Young sailers battle the elements

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YOUNG sailors staged a ‘Battle of the Bulges’ as they were challenged by very windy conditions during their Sail for Gold Regatta held on the waters of Burwain Sailing Club near Colne.

Members of the School and Youth Sailing and Canoeing Association were racing to pick up as many balls as they could that had been scattered on the water, but their boats kept capsizing in the gusty winds, spilling most of their catch.

So they started pushing the captured balls into their tops, pockets and buoyancy aids until they were bulging.

The event was run under the banner of Sail for Gold, a nationwide initiative from sailing’s governing body, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) to bring the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as close to home as possible .The youngsters competing had all learnt to sail as part of the RYA’s OnBoard scheme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to youngsters through clubs, schools, youth groups and training centres.

The day started with a short race enlivened by the strong swirling gusts hitting the dinghies from various angles. Most of the fleet capsized at some point of the race and some boats several times. The event continued for 45 minutes after the first boat finished as others in the fleet repeatedly capsized and recovered.

The sceond race was the ball race while third up was again a conventional course, but designed to allow dinghy classes with asymmetric spinnakers to used them on a good run. Again the swirling winds meant lots of capsizes and by the last lap, everyone was getting tired, so the final race was changed to fun boats.

This race was round a buoy and back with teams paddling the fun boats.

The race was won by the team who all paddled and pulled together as the best demonstration of teamwork.

Discover more about Sail for Gold at www.rya.org.uk/programmes/sailforgold

For more about OnBoard, visit www.rya.org.uk/programmes/onboard