Top white facebook2x Top white search2x Basket Login Join
Home / Member Info / Racing Information / Challenge Series
☰ More
Home / Member Info / Racing Information / Challenge Series

Challenge Series

1017937 orig

The knowledge, skills and experience of the more established sailors at TSC is one of our greatest assets and one challenge we face is to pass this amazing asset on to the next generation of TSC sailors, so they too can make the most of the fantastic opportunity that sailing at Thornbury offers.

The Challenge Series ran for the first time in 2022. It gives all members a great opportunity to sail together outside the established racing calendar and aims to improve our sailing, but with the emphasis on participation, building friendships and having a good time.

In 2024, Challenge Series will have 2 key elements: Challenge: Development will focus on improving our sailing knowledge and skills, while Challenge: Racing will provide a supported environment to help new and less experienced racers learn and get up to speed!

The aims

The aims of the Challenge Series are:

1.To improve the club's social life by integrating new members and recently joined members with the more established sailors at TSC.

2.To develop core sailing skills, boat set-up and knowledge of local conditions,

3.To allow novice and intermediate sailors and racers to develop and hone their racing skills, acting as a step between recreational sailing and more serious racing.

4.To give all members the opportunity to broaden their experience, sailing different types of dinghy with different people.

5.To offer members instruction on the role of OOD and AOD.

Who is it for?

The Challenge Series is for everyone:

- For beginners - we will be continuing with our mentoring, pairing up new sailors with experienced mentors to help them develop the core skills they need to sail at TSC

- For improvers - we are running a series of sailing clinics, looking at developing better sailing techniques, such as sail trim, boat handling, boat speed, tacking, gybing and race strategy

- For mentors & instructors - this is a great opportunity to meet new people, have a great time and get more involved in the club

- For fun - it's a great opportunity for everyone to get out and sail, whether you want to learn, practice, lark about or try something new!

The series has proved very popular with both the less experienced sailors, who developed their skills and confidence in a supported environment, and with the mentors, who found it very rewarding to help out, practice and hone their own sailing skills and make new friends. And the bar is always buzzing afterwards.

How does it work?

This year, building on the success of the sailing clinics introduced in 2023, we are extending the Challenge Series and bringing in a more structured sailing development programme. (see Events).

All Challenge Series sessions will include the following activities:

- Mentoring - working with you on an ad hoc basis, this might be helping you to set up your boat more effectively, going out with you in your boat to work on a particular aspect of your sailing, taking you out in their boats for a new experience, guiding you around the course, helping you to get more competitive, or anything else you can think of!

- Coaching - there will be coaches on the water, who will offer help and advice on how to improve your sailing, including during racing.

And, of course, safety boats will be out on the water.

Challenge: Development

Challenge: Development will be made up of 7 coached sessions, run by TSC instructors. They will be about developing the skills, knowledge and experience to get the most out of sailing at TSC. They will include aspects specific to sailing on the tides of the Severn and at TSC. The sessions will be led by an instructor whenever possible, but will not follow a formal structure; specifically they are not part of an RYA course and there is no accreditation or certification, although they borrow heavily from the RYA Better Sailing content.

These sessions will start with a briefing, followed by on-water coaching and a de-brief. Details and timings will be published on the website before each session. They are about getting on the water and encouraging people to try new things.

Challenge: Racing

The last 9 sessions are Challenge: Racing, which is a race series designed for new and improving racers. There will be 3 races in each session, giving a great opportunity those who enjoy a more competitive environment to develop their racing skills, with prizes for novices and improvers.

There is no formal training on offer, but there are mentors on hand, who are there to help in whatever way they can. Coaching and safety boat assistance are allowed during Challenge: Racing.

Challenge: Free Sail

There are a three Challenge Series events that don't fit into the Development or Racing series: the first two of the year are before the Sail Training has finished; and one starts too early to run any training. The "free sail" sessions will give you the chance to get out on the water with safety boat cover and mentor support and may include some informal racing. They will be organised on the day by the OOD,

Mentors needed! Can you help?

For the Challenge to work, we need as many of our established sailors to come along as possible to act as mentors. You do not need to be a great sailor to be a great help, the role is more about support and encouragement, than instruction. A friendly face and someone to answer a "silly question" or two is as important as an expert instructor.

And if you don't want to get your feet wet, it would be great to have some mentors on dry land, who can help getting boats set up and on the water, especially for Challenge: Development.

We want to get as many boats out as possible, so come on down and get stuck in.

What happens on the day?

Challenge: Development

The "start time" in the sailing programme is for the onshore clinic. You should be ready to sail, so with your boat ready and in sailing kit, for the start of the clinic. We recommend that you arrive at least 75 mins before the start time, as there is a lot to do before you get on the water.

The outline timings are:

  • -Get you and your boat ready (75 mins)
  • -On-shore session (45 mins) Start Time
  • -Get on the water (15 mins)
  • -On water activity (120 mins)
  • -Get off the water (45 mins)
  • -De-brief in the club house (15 mins)
  • -Social (as long as you like!)

Challenge: Racing

The "start time" in the programme is for the start of the first race. You should aim to be on the water 15 minutes before the start, and you should allow 75 minutes to get yourself and your boat ready.

Each session is made up of a briefing 45 minutes before the start time, which all participants are required to attend, followed by 3 races, which gives participants lots of practice at the all-important starts.

The OOD will adjust the programme for the day, based on who is there, what boats they want to sail, the prevailing conditions and the aims for the day. They will ask what you want from the day, help match mentors to learners, give a briefing and run the on water activity.

We strongly encourage people to mix up, for example with double-handers being crewed by mentors who can guide their helm and single handers being grouped with mentors on the water to take a lead and give advice. After the sailing, we adjourn to the bar for a drink, a bite to eat and a debrief. The apr├Ęs-challenge is always well attended, so plan to stay around for an hour or 2 if you can.

We very much hope that this appeals to all of you and we know that its success will depend on as many people as possible turning up and getting stuck in.

You can click here to find the dates.

If you have any questions, please go to the Challenge Series Forum (you'll need to be logged in for this link to work) and we'll try to respond asap.

Last updated 15:19 on 8 March 2024

© 2024 Thornbury Sailing Club powered by Sailing Club Manager