Each year SailStrong does a Holiday Clinic just before Christmas and Orange Bowl. In past years we have been in Miami, but this year decided to move up the road to Jensen Beach and sailed from the US Sailing Center Martin County. The venue did not disappoint, with 10-15 knots of breeze and warm temps. One of the best features of USSCMC is the ability to maximize the time of the clinic since transit to and from the sailing area is just a couple minutes.
We had three coaches for the clinic, Scott Norman, Juan Carlos Romero, and Peter Strong, along with sail designer Mike Marshall of North Sails One Design. This was a huge add on for the kids as they got to delve deep into the way the sails work, how they are designed, and what they can do to set theirs up to go fast for them.
Each year the our Holiday Clinic continues to grow with 24 for sailors this year from several different teams and areas of the country. Our first year had just three kids from our team and the two that have been to all three years of the clinic were happy to see the increase in training partners.
We worked a lot on starting and especially the boat handling and decision making that goes into, and it was great to see the improvement in the fleet’s general starting throughout the four days. Another focus was boat speed and Mike worked with the coaches and kids on the water with sails. We did lots of video of both the starting and boat speed which was a good help to the kids in understanding and applying what we were working on and talking about.
One of the highlights of the clinic was a talk Mike did for the sailors (and a couple parents and members of the sailing center) about the pictures and of the sails he had taken on the water. He talked a lot about how the foils work, and was able to line up different pictures of the sails to help the kids get a visual of what the different designs look like from different angles. One of the best things he did was give the kids an in depth look at what some of the controls do, focusing especially on sprit adjustments and how they affect the leach both upwind and down. Finally maybe some of them will believe the coaches when they are told that sailing downwind with a huge vertical wrinkle is not the fastest approach. Mike talked to the kids for at least an hour, and had them all paying close attention right to the end. If you have ever tried that you know it’s not an easy task. We will try to get up some video from the lecture soon.
A big thanks to Mike Marshall and North Sails One Design for supporting our clinic and making it a better learning experience for the sailors. Thanks also to the US Sailing Center Martin County for hosting us this year and we look forward to coming back soon. As always thanks to Scott Norman and Juan Carlos Romero for your work with the kids.
Come join us next year as we keep improving our Holiday Clinic to make it the best way to get ready to Orange Bowl, or break off the rust in the middle of the winter.
Here are some videos Scott Norman put together of each day of the clinic.