An unexpected visitor

Yesterday was the kind of day that most of us Irish Sea dwellers would have elected to stay firmly onshore. But not Stick Daring, I helped him launch from Purt Verk in Port St Mary, Isle of Man at 10am, sending him out to cross the Irish Sea on a 43NM trip to Holyhead.

Stick left Eastbourne on the 17th July and is sailing anti clockwise round Britain. He’s survived surf beaches, overfalls, doldrums and big breeze on his trip so far, with what sounded like some pretty hairy moments around the Scottish coast including a brief encounter with some orca.

He arrived in Port St Mary on Tuesday afternoon, my friends in Ramsey had asked me to look out for him, so when the sailor arrived from the sea I was able to give him food, drink, hot shower, wifi, a bed for the night, chart and almanac and some passage planning help.

My unexpected visitor and new friend set out to sea again yesterday in a decent blow with some big old waves, I spent all day wondering if I would be the last person to ever see him!

Just after 3pm my phone rang… it was Stick! The line was a little broken but I heard his message “Lost comms with coastguard, VHF died, call you call Belfast Coastguard for me”. I duly did, the lady in Belfast Ops room asked if I was his designated person ashore. “I guess I am, I hadn’t met this fella until yesterday, but it was me that helped him out to sea today” I replied. We were all happy to hear the update “10 or 12 miles off Holyhead”. What a trip!! 30 odd miles in 5 hours in a Laser!!

Around 5pm my phone rings again…. “Where is the RNLI station in Holyhead”, now I’m in Shoprite trying to act as a Holyhead pilot for a chap in a Laser. I hope he found Holyhead Lifeboat Station – RNLI and had a good night’s rest before carrying on the next leg.

Stick was a welcome visitor here, I am so happy to have been able help in some small part on his adventure and grateful to have had a brief opportunity to hear some of his stories of sailing, life and living. “I hate the phrase ‘can’t be bothered’ ” he said.

That Laser looked very small as it dropped below the horizon.

Foundations of the Manx Youth Sailing Squad.

Article written by Dave Kneale and featured in Manx Life Magazine, Febnruary 2011. Reproduced here with permission.

Following an incredible series of results the eight youngsters of Manx Youth Sailing Squad are braving the elements and getting back on the water. The winter training programme marks the start of their 2011 campaign which will culminate in July at the RS Tera dinghy World Championship in Denmark.

During 2010 young Manx sailors James Kelly and Hannah Howitt were crowned World Champions after a triumphant performance at the RS Tera World Championship in France, while the whole team secured the Team Champions Trophy at the UK’s Inland Championship.

These are no small feats for a squad formed only three years ago to give children aged thirteen and under the chance to compete in high-level racing events both at home and overseas.

For Jen Kneale, proprietor of 7th Wave RYA Training Centre and founder of the MYSS, this is familiar territory.  By the age of eighteen she had already competed in two world championships in the Laser dinghy after being spotted by the coaches and selected for Great Britain’s Laser team.

“Competitive sailing is an extraordinarily complicated business,” she explains, “it’s not just about who sails fastest on the day. There’s a huge amount of knowledge and experience involved: boat setup, complex rules, tides, weather, fitness, nutrition and strategy.  It’s about being able to sail well in any weather, while constantly making all kinds of tactical decisions. It takes concentration, maturity and as much time on the water as you can get.”

Her idea of forming a racing squad began to take shape after teaching dozens of young sailors at 7th Wave. “I wanted to give our sailors a better chance than I’d had; I wanted them to go to a championship having had plenty of training beforehand, a coach on location and a team around them for support.”

Sailing instructors from around the island formed the coaching team and went about selecting the sailors. In the summer of 2008 the first team of youngsters were invited to join the squad: brothers James and Greg Kelly, Izzy Sharpe, Hannah Howitt, Nick Parkes and Amie Shute, with Ffinlo Wright joining the team the following year. Using Tera dinghies borrowed from 7th Wave, training began in preparation for the squad to compete at the 2008 Tera Inland Championship in the UK.

