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Home / Sailing & racing / Classes and Fleets / Junior / Youth Race Squad

Youth Race Squad

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NCSC YOUTH SQUAD - Link to Youth Squad Facebook Group

Background to YRS

The YRS (Youth Racing Squad) in its current format was started as a way of encouraging and supporting junior sailors to race.

Initially starting with a small squad of around 12 sailors in Toppers and progressing to Lasers, they attended a coached racing programme running in Spring and Autumn each year. These original YRS members can now be found helming or crewing in double handed boats, competing in NCSC racing series and national race squads and passing on their knowledge as instructors and coaches.

Today the programme is very similar with volunteer coaches leading two programmes in Spring and Autumn. The programme is intended to provide intense focus on racing skills (rather than learning to sail) over a set number of days. All sessions are delivered on a Saturday, with some sessions continuing on into the Saturday afternoon racing series.

So to provide an overview:

During the Spring, we aim to deliver a 5 day programme (five Saturdays) led by a core team of volunteer coaches during March, April and May. The dates will be posted on fb as well as sent to those on the YRS mailing list. The format provides small group work both on the shore and the water aiming to improve the existing racing skills of the YRS members. The juniors work hard with the coaches and their peers to improve their racing techniques, including starting; the 1st beat; boat setup and control; as well as keeping the "Big Picture" of weather and other boats in mind. There is also a focus on fair play and sportsmanship, racing rules and protests. YRS members are expected to compete in at least the Saturday Stanier series to continually improve their racing skills as part of the coaching programme.

The Autumn dates are typically in September and October and will also be posted on fb and sent to those on the YRS mailing list.

The YRS programme is free to any club member but there are criteria for sailors to be included in the YRS.

1) The YRS programme aims to encourage and support juniors racing, so we need to see demonstration that juniors are already starting to race, for example on a Saturday afternoon. We are looking for juniors to ideally have already completed at least one series before applying to YRS. This demonstrates to the sailors themselves, us and the coaches that they are committed to racing. Just holding a RYA qualification does not mean juniors are necessarily interested in or committed to racing.

2) Sailors need to have access to a boat that is suitably equipped to race for the YRS sessions and race series. There is no criteria for the type of boat but Optimist, RS Tera, Topper or Laser are preferred.

3) Sailors should have achieved at least RYA Stage 3 (or be at the same ability level) and be able to sail round a triangular course proficiently.

4) Sailors must possess a willingness and commitment to race at the club - not just because parents think it's a good idea!

5) They must have suitable clothing to attend the coaching session, including sailing gear for the sailor to be on the water for at least 90 minutes (i.e. Wet suit, dry suit, thermal gear) - it can still be cold in Spring/Autumn.

6) They must be available to attend the planned sessions with a willingness to listen, learn and follow instructions from the coaches.

7) Parents/guardians are required to assist the coaches by providing safety cover (on the water as rib drivers/safety crews) and also as shore assistants (they will need a buoyancy aid and be willing to get wet in helping launch/retrieve boats as required). The programme is run by volunteer club members so parents need to be around at every session in case 'extra hands' are needed.

What next?

If you feel a junior (aged between 11 - 16) meets the above criteria then please contact the YRS coordinators Martin & Stephanie Gunn by email to arrange our ON THE WATER ASSESSMENT and discuss if this is the right option.

If your junior sailor isn't quite ready for the YRS then we would encourage them to sail and race as much as possible, by continuing to attend the popular Saturday Club; try out some more racing, for example on Saturday afternoons; as well as consider completing any of the RYA Training Courses at the Club including Learn to Race courses.

Find us on facebook Link to Youth Squad Facebook Group

Last updated 10:02 on 7 July 2021

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