AFLOAT: Champion inspires young sailors

Dorset Echo: LEARNING THE ROPES: Youngsters test out their skills on the water LEARNING THE ROPES: Youngsters test out their skills on the water

THE first South Coast Crew meet attracted a dozen young windsurfers to the waters of Portland Harbour.

Coached by ex-world champion Ross Williams, the young group, aged from 12-17, gathered at the Official Test Centre (OTC) at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy last Sunday to improve their short board handling skills.

Small sails and boards were used to practice quick tacks and gybes on small, unstable and potentially sinking platforms.

The crew then lined up to sail close together and tack in unison as Williams counted them into the manoeuvre.

After lunch, the youngsters switched to the big kit to make the most of the wind with gybing practice around a close course.

OTC managing director Tris Best said: “This is the first of many, at least monthly, meets.

“This group is for young windsurfers to meet up along the south coast and push each other to achieve more.

“The OTC will use their mobile facility to chase the conditions along the coast and, when available, Ross Williams will come and provide the source of inspiration.

“It’s about getting out in real world conditions, hopefully waves, and pushing boundaries to reach new heights.”

This weekend members of the South Coast Crew will be among the windsurfers competing in Portland Harbour at the Winter Slalom Series event hosted by the OTC.

The new group differs from Will’s Weymouth Warriors because they are from all along the coast and their focus is coastal sailing – wave sailing – rather than racing.

Young windsurfers wishing to stay up to date with when the South Coast Crew will be on the water next are invited to join the group’s Facebook page. Alternatively, you can pay a visit to otc-windsurf.com

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