Winning On All Fronts: The Ripple Program

Winning On All Fronts: The Ripple Program. By Phil Bainbridge.

Well…that was an unexpected and pleasant surprise. Division 1 handicap winners in the first race of The Wooden Boatshop Series. A first for us all in a Couta Boat and very enjoyable.

But before I go on about this race, let’s talk about the more important business, The Ripple Program. Ripple is the only club-owned Couta Boat, and its primary purpose is for training. Over the last couple of years, we have had a range of people on the boat, all with different needs:

• Club Members or non-members who have never sailed and interested to see
whether they want to do more;
• Sailors who haven’t sailed for awhile or on Couta Boats;
• Sailors who have been disillusioned by sailing but want to give it another go;
• We have even had an Opti sailor who was interested to see what it’s like.

On a regular day, we have a range of sailing experience on board and our approach is to teach sailing at any level of experience and HAVE FUN!

Some days we go out either on a race day or non-race day and practice sailing, giving people the opportunity to rig the boat, trim sails, or helm. We try to get everyone doing everything, so they learn how to work as a team and understand their impact on others.

Some days we race but if we have a less experienced crew, we will start 30 – 60 seconds later and go wider round the marks, giving other boats space in case we mess up!

Over the winter, a lot of work has been done on Ripple:
• Thank you Lachie, for the antifoul, decking, ribs etc etc;
• Thank for Moose for the rig trimming; and
• Thank you, Howard, for the new sails

This summer, we will be running the usual intro courses plus:
• Mastering the bow (sounds very grand);
• Introduction to skippering; and
• Introduction to racing.

We now have quite a deep crew pool and with the coming courses, we hope that will get deeper. If other owners, skippers or boats are looking for crew and can take people on to give them new experiences, please let us know.

So, back to our winning race. We had a few things going in our favour:
• A good handicap. Hopefully that doesn’t get adjusted until we repeat the
performance a few times;
• Leaving in wave 6 so we could get across the channel before it was closed for
• Having a deep knowledge of the shallow sand areas after touching the plate
on a few of them last year! and
• A really good crew who sailed really well and had fun!

Big thank you to the crew on the day:
• Marisa on the main sheet;
• Pete on the traveller;
• Craig on the jib sheet;
• Bern on the jib sheet;
• Yuri navigation/tactics and getting the plate up and down over the shallow
sand; and
• Lachie on the bow.

We will be racing on Saturday in the next Wooden Boatshop Series with a different crew. Looking forward to another great day. If the program is of interest to anyone, do not hesitate to get in touch! Click here for more info on Couta Coaching.