start line with over 100 boats - BUT, huge fun, loads of friends, not great results (count number of boats behind !!) still swimming loads, but want more and now want to go to the Nationals with 350 boats !
Rest of summer is history, travelling to as many Open events and National events as possible, sailing getting better but still at back of fleet, but moving forwards. Always coming in smiling (ish) and wanting more !
Sail and windsurf at AWSC whenever we are around. The AWSC Topper Academy with Jerry and Gavin is now meaning there are always toppers sailing and improving fast at AWSC so the events there are great fun.
Autumn / Winter 2009 / 10
- What next? would love to do another winter of RYA training but results not good enough for the National squads, at 13 still young enough for another year in Zone squad. So, Zone squad it is along with some friends from last year, same coaches and great to see them again. This winter progress has been made and no longer off the pace, so a new boat arrives. Is it physcological ? but speed improves quickly and don't swim so often !
Work on fitness, and start to enjoy sailing in heavy wind and waves.
Spring / Summer 2010
- Check the calendar and holiday diary and plan to do all the big events. We take the family and have some great weekends and holidays, including Rutland, Derwent Reservoir (yorks), Nationals at Pwllheli in North Wales and Worlds at Lake Garda, Italy, all places we would not have probably visited otherwise, but each are superb for sailing and holiday (well even Wales on the nice days !). Lake Garda is without doubt the finest place I have ever sailed !!
Nationals at Pwllheli in North Wales
The results have improved dramatically and now most definitely count places from the front. A few of the older sailors are moving to other classes and a new bunch of talented young sailors move towards the front of fleet. Think we have learnt what it takes to be successful from watching and getting to know the other sailors - a lot of hard work and dedication in both fitness and sailing, preparation for sailor and boat, and most importantly make sure you enjoy it!
Many new friends have been made from around the world now, watch out for some of the names at future Olympics - I am sure they will be there 2016 / 2020.
The aim now is to win selection to one of the RYA Topper National squads, which will give even more training and support over the winter 2010/11 and into next season.
What must it feel like to lead 100+ boats around a race course ? - I don't know, but ask one the young AWSC Topper sailors who have moved out to the National / International circuit and they can tell you
TO BE CONTINUED !!
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