“Sailing in a big fleet for the first time, with 30 identical boats on a start line, is a big step up from our local dinghy racing. Even for adults it can be intimidating, so we put no pressure on them for results. We just wanted them to experience that kind of racing.” 

It seems the young Manx sailors had other ideas. Greg Kelly, just ten years old at the time, won the first race and finished third overall, with older brother James finishing tenth.

“Getting two top ten results was more than we’d ever hoped for and a huge boost for the whole squad. They all came back believing they could do well.”

After a winter of coaching they returned to the UK for the Tera Nationals in 2009, which would prove to be a decisive moment for the squad. Their collective results secured them the National Team Champions trophy and all six youngsters were selected to compete for Great Britain at the 2010 Tera World Championship in France.

If the first year’s success had created ripples, this created tidal waves: “Bringing home the Team Trophy was a great achievement. But to have the entire team selected for the GBR squad was unbelievable.” 

Donations from the Manx Lottery Trust, AM Limited and Skandia allowed the squad to buy six new Tera dinghies to replace the ageing training boats and the sailors were invited to four training weekends in the UK in preparation for the World Championship. Between the time out of school and the expense of travelling, however, it was obvious that regular attendance would be impractical. 

From her teenage experiences attempting to participate in the GBR training programme while studying for her A-Levels on the Island, Jenni understood the challenges involved: 

“For me it was a logistical nightmare; family and friends in the UK would get the boat from A to B, while I would travel from the Island on my own, getting there however I could. I could barely carry all the kit on my back,” she laughs, “one bag with a wetsuit, buoyancy aid and spare clothes, plus the sails, rudder and daggerboard, ropes, tackle and tools.”

This is a common problem for island-based athletes, so a plan was hatched to bring GBR Team coach Jonathan Lewis to the Island, supplementing the training offered by the core coaching team of Rob Cowell, Phil Hardisty, Donald Edwards and Jenni. “It made much more sense to bring the coach to the sailors. To have brand new racing boats and the undivided attention of a national coach took things to a new level”.

Jonathan ran four intensive training weekends before the squad headed to France to compete at the RS Tera World Championship in July 2010. Taking advantage of the strong winds throughout the week, James Kelly led the overall standings from day one and clinched the gold medal with a day to spare, a commanding performance which capped an outstanding week of results for the MYSS.  Hannah Howitt and Izzy Sharpe were the top two girls in the fleet, crowning Hannah as the RS Tera World Ladies Champion.

“The results are down to the hard work and dedication of the whole squad and a huge volunteer effort behind the scenes. Training is tough, especially in winter, but the kids are always smiling, always happy and always pushing themselves to do better. When Jonathan came over for his first training weekend, he said ‘we could have a world champion in this room.’ It turns out we had two!”

As well as preparing the five youngsters who will contest the World Championship, 2011 will see new recruits Ben Batchelor and Matthew Petts make their UK debuts at the Tera National Championship in July and a new intake of youngsters will be invited to join the squad in the spring.

Jenni and the team are helping the squad’s older sailors make the move into bigger, faster boats and a chance at selection for the Island Games sailing team and the GBR Transition Squad, which helps young racers progress into Olympic classes like the Laser. 

“It feels like we’re all part of a big family so it’s a little emotional seeing them outgrow the Tera dinghies and take the next step. It’s amazing what they’ve achieved, both as individuals and as part of a team. To me though, they’re simply here to learn, make friends and enjoy themselves, that’s my job as a coach. It’s a privilege to be there to help them grow in ability and confidence as they become young adults.”

2 race wins for Manxies at Worlds yesterday

Manx sailors win two races at the RS Tera World Championship yesterday! It was a big day, with four races sailed by the Pros and three for the Sports, the youngsters spent over seven hours on the water! We have great news to report from each of our sailors:

Peter Cope had yet another superb day with 3rd, 3rd, 1st and 5th. The 5th being his discard! He is still in 2nd place overall going in to the final races today.

