Over the last week I was able to take part in the winter clinics hosted by MBYC. The clinics were led by Chris, Jimmer, and Aine, and everyone, including myself had a great time on the water during beautiful San Diego afternoons. The first week I took part in the double handed clinic on Friday. The wind was light and slowly picked up during the course of the afternoon reaching about 8-9 knots. The primary focus of the double handed clinic was spinnaker work and boat handling. Most drills were completed on the water and involved spinnaker set ups and take downs along with an iconic drill to us juniors: ropes on tillers. In this drill, a rope is tied to our tillers so the skippers can only use them to head down and must use body weight to tack. Some things I learned included how to tape a spinnaker and how to properly set spinnaker on a high reach. The next week I participated in both Thursday’s single handed and Friday’s double handed clinics. Five Lasers sailed Thursday along with a good number of Bics. The reason that set this day apart from others was the excitement of going to the ocean. Both Lasers and Bics sailed out and performed drills in front of Mission Beach. The Laser group did long upwind infinity rabbit drills and at one point saw dolphins. I was in the process of performing a tack with my face inches from the water when a dolphin swam directly under my boat, a few inches from my face. Many more dolphins were seen swimming around our group with their fins breaking the surface every now and again. The clear sky, beautiful coastline and dolphins swimming around us reminded me how lucky we are to live in San Diego. Conditions were similar to the previous week with very small swells so we were able to use full rigs. The next day for double handed saw many more FJs come out to sail. The day consisted of a similar layout to its predecessor with on water drills, followed a short break, and then increasingly shorter race courses for spinnaker practice. One thing I was able to take away from these clinics was how to steer and maneuver better while free flying the spinnaker.
- Garrett Henderson