Mar 27

More Mini Training!!

Last weekend was the second of four weekends of mini training sessions run by the Artemis Academy. The weekend started with a short classroom session with the two coaches for the weekend, RYA Keelboat Academy coach Phillip Johnston and former Mini sailor and Artemis Academy member Ollie Bond. We then hit the water where I was lucky enough to get to sail with fellow Aussie Geoff Duniam on his Pogo 2. Geoff has already competed in one Mini Transat so has lots of experience and was kind enough to answer by constant stream of questions.
The weather was nice in the fact it was sunny and warm, however there was little wind and lots of tide. We started of doing some tacking exercises, where after watching Geoff, I was soon solo tacking successfully. Having sailed on many boats with inline rigs, my natural instinct is to always want to make sure a backstay is on. With the Pogo 2 up to about 15kts, you can let both backstays go at and be perfectly safe. So as Geoff says (I have adapted from the French version he learnt while training in France), heading first, trim/speed second, tidy up/finish off last. After a couple of practice tacks I soon was starting to focus on maintaining height and getting back to full speed (even if it was a whole 3kts!).
We then did some speed tests and then Ollie swapped with Geoff and it was interesting to see the differences in techniques on the same boat. We finished the day with a kite run where I got to see how to gybe the boat solo. I can see that preparation is key to mini sailing. There were lots of steps and when you think about it the process step by step, it seems quite logical. However when cold, wet and sleep deprived things might not come as easy. On the plus side, Geoff did say however that is easier when it is windy then when light! We finished the first day with some video analysis looking at trim and how the sail might look ok from onboard but is a completely different story from the rib.
Sunday we met at the boats and Ollie did some kite dry runs on the dock. We then headed out to find the Solent windless. After drifting for bit, a small patch of wind appeared and we all hoisted a combination of kites/code zero/gennaker to see how high we could carry them.  It was interesting to see the different sails in action. After a run with the medium spinnaker Geoff decided to try the code zero however managed to hoist it upside down! By the time we got it sorted we were back at Cowes where we had a short one lap race before heading in. The weekend finished with some more video analysis.
For me it was another great opportunity to learn about minis! I have now sailed on a number of different boats all with different skippers which has been great. Even though both Luke and Geoff have Pogo 2’s it is great to see the different set ups. They really are great boats to sail and I can’t wait till next time!