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Week 5 for Leap student Stephen & it’s go hard or go home

The weather has been unrelenting and their Dinghy Instructor course week is looming. Here's his story so far as told by Leap student Stephen.

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Some things are inevitable; Prices rising, politicians philandering, me getting a stinking cold regularly and some ridiculous injury.  That happened this week but luckily it only took me away from sailing an afternoon. More interesting and amusing was the tumble I took from a capsized boat. I was half laughing/half moaning because it must have looked hilarious as I was floating down the channel towards Poole Quay.  Having capsized our Hartley 15, Dani and I had both managed to sit on the side of the boat. Despite the fact that there was certainly enough room for both of us,  I still managed to slip off going horizontal and cracking my right ankle on the centreboard on the way down. Well go hard or go home I say. Luckily for me, Lizzy fished me out the water and I only had a bit of swelling for a few days. The younger leapers are still blessed with bodies that bounce whereas my thirty-one year old frame breaks or stops dead. More injuries later…

Week 5 was dubbed Advanced Sailing week.  We had two fresh faced instructors this week; our illustrious Leap leader, Tom and all round good egg Lizzy.  The week was a balanced mix of new manoeuvres/skills and improving our general sailing in single and double handers. Having a go at sailing rudderless and centre-board less opened our eyes to what you can make the boat do and when we put these elements back into our sailing you appreciate more how they can control the boat. My favourite new skill was going backwards. It just looks cool and me hulking on the boom backing the main sail must have looked awesome. Oh yeah…and it’s helpful to get you out of a crowded space. Sadly, I didn’t get to have play with a spinnaker as it was the same afternoon I injured my ankle but it’s something for the future.

This was a week without end for me as myself, fellow Leapers foxy Roxy and top dawg Alex also did our Powerboat Level 2 certificate over the weekend. It is a pre-requisite for the Dinghy Instructor course which is fast approaching. Despite there being a mini Beast from the East and it snowing it was good fun. Jazzy Matt took us out in the RIB on Saturday and then we had a go in the commandos on Sunday. I’ve driven RIBs before but commandos were new to me. The speed on the RIB was awesome but the manoeuvrability of the commandos is great fun. A tiring but great weekend and certainly a welcome distraction from England’s woeful end to the six nations.

Progress:

As mentioned before I really enjoyed sailing backwards and I think my general sailing improved this week, particularly pinching upwind. The manoeuvre practice helped us all make the boat do what we want it to do rather than the boat control us. I also managed to sail a single hander better this week and even bent myself into a Pico.

Challenges/Stuff to work on:

More of the same for me. Mind is still willing but body feeling more and more battered. Some rest will do me good no doubt. Still need some finesse in my sailing. Hard being a tank.

Highlight:

Whilst managing to actually sail a Pico properly, which was in no small part to the high winds, I captained my team of Leapers (Roxy, Jack, Peter, Jenna) to a best of three race glorious victory. Bragging rights to me over the over team captain and my dear pal Sam…you suck!

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