Teddy Dunn is up there too with a 4th, 14th, 3rd and a 1st in the final race of the day, which moves him up to 4th place overall. Will we see two Manx sailors on the World Championship podium later today?

Georgia Harding had her best day ever, after a shaky start with a 29th (discarded) she then produced a 19th – her best result ever… that was until the third race where she found her own lanes and finished an incredible 8th place, just to prove it wasn’t a fluke Georgia came 7th in the final race of the day. Congratulations Georgia, it is great to see all the hard work paying off.

More good news from the Sport fleet, Archie Dunn was back on form and had a great day with a 13th, 6th and a 2nd in the final race of the day! He is lying in 18th place overall and stands a good chance of moving up some places if it goes well for him today.

Newcomer Amélie Harding set herself a challenge of getting a top 40 place yesterday. She thought it was unrealistic but she’s a determined little soul and she “wanted a proper challenge.” Well she did it! In the first race she was 42nd which was her best result until a 36th in the second race which she backed up with another 36th. She is super proud of herself, as are her family, friends and the rest of the squad both here and in Sweden.

The Pros and Sports are now on the water for the final three races of this World Championship series. I’m on the edge of my seat and my nails are getting shorter by the minute. I only hope that the team are cool and focussed in their races and that it is a smooth day for everyone….

We’ll bring you the results as we get them.

Manxies race at RS Tera Worlds in Sweden this week

Racing starts today at the RS Tera World Championship in Sweden and five Manx sailors are there taking part.

Recently returning from the RS Tera Inlands in 3rd and 4th place respectively, Peter Cope and Teddy Dunn are on top form and have high hopes of seeing some good results this week at the Worlds. They are both racing in the RS Tera Pro fleet along with Georgia Harding, who has worked hard in the Pro this season.

In the Sport fleet and following in the footsteps of their older siblings, Archie Dunn and Amelie Harding. Archie competing at his second Worlds will be looking to build on last year’s experience. For Amelie, the Worlds will be her first ever major championship, we know the learning curve will be huge and the experience will be amazing for her.

Wishing all of our team the very best of everything…. sunshine, breeze, some nice big waves, some luck and a lot of smiles and laughter.,

Sailors try SUP

7th Wave sailors go paddleboarding! A huge thank you to Michelle at Saltworks SUP Paddleboarding for running an awesome Water Skills Academy SUP Safety course here last night for our staff members and Jack from Ballakermeen High School who has been with us all week on Work Experience.

We learned a lot about SUP paddling, self rescue, rescuing others and falling in. It turns out that you can capsize a board, there is a SUP equivalent to the sailors “scoop in” method post capsize, towing is possible, there are no ropes to get in a tangle and the sea is warmer than expected!

Expert tuition from Michelle at Saltworks SUP Paddleboarding made the session informative and enjoyable, we would recommend Michelle to anyone looking to learn SUP. Pizzas from La Gusto Pizza rounded the evening off perfectly.

Meanwhile here at 7th Wave our instructing and safety boat team now have a vastly increased knowledge of SUP so we can help you to enjoy your hire experience with us even more.

Our next mission is to get Michelle into a sailing boat…..

Sail for Gold Regatta 2019

Last weekend was our annual Sail for Gold Port Erin Regatta 2019. It was a fantastic finish to the Race Academy weekend, with 10 boats and 13 young racers on the water. Sailing in Topper Vibes, Topaz, Taz, RS Tera sports and a Tera Pro!

The winds were light and shifty, which was advantageous for the vigilant racers among us and a great training experience for the less experienced, learning to make the most out of small breaths of breeze.

It was great to see new sailors joining for their first races alongside members of the Manx Youth Sailing Squad (MYSS) and even greater to see them pulling their weight to stay competitive during races! Among the fastest sailors were Ivan Nicholls, one the newest MYSS members sailing in his Tera Sport and one of our oldest squad members, Georgia Harding, sailing in her seemingly shrinking Tera Pro. Perhaps next year she’ll be in a bigger and faster boat to compete in!

