That was the feedback from the four ISAF Training Scholarship candidates from Turkey, Peru, Cook Islands and Korea. These sailors have considerable experience in dinghies and other sailing craft but their time and experience on a catamaran was too small to measure before they had the opportunity to receive top level information and coaching courtesy of the ISAF Scholarship course.
The ISAF catamaran sessions were delivered by the Windsport Cat-Clinic based in Falmouth, Cornwall, UK . Windsport specialise in catamaran teaching, coaching and development from introductory sessions to world class coaching. Windsport trainer Brian Phipps delivered the program which focused on providing the international trainers with the facts, hands on experience, awareness and range of suitable catamarans for teaching, along with where and how catamaran sailing fits into the basic learning skills of sailing in the ISAF Learn to Sail Training Program.
Day one covered the basic skills of tacking and gybing a catamaran, righting a catamaran and downwind sailing techniques. After a day of intensive skills experience in perfect learning conditions the program was broadened out to expose the team to some of the more performance catamarans available.
Day two kicked in with 25 -30kts of breeze, testing conditions for even the most accomplished catamaran sailors. A shore-based morning session was dedicated to a discussion on the structure for delivering specific catamaran training sessions, suitable boat selection, required instructor skills, equipment and resources. The team took a short break before heading to the beach armed with strong wind catamaran sailing techniques for sailing a reefed training catamaran in 25knts. After three hours of up-wind down-wind sailing, reaching skills and real life man-overboard recovery the team came ashore amazed at the amount of knowledge and experience they had acquired and how manageable, exciting, and motivating catamaran sailing is for real.
The final debrief covered ideas for the future of catamaran sailing worldwide, its role and profile in attracting more people to sailing and the pathway from start catamaran sailing to international event sailing.
Comment from Brian Phipps Windsport Catamaran Coach, "We started with a clean sheet and few pre-conceived views on the difficulties in sailing and teaching in catamarans. After two days there was nothing but enthusiasm for introducing catamarans as an important part of the learning to sail process by delivering the right training skills, equipment and knowledge base." Perfect.
For more information on how Catamaran Sailing can be implemented in your National Sail Training Programme, please click here to email Dan Jaspers, ISAF Training and Development Manager
ISAF will be hosting two Training Scholarships each year and is now inviting nominations and applications for the March 2011 course.
You can also find information on this Course from the ISAF Training Scholarship Facebook group and on the ISAF Website at www.sailing.org/training/scholarship
All of the related ISAF Training Initiatives can be found at www.sailing.org/training
For specific information on how your country can engage with ISAF and with help putting together funding applications for all courses please email Dan Jaspers, ISAF Training and Development Manager.