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Jamie Cook reports on this first 420 Welsh squad training after moving from the Optimist.
Our first 420 Welsh squad was amazing, even if it was on the cold sea of Pwllheli. With my crew Ioan Davies, my Dad drove us up through Wales on Wednesday night to stay at Plas Menai for the night. Thursday was our first day of training, firstly we unpacked the boat and sorted out a few rigging issues. Next with our coach Neil we went over our rig setup and he advised us on what necessary systems we should add to our boat. Luckily our boat was well equipped with good rope thanks to Dinghy Rope we just need to improve and tweak our systems to get the best out of the boat.
Closer towards the afternoon we launched into pretty light conditions which were challenging and despite the calm breeze, intense. Our sailing also allowed us to improve massively and I was proud of the steep learning curve.
Friday was our next day of training which again brought light breeze for us to train in, when we first launched I was welcomed with a steady 12 knots with a small swell. Taking advantage of the breeze we took the opportunity to do a long upwind to test our equipment and practise lots of tacks. However, when the wind expectedly died we were stuck very far from the club not making fast progress. So we ended up being towed back and that was the last day of our one on one coaching with Neil. The main aim of the day was to improve our boat handling and we defiantly did.
Saturday was almost the complete opposite of the past two days, we had a nice 18 knots with windier gusts and also two other boats to train with and against. Training in windier conditions are a perfect way to improve boat handling skills and straight line speed was the aim of the day. Furthermore this was when we started experiencing halyard issues in the mast which resulted in us not being able to drop the spinnaker in time for marks and made the sailing difficult. So this meant our Saturday evening was dedicated to rethreading halyards and making sure it was smooth again. We also had some snapped bungee on the boat which was easy enough to replace.
Thankfully we found out on Sunday our halyard threading had been successful as we defiantly put it through the paces in extremely strong winds (we only capsized once). Another day of reaching and boat speed work against two of the best pairings in Britain defiantly helped us to improve hugely, it was also great having one of the British coaches to help us.
Overall this was the most we have improved over a small period of time due to the high standard of coaching and the broad mix of conditions. Thanks to Dinghy Rope for helping me set up the boat with the best possible rope and systems available. I hope we can continue to improve and make the most of these opportunities.
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