Salterns Sailing Club Teras race at RLymYC summer junior regatta.
There was plenty of excitement along with a smattering of nerves. The area around the slipway next to the Royal Lymington Yacht Club (RLymYC) was transformed into a sea of sails, the urgent chatter of last-minute rigging issues filled the air, along with parents giving their children motivational pep talks, and friends falling into easy conversation full of anticipation of their week on the water.
It was the first morning of the 2020 Royal Lymington Yacht Club Junior Race Week. It’s an annual event open to all aged 8-18. Covid-19 restrictions meant this year’s regatta was slightly different with youngsters having to forgo some of the usual treats, like the associated social programme and the post-sailing sweets. But given the circumstances, it was a master stroke that such an event could even run at all – and after months stuck at home, everyone was simply delighted to be there and looking forward to some racing.
At 09.15 the children gathered for their briefing – to hear about the course and the racing plan for the day, weather conditions and safety instructions. The children would be racing in three fleets – the Silver fleet for those in Optimists and RS Tera dinghies, the Gold fleet for more experienced sailors in single handed or double handed faster boats – and the Scow fleet for crews of two or three in a Scow. In all, more than a hundred young sailors took part.
This year the RS Tera fleet was swollen by 8, thanks to Salterns Sailing Club. The club recently applied and won a grant from the Eric Twiname Trust, this investment saw the purchase of two new additional Tera’s into the fleet. The grant boats give wider participation for our members who do not own their own boats to participate in non-club events such as Junior Race Week. This summer the Salterns have been running regular Tera training sessions along with the progression to the Moth & Tera Race training sessions. Unlike the club’s Bronze fleet, where members need to have their own Optimist, those taking part in Tera training can use the club boats. It means it has been easier than ever before for those without a boat to benefit from instruction and competition. Salterns is keen for its members to be able to participate in the Junior Race Week so offered to lend its boats out for the week. The club also loaned boats to members to use during the Royal Lymington organised, weekly Tera training sessions run on the river, this helped familiarise sailors with all the more challenging environment when transitioning to sailing on the river and open sea. As proven the Salterns is a superb facility to practice skills and perfect windy weather boat handling, building confidence in our young sailors.
And so it was that Salterns sailors put on a great showing at Junior Race Week. Making up a third of the Tera fleet their participation made the class more competitive overall. Weather conditions over the five days were challenging resulting in the cancellation of two of the days due to high winds forecasted. There was good sailing on the remaining three days in gusty conditions which certainly tested the less experienced with more than a few capsizes happening on the water. However, the experience out of the Eight Acre Pond on the sea, and of racing as part of a larger fleet was incredibly valuable. Meanwhile, the more experienced Salterns sailors were able to draw on the lessons learned in their training sessions to challenge for top spots in every race.
Salterns sailors also members of our Junior committee competed in a variety of boats including Optimists, Fevas, Aeros, Lasers, 420s, 29ers, and Scows, plus Salterns Commodore Sammy was mark laying for the Gold Fleet.
They say it’s the taking part that counts, and looking at many happy faces at the end of the final days racing it seems all enjoyed the experience – one which was only possible for some young sailors thanks to the loan of the Salterns Teras.
Many thanks to Jo Kent for this article.