SDYC Skiff Clinic – 2024 Write-Up

Write-Up By Brad Ruetenik

Another San Diego skiff clinic for 2024 just finished. A total of 18 new and semi-new skiff sailors came to San Diego Yacht Club for this introductory skiff clinic. We had participants fly in from Ohio, Seattle and San Francisco. We had young Junior high and High school sailors getting their first skiff sailing experience or stepping up from a 29er. We had a 68 y.o. grandmother sailing from the wire for her first time. Lots of college and recently graduated college sailors, we had coaches and very experienced sailors joining relatively new sailors. For coaching we had several of the top US I-14 sailors, both skippers and crews. Lots of National and North American, Pacific Rim Champions on the coaching side.

Sat. Morning started with a welcome to the clinic and get to know a little about each sailor and their sailing background. We introduced the boats and some of the International 14 history as the oldest International dinghy class in the world. We touched on some of the many developments brought to sailing through the I-14 class as well as some of the history of the participants in the class from around the world. We then moved on the chalk talks. We introduced some nuances of trapeze harness fit and adjustments as well as proper techniques so as to reduce the development of poor techniques and bad habits. We went on to discuss foot work through the boat for tacks and gybes for both skipper and crew. We also discussed and showed hoists and douses of the kite. We then discussed the inevitable capsize drills and proper ways to retrieve and enter the boat without damage to the boat or yourself. These were then all practiced with on land drills on boats in cradles on the sail dry lawn. Each participant was run through each drill numerous times on land so as to improve out on water time and efficiency.
Sat afternoon we spent switching out of two powerboats in and out of four high end I-14s. We had a Bieker 5 and 6 as well as two Hollum design boats sporting both single and double spreader rigs. After 3-4 hrs of relatively light air, mostly double wire sailing we got back to the dock for a rinse and debrief of the days activities. Several participants then retired to the SDYC clubhouse for refreshments and dinner.
Sun. started with another question and answer period followed by more dry land drills on the grass focusing on the things learned the first day and adding additional information, in particularly some more focus on driving from the wire and maneuvers from the drivers perspective. We were on the water again by 1200 and sailed out tp the ocean were a sea breeze filled in to 10-12 kts. with a decent westerly swell out past Point Cabrillo. Several more rounds were had with the addition of another B3 for Sun. All of the participants that were ready got to do some driving from the wire and learned just how twitchy these boats can be. We all made it back to the docks safely with some tired but excited sailors. Again some debriefing and cold beverages topped off the weekend.
Thanks to all the participants as well as the coaching staff along with SDYC for welcoming the 14 fleet to San Diego.
Kate Shaner
Garrett Brown
JP Barnes
Terry Gleason
Paul Galvez
Cameron Puckey
Aidan Mobley
Matt Megla
Devonn Zink
Channing Hamlet
Brad Ruetenik

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