E Howard-Davies Youth Training Week – Full Report

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The GP14 Youth Training Week has been an annual fixture in the GP14 calendar for many years, thanks to the memorial fund set up in the name E Howard-Davies, a former Secretary, President and strong advocate of youth sailing. This year it was held for the first time at Portland, in conjunction with the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre.

Booked into the RYA’s Portland House, kitted out with their team hoodies – kindly donated by the association’s insurers Craftinsure – and team photo taken, an enthusiastic bunch of eight UK sailors and four Irish sailors looked forward to a great week training.


With the sun shining and ideal wind conditions, SI Storm Nuttall and guest coach Mike Senior lost no time in getting their students onto the water to start on boat handling. In the evening, with their first days’ sailing under their belts, the sailors spend time chilling on Chesil Beach.


Guest coach, Neil Marsden, joined Storm today to provide a morning session on boat tuning. An early lunch, gave the sailors an opportunity to consolidate their new found knowledge with a long afternoon on the water.  For some this was a learning curve, as two boats had to take an early shower following a port/starboard incident.  Storm seized this opportunity to run a mock protest committee.  What about the damaged boats?  No need to worry, many thanks to our ever ready Bosun, Chris Beddow, who was on hand to ensure they were ready for the next morning.


Once again Neil Marsden provided his expertise to the group. A classroom theory session, and dinghy park transit demo, was followed by practice on the water.  Neil and Storm continued with an afternoon further consolidating the sailors’ boat handling skills.  The sailors tacked and gybed across Portland Harbour for the entire afternoon.  With a Force 5 today, some even honed their capsize recovery drill!  Despite all their hard work, the team were not too tired to enjoy a long evening classroom session with Neil.


Andy Davies from HD Sails and current GP14 World Champion, having earned the title in Barbados last year, was the guest coach today. Initially a fickle breeze left the sailors adrift, but by late morning the wind had made an appearance so sailing could start. The group practiced getting round a course efficiently. De-briefed, well- fed and full of knowledge, our intrepid party scaled the Portland heights to visit the Olympic Rings, returning to their favourite haunt of Chesil Beach.


Storm was accompanied by Sophie Weguelin, member of the British Sailing Team. Exercises designed to bunch boats together gave the racers chance to show their knowledge of avoiding both rule infringements and boat damage.  The wisdom of doing this the end of the week was not lost on some!

All the sailors were very appreciative of the quality of the sailing and training at Portland, and were particularly grateful for the hard work put in by Storm.

Our thanks to Craftinsure, HD Sails and The Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre, House Parents Gill Beddow and Adam Chaplin and Bosun Chris Beddow.

This year’s other GP14 UK training events – aimed at all ages – include Aberdovey Fri 30 Jun; Looe Fri 4 & Sat 5 Aug; Bolton Sat 30 Sep. Visit our Training Page for more details.

Mark Collingwood