Well it's been a crazy old time and we have really missed our club, our Oppis and all of our friends, but as Churchill said: "never waste a good crisis". So for us, it turned out to be a great opportunity to learn new skills.
Now you will not find a person on the planet less interested in computer games or starring at screens than me, I'm all about fresh air and the sea, but having been nagged into a "Virtual Regatta" training session with Olympic coach Hugh Styles, I could immediately see the potential of VR as not only a teaching aid but as a great way to stay in touch with our HISC friends. We decided to run 2 x 1.5 hours sessions a week, one with Hugh coaching the kids around the course and running debriefing sessions after, and then a 5 race regatta every Sunday night. We ran this for the extent of the lockdown and had 19 children sign up. Once we all got the hang of how it worked, we were off. The kids were able to physically see, for the first time, a start line, a lay line, to understand what your options are when you approach a boat on starboard and many of the other backbone elements of our fabulous sport. Very quickly, the completion hotted up and the drive to win or do better pushed everyone to really thinking about what goes on on a sailing race track.
From the top guys to the new racers, we saw a massive improvement in starts, mark rounding, boat on boat action and reading the wind. As we now start to be allowed out again, it's going to be fascinating to see them apply these new skills on the water.
I would like to say a big thank you for all those who took part, the club for stumping up some funds for coaching, to Hugh Styles, and finally to Jules for painstakingly collating all the results every Sunday.
See you all on the water soon