An excellent turnout of over fifty T15 clubbers, along with their parents, came to support the on-water launch of team15 at the Cotswold Water Park, Great Britain, over the weekend of 4-6th May.
The event wasn't solely based around racing, in fact the launch race was the only official race to take place all weekend, instead T15 clubs from all the country joined in the fun with the emphasis of team15 being about getting on the water, having a laugh and improving your windsurfing at the same time, something that the band of T15 coaches who volunteered for the event allowed to happen in true T15 spirit. Complete beginners were on the water alongside RYA Squad sailors - clearly demonstrating that team15 is for everyone.
The only thing we couldn't plan for was the weather, and as we all know in windsurfing, this is the one thing that often doesn't play fair! The cloud base might have been too low for the Silver Stars parachute team to drop in to the lake to officially launch team15, but the weather didn't stop the action. What's not good for parachuting certainly is good for windsurfing. Overcast it might have been, but breezy it was too.
Despite a sudden wind shift, the race got underway, viewed by thousands who were at the Cotswold Water Park Open Day, where T15 was being launched nationally to the non-windsurfing public. Ahead of the fleet around the figure of eight course, Graham Woods (12) from Durleigh Sailing Club near Bridgewater, left the rest of the competitors to round the final mark. Whilst they headed off to participate in other fun windsurfing activities, Graham had to sail the winning straight by himself in front of thousands of eyes. Exhilaration kept the pressure at bay as he sailed superbly towards the giant team15 banner, where coaches and parents were waiting to congratulate him. His task was to land his board, release the T15 balloon race and claim his prize board, which was kindly donated by Bronze level sponsor Fanatic.
Assisting the T15 coaches were Olympic sailors Nick Dempsey and Dominic Tidey who gave up time from their training schedules to assist the up and coming stars of the future. Simon Bornhoft also joined the ranks to offer a freestyle coaching session, having already worked with a small selection of T15 clubbers, conducting a youth equipment review, which is to feature in Boards magazine throughout the summer.
The RYA would like to thank all the companies who have so far shown support of the T15 programme. To date there are four Gold sponsors who we wish to thank: Neilson, Gul International, Tushingham & Windsurf Magazine, who through their support of the T15 programme will bring style to the team15 inter-club challenges, scheduled to take place throughout the season. Two Bronze level sponsors have also been confirmed: Gul once again, along with Fanatic.
With fifty clubs already signed up and a total of 105 clubs keen to get involved with team15, the popularity of team15 is going ballistic! With more clubs coming online all the time it is essential to check out the team15 website for up to date information on participating local clubs.