UKLA Training Weekends
What to expect at a UKLA Regional training weekend:
All the regional training weekends start at 10:00 (apart from the Grafham residential weekend which starts at 11:00 as people come from far and wide to attend this). This means rigged but unchanged. So if you are super speedy at rigging your boat you can arrive at 9:45, or if you are really slow you probably need to arrive at 7:45!!! I would however always advise you aim at arriving a little bit earlier than you need to, in case traffic is bad and this will also give you a chance to chat to the head coach should you need to.
For how to rig your Laser with the sail down please read rigging article, as by keeping the rig down you limit the damage caused to your sail by leaving it up and flapping. The reason you do not change is so that if for whatever reason you don’t go straight out on the water, then you are not hanging around in a wetsuit for any longer than absolutely necessary!
The exact format of the weekend is usually decided on the day (apart from the Grafham training where there are set meal times) to make the best use of weather conditions and to tailor the session to the group. There will however be a theme so you can make sure you go to all the weekends you are particularly interested in. The final debrief on each day is at 4:00pm but the length of this will depend upon how much time is spent on the water (and how much video there is to watch). However usually everyone is driving out of the car park by 5:00pm at the latest and on the second day we make a special effort to finish promptly. People will always be given plenty of time when they come off the water so they are changed and the boat completely packed away for the final debrief. However we do understand that sometimes people need to leave early, but we do ask that you tell one of the coaches first.
Each of the regions works very much like a squad system with the same coaches doing every weekend (although the venues and themes change to challenge the sailors). Therefore we suggest you sign up (all the applications forms may be found at www.laser.org.uk in the Events Calendar page), as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
UKLA Training Levels:
All UKLA training is aimed at competent racers, not for people learning to sail. It is strongly suggested you sail the rig appropriate to your bodyweight. Minimum levels for the rigs are as follows: 4.7 45kgs, Radial 55 kgs, Standard 70 kgs. The training levels are simply a guide as to the venue/nature of the training. If you can not or are in any way unsure whether you can sail in the conditions of the day you must inform the head coach before launching your boat. If you are unsure whether a training weekend is suitable for you please contact Jon Emmett on 07748 902679 email@example.com before sending off your application form.
Training on small inland waters where sailing is likely to be on flat water and in less wind than more open locations.
For example: Spinnaker, a small lake surrounded by trees.
Training on open water where there is easy launching and recovery.
For example: WPNSA has easy launching and recovery; the harbour provides flat water, but the average wind strength is stronger than for most south coast venues.
Training on open water where launching and recovery may be more difficult (off a beach) or where it is anticipated that training sessions will be longer or more challenging due to training objectives, or where there are likely to be stronger winds due to the time of year/location.
For example: Stokes Bay where you are required to launch off a beach, or a boat speed weekend which will involve long tuning runs and/or spending all day on the water.
Report from a typical weekend
Lymington is one of the country’s top venues and so finding a free weekend at the club where we can use fully all their facilities is always difficult. Hence the fact we have to book the dates so far in advance. In the end we secured five RIBs (three for the coaches and two to act as support boats). If any parents are down for the weekend they are always welcome to help out. This weekend we had an additional boat from parents which is always great.
We had a dedicated area of the car park (right by the lifeboat station) so everyone could keep their boats together and this certainly made the briefings by the boats easier. The key of the debrief as with all these weekends was highly video focused (each coach had his own video camera) and was done in the club house, a.s.a.p. after sailing.
We could not have been more lucky with the weather forecast with a moderate to strong wind all weekend meaning we could maximise the time spent on the water, resulting in some very tired sailors by the end of the weekend. We even had lunch out on the water so as not to waste time with an additional launch and recovery.
So that sailors know what to expect, each training weekend has a theme. The theme here was boat speed. Sailing in waves is a vital skill in the Laser, and this is especially important if you usually sail inland, and even if you are used to coastal sailing, your experience might be in another class. Remember boat speed can make you a tactical genius. Each morning’s briefing was kept to a minimum so as to get as much time on the water as possible.
I am very aware that often people have very large distances to drive so we always try and finish promptly to allow people to get away (although I always hang around a bit just in case people have any additional questions they forgot to ask). Therefore everyone driving out of the car park at 4pm meant they could miss the worst of the South coast traffic and most people could get home in daylight.