The inspiration for the Dinghy Summit came from Owen Laverty's experience with the Tech world's Web Summit where busy attendees were given quick and informative information dense sessions on a number of different topics related to web businesses. Here Laverty reviews the first ever dinghy summit held at the Royal St. George YC
Applying the same principles to sailing didn't require too much of a stretch, just some great speakers. The summit recognises that many senior dinghy sailors are busy and receive little or no training thus keep making the same mistakes. Without the learning they potentially lose interest. It aims to deliver rich, relevant content in a short space of time.
Held in the George last Saturday morning, first up was Graham Elmes with an excellent talk on starting and the first beat. Graham has a very strong history representing Ireland in many classes at international level and coaches at this level also. Graham spoke about general readiness for a race, planning your start and the three categories of wind patterns which may be in effect on the course. He discussed how to recognise them and the best tactics for each. The crowd of 35 senior dinghy sailors were all heard to say that it all seemed very simple!
Next up was Noel butler. Noel started sailing sailing at 25 (and ended up winning a World Championship in the laser II dinghy and eight national titles) with the initial thought that no one trains so early progress with a good training plan will ensure a good level of success. Noel spoke about how a 1% difference could mean a 100 meter lead in the average race.
Discussions focussed how this 1% could be gained in many areas encompassing fitness, hydration, boat speed, gear etc. Something that not many people consider is aligning your aims for the year with those of your crew, partner, work and family! A very convincing 45 minutes with some great take home tips!
Finally James Espey provided the Laser sailors with some great tips on getting the most out of a Laser. James shared lots of go fast tips involving crew dynamics, wave techniques, fitness and finished off with a very telling exercise showing how to trim a Laser sail for all conditions. I don't think there were many in the audience who knew to start de-powering at 8 knots! The good news for those that missed it is that this is the first talk in the George Sailing Summit series and we expect to run more though the season - consider this the CPD of the Dunlaoghaire dinghy world!