Why Start Racing?
Racing is the natural progression for many young sailors providing them with great fun, and more ways to enjoy the sport. It’s a test of both physical and mental ability as it takes concentration and thought as well as technical sailing skill. It’s challenging too – the same sailors don’t always win. There are also plenty of rules and other things to encourage fair play and sportsmanship (such as the RYA Racing Charter) and it’s a self-policing sport (there’s no referee!). All these factors help develop good sailors – and they also develop independent, confident and strong young people, with valuable life-skills that they’ll keep forever - all whilst having fun with their friends.
Racing dinghies is great fun! It’s one of the things we encourage at the club as it offers so much to young sailors. We also understand that there’s a lot to learn and new things to understand which can be difficult when you’re just setting out. Because of these things we offer a huge amount at the club to get young sailors started, and to keep improving. As an RYA Champion Club we’re recognised within the RYA for providing this pathway into racing which, for some, can lead to becoming part of regional sailing squads, British squads and even more success!
Our RYA Training Centre provides instruction over the whole Youth & Junior sailing scheme syllabus which culminates in three Racing levels of competency. At Cadet Week and other times in the year we offer training in those parts of the syllabus once sailors are sufficiently competent. Our Cadet Coaching days also offer race coaching and fun, informal racing as a way of stepping up too. For those already racing the Club has a season-long racing programme on Sundays and we encourage all our juniors to take part. And there are numerous Junior sailing trophies – some awarded for racing success, and others awarded for other things like improvement and effort. Our Junior Points Series (run on coaching days) is set over shorter courses and a separate start line to adults to help coach experienced and beginner young sailors; while our Junior Coronation Cup and other trophies are longer races. In all cases, and all aspects of racing at the club juniors are fully encouraged to take part – so come and have a go!
The club offers a season-long racing programme on Sundays and we encourage all our juniors to take part. Children can enjoy competing in our Junior Points Series and Junior Trophy Races when we set child sized courses & offer a coached fleet for new racers. Juniors may also compete against the adults in club racing. Please see the calendar below for dates of all club racing and other key events on the Junior racing circuit.
Regatta Training FleetSpecifically aimed at less experienced or young sailors. This is a coached fleet where coaches will help children make it around the course. Ideal fleet for those taking part in their first few events, within their first year of racing but not yet ready for main fleet racing or who have come from the RYA OnBoard scheme with 6wks experience.
Silver FleetRacing fleet for children who have been racing for about a year, Regional Squad Sailors or those aspiring to gain a place in next year’s Regional Squad.
Gold FleetRacing fleet for children who have 1-2 years of racing experience, GBR, Welsh National Squad Sailors or those Top Regional Squad Sailors aspiring to gain a place in next year’s Welsh National Squad.
Racing is exceptional fun and a test of both physical and mental ability.
How to Progress in Junior Racing
You can learn to start racing during our cadet coaching days when we run the junior points series in the afternoons. We use the standard trapezoid ‘square’ / inner loop/ outer loop courses they are familiar with from the junior & youth racing circuit. Races tend to be quick 20-30 min long with a combined start for all classes of boats and are scored on a handicap system. During these races, coaches will be on hand to help those new to racing make it around the course ensuring its never too early or daunting to get started! It’s so much fun with lots of banter amongst the kids.
Our junior trophy races are slightly longer courses which run for 30-40 mins off the club start line alongside the main club racing. We offer a coached fleet to help juniors new to racing make it around the course and will ‘whisky’ finish any stragglers to ensure they get the most enjoyment from racing by receiving an appropriate finish place.
The next step on from junior club racing is to travel & take part in the Club Youth Racing Circuit (CYRC) series, which offers fabulous days of racing for Regatta Training, Silver & Gold Fleets. Six racing events are designed to build on the South Wales Winter Training. The series will cater for experienced racers (wanting to practice against their squad mates!) through to novice sailors travelling to their first event. More details at RYA CYMRU.
Another great event for newcomers is the RYA Cymru Wales OnBoard Llangorse Acorn Regatta. We encourage all our budding racers to come to the LSC Acorn regatta – it’s great fun and a fantastic opportunity to start racing in a low key fun environment on home turf. There’s a coached fleet called the OB Regatta Training fleet where Charlotte & Will will be two of the coaches there to help new racers make it around a basic ‘square’ course. This is the perfect opportunity for new sailors to make that leap from sailing to racing! Plus there’s a separate Silver & Gold fleet for those more experienced racers.
The Welsh Zone Championships, Welsh Topper Championships, Welsh Optimist Championships and Welsh Junior & Youth Championships are all the next level to progress to and add to your racing schedule for more experience in larger, more competitive fleets. They often have a Regatta Training Fleet too for the less experience but keen racers to take part in. They’re great events to travel to and camp alongside your sailing buddies! More details can be found at RYA CYMRU.
When children have been racing for a year or two and gained enough experience, we encourage them to add national and qualifying events into their racing schedule. These are also important for gaining a UK ranking & qualifying for Squad places. Our Junior Calendar lists the various National events taking place which we suggest as a starting point. As always, please come to us for advice if you’re unsure which events to take part in.