In spite of unsettled weather, the first of Windcraft's two annual Performance Sailing Clinics taught by Randy Smyth went off successfully the weekend of May 31/June1 at the Fort Walton Beach Yacht Club in north Florida. The goal was to help owner's and future owners of Corsair Trimarans and other Farrer-designed trimarans to get the most out of their boats, both safely and efficiently.
We were very fortunate to have a world class sailor and sailing coach Randy Smyth as chief instructor. Randy has a systematic, easy to use, approach to arriving at optimal sail trim, and he also has a host of personal experience to draw on which he shares willingly. Topics covered in classroom presentations were immediately reinforced with on-the-water drills. Among the several positive aspects of the Performance Sailing Clinic which I observed as the coordinator of events, the quality of the instruction, the patient on-board coaching from each assistant instructor, and the camaraderie among the participants and coaches stand out. When the group connects, good things happen!
Beginning with the Friday evening pre-clinic gathering at Rick's Crab Trap, the spirit of the group began taking shape. (Maybe the (one) free drink helped break the ice....) Sailors who came from many different places (Holland, Canada, Oregon, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida) with different levels of experience were meeting one another for the first time. Different levels of sailing experience in a group can sometimes cause frustration and potentially divide the group, but after Friday evening's gathering, I knew we'd have a great weekend.
The clinic covered a variety of topics from docking and anchoring, using tell tales to trim and steer for maximum speed, techniques for tacking and jibing, how to set up a spinnaker, spinnaker hoisting and dousing, man-overboard recovery, judging a starting line and more.
Even though some of the topics covered in the classroom sessions, demonstrations, and drills were very challenging for some of the less experienced participants, each sailor's skills improved markedly from where they were at the beginning to the last set of on-the-water drills. The spirit of team effort camaraderie helped each participant to make good on each tack, gybe or spinnaker set or take down, thereby extending themselves and improving their skills and confidence.
As the clinic hosts we also learned many things and will use what we learned to make the next clinic even better. (Our next clinic in early October is already full, but we plan to schedule two more in 2015.)
By Sunday afternoon everyone present had 20 more friends than when they first arrived. Which underscores one of the great things about owning a Corsair Trimaran--you become part of a friendly, supportive group whose members worldwide are constantly helping one another get the most out enjoyment out of their boats.