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Swords Sailing Club Welcomes Multihull Legend Mitch Booth for Training Weekend

18th May 2018
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With eight F18’s, two Hurricane 5.9’s and one F16 in attendance there was a great turnout for Mitch Booth's training session With eight F18’s, two Hurricane 5.9’s and one F16 in attendance there was a great turnout for Mitch Booth's training session

Swords Sailing Club (SSC) hosted Australian multihull sailor Mitch Booth who competed at no less then four Olympics in the Tornado class, medaling twice. Here Patrick Wodhams of SSC describes the training weekend with the sailor who has competed in 64 World championships and won 10 of them.

Mitch now resides in sunny Spain and is in demand around the globe advising and training with Olympic teams and class associations. Some of us were lucky enough to meet and race against him at the 2017 F18 World’s in Denmark.

With eight F18’s, two Hurricane 5.9’s and one F16 in attendance, Mitch brought the sun with him from Spain, day one looked like we would have no wind as a result; the forecast was quite light. However, first up was a briefing in the club house; going over all that secret racing stuff we all want to know. Tuning, boat handling, tactics/strategy, starts, acceleration, mark rounding’s, tacking/gybing and of course going fast……

Armed with some of that secret knowledge, like gladiators ready to tend their chariots we rigged our boats, 1 extra notch here, an extra pound on the Loos gauge there; with brief boat on boat one on ones with Mitch. By the time we had finished and got kitted up, we were greeted by the start of a fantastic sea breeze building as we launched our boats for our first on the water session.

If you have been lucky enough to compete at a World’s or any big fleet racing, you will know that starts are crucial. Boat handling is key to parking the boat and making sure you don’t collide with anyone; most importantly that you get away fast into clean breeze from the front row and don’t get rolled or spat out the back. Assistant coach Dermot McHugh and his brother Kevin ferried Mitch around and laid the marks for our quick turn around practise starts, each with varying degrees of success and one or two boats OCS or so we thought.

After lunch the fairly constant sea breeze created almost perfect champagne sailing conditions. We progressed to a one lap race after every third start finishing downwind with crews trapezing and kites flying.

After a fantastic first day, we headed back into a debrief session utilising excellent drone footage courtesy of Kinga Trojanowska. There was no hiding and the guilty OCS culprits were well and truly outed, all in good jest. A delicious barbecue and refreshments followed with some great stories to be heard form Mitch and all.

Day two started exactly the same as day one with the sun shining and not much breeze. Following a quick briefing in the clubhouse, we congregated around one boat in the boat park as Mitch went through rigging and tuning for all the varying conditions. Sail shape and airflow over it, are all influenced by the many controls at the helm and crews disposal, getting them all in the optimum position at the right time is somewhat of a black art; times that by three to include the mainsail, jib and gennaker and you can see why this crucial knowledge separates the master from the pupil. Following Q’s & A’s everybody agreed and enlightened by a true master.

As we consumed a quick lunch the magnificent sea breeze had kicked in, we launched and sailed a square course to cover all points of sail as Mitch and Dermot followed us round with varying tips on what we could do to improve. By 2pm we joined the Swords scheduled racing for the afternoon and put into practise all that we had learnt. We were joined on the water by quite a few Lasers, and other boats that made up the remainder of the Swords fleet. Great fun as we weaved in and out on a fantastic sailing weekend finally.

Afloat.ie Team

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Irish Sailing Classes and Association – There’s no shortage of one-design classes from which to choose and each gives its enthusiasts great competition, fun and camaraderie, writes Graham Smith in this review of the classes. 

One-design racing is where it all starts. It is, after all, where all the top sailors earned their stripes, battling away for line honours without a thought for a handicapper’s calculator wiping away a hard-fought victory!

Indeed, you could count on less than one hand the number of top Irish sailors who didn’t cut their teeth in a one-design dinghy! Just think of Cudmore, Barrington, Watson, Wilkins, Hennessy and Dix to name a few and you realise that they honed their skills in everything from Enterprises to Lasers and a lot in between.

At present count, there are a little over 30 one-design classes in Ireland, split almost evenly between dinghies and keelboats, a statistic which might raise a few eyebrows. They range from the long-established Mermaids, IDRA14s and Dragons to the newer additions like Fevas, Topaz and RS Elite. They all fill a particular need and give their owners and crews considerable enjoyment.

Many have attracted their World or European Championships to Irish waters over the years and while 2009 is notable for a lack of such events here, the following year will see the Etchells Worlds at Howth and perhaps a few other international regattas too.

In addition to the review, we asked each class to complete a questionnaire giving details of their fleet numbers, whether they were on a growth pattern or holding their own, so we could highlight those ‘on the up’ and those remaining static in terms of numbers. The older traditional designs, as you might imagine, fall into the latter category, although that’s not a negative!

CLASS REVIEW  The State of the Classes – League Table (as at February 2009)

S = Static; U = Up/growing

275     Optimist   U

200+   Laser   S

189     Mermaid   S

160     Flying Fifteen   S

130     RS Feva   U

115     Shannon One Design    U

100+   Mirror   S

100+   Topper   U

99       Topaz   U

94       Laser SB3   U

87       GP14   U

85       Squib   S

70       Fireball   S

70       Ruffian   S

60       J24   S

60       Shipman   S

52       Dragon   S

50       RS400/200   S

50       420    U

43       Multihulls    U

42       Dragon    S

40       Water Wags    U

40       Wayfarer    S

34       IDRA14    U

33       Puppeteer    U

28       Etchells    S

27       E-Boat    U

26       Glen    S

25       Enterprise    S

18       Sigma 33    S

18       Howth 17    U

13       RS Elite    U

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