All three races were on an windward-leeward course with a gate on the beat. The first race had a very slow upwind leg with very little breeze with everyone only completing one lap for the roughly 25 minute race which was won by Ivan!

After the first race the wind shifted and started blowing into the bay again, allowing for a more competitive second race. Newcomer to 7th Wave, Ruari Cottier surprised the coaches on the water by leading the fleet for a good portion of the race and finishing second!

On the third and final race of the regatta the wind died once more unfortunately leading to a couple DNFs and a long tow back to the beach ready for the awards ceremony.

Overall results:
1st Ivan Nicholls: 4, 2, 2
2nd Georgia Harding: 6, 3, 1
Rory McLouglin: 2, 6, 3
Amelie Harding: 3, 5, 5
Ruari Cottier: 7,1, 6
James Gale: 5,4, 7
Roo Hyett: 8, 7, 4
Levi Baugh & Harry Morgan: 6, 9, DNF 
Declan McEntee & Matthew McEntee: 9, 8, DNF
Brandon Smith & Oliver Vanselouw: 10, 10, DNF

1st place Ivan Nicholls receives trophy from five times winner Ben Batchelor
Sailing is winning! Prizes for everyone 🙂

Thanks to Tim Chan for the race report

Dinghy Instructors 2019

Congratulations to this year’s RYA Dinghy Instructor course candidates. 100% success rate!

The team have enjoyed a challenging week, where in order to become Dinghy Instructors they have had to develop good communication strategies, think independently, been encouraged to make mistakes and to overcome hurdles where things haven’t gone to plan.

Five of the six candidates had all started their sailing careers at 7th Wave over the years. We love watching them grow into good sailors, instructors and young adults. We are super proud of them all!

Many thanks to RYA Coach Assessors Alan Jones and Geoff Stones for running another superb week for us here on the Isle of Man and congratulations to Georgie Quayle, Peter Harper, Edward McEntee, Benjamin Mehta, Charlie Whitbread and William Henthorn on your new qualifications!

#rya #sailingisliving #porterin #ryanorthwest

The best Race Academy day on the water….ever!!

Today has been fantastic, the Race Academy group have enjoyed what is probably the best day on the water we’ve had so far. Plenty of breeze, sunshine and bold sailors, who have spent a day learning all about hiking, planing, reaching, heavy airs sailing and all of it with a few swims and plenty of smiles.

Huge thanks to the coaching team Ffinlo Wright, Ealish Green and Ben Batchelor for delivering an excellent and very successful day on the water in the very challenging conditions. Top job all round!

#ifcarlsbergdidsailtrainingdays #raceacademy #racecadets#breezydays

5,4,1….. Race Academy…. Go!!!

Our Race Academy sessions start this weekend. They are perfect for youngsters who have completed RYA Stage 3 and are looking to take the next, exciting step into the competitive side of sailing.

The weekends consist of some top level race coaching, plenty of on the water sessions looking at boat-handling, tactics, strategy and sailing fast.  Competitive sailing is great fun and through these weekends we aim to equip sailors with all the skills and knowledge they need to get out racing at our local Clubs.

You can book online here  The weekend fee is £140 per person, including VAT, weekends can be booked individually online.

Or book all four weekends and save £160!!  Please email us directly to book all four weekends at a fee of £400.  Offer only valid until Friday 10 May, so hurry hurry hurry!

Full details and dates for 2019 are on our website here

Last year we even had a basking shark on the start line!!!

Saturday Sessions are go!

Saturday Sailing for Juniors is on this weekend ?

Briefing is at 10.30am please be in kit and ready to go by 10.30.

Saturday Sessions are all about having fun, improving techniques and practising skills taught in the RYA scheme. Youngsters can enjoy their favourite games, cruises round the bay, catching up with friends and all the usual excitement while becoming independent and confident sailors in a range of weather conditions.

Cost: £25 per person per session, we supply boats, wetsuits and buoyancy aids.

Please drop us a line to let us know you’re coming, or turn up in the morning….