Words: Julia Jacobsen
This summer RHKYC hosted a Waszp clinic, and ten lucky sharks team sailors were able to be part of this. We were a group of 29er and 420 sailors, and some of us were entirely new to the Waszp, others had tried once or twice, and two sailors were already quite experienced Waszp sailors. Rob Patridge, a well-experienced moth sailor, was the main coach as well as Jono Rankine and Daniel Dolega helping out for a couple of days each.
Everyone in the team was excited to take part in the camp although some nerves were definitely there from the beginning. The Waszp and the whole concept of foiling and hydrofoil sailboats were fairly new to most of the sailors, but that didn’t keep anyone away from sailing. Waszp sailing and foiling, in general, is a whole new way of sailing and a clear definition of fun itself.
The general expectations of the group were to foil and improve daily with the help from Rob, Jono and Daniel. As the past experience of each of the sailors was unique, the individual goals were different. Some had goals such as learning to foil and just having fun every day, while others strived for more technicality and perhaps wanted to learn and practice manoeuvres such as foiling gybes and foiling tacks. Whatever it was it left motivation and a sense of excitement in each and every one of us. We all wanted to achieve our individual goals and impress, which made us all very committed and fully engaged in both the sailing and the sessions on land. Although we all had expectations to foil and have fun, we were all very prepared for the swimming, and the many capsizes that were to come. When learning to sail a new boat, that is something which is expected in the beginning, but perhaps slightly more in a hydrofoil sailboat due to its instability.
The camp consisted of five days of training. As we were ten sailors and had five wasps
(which we were very lucky to borrow from the RHKYC Youth America’s Cup team), we split into pairs who then each shared a boat for the entire week. This was our responsibility to rig and de-rig, keep clean and fix/report any issues. Everyday 11 am was briefing when we had to be both rigged and changed. We then went sailing, and as two people shared one boat, we rotated sailing on the water, which indeed worked very well. It was lunch on the water and debrief around 5 pm. Long days but no complaints.
The first few days of the camp were just for familiarisation. We looked at how to rig the Waszp as well as each of the controls and what they do. We also looked at boat care such as launching, towing and capsizing, but most of all, we focused on the three foiling essentials: steering, mainsheet and body position. This was something we had to pay good attention to the whole camp. The team goal was to get everyone up and to foil the first day, which I’m happy to say we succeeded in. Monday and Tuesday we practised the different ways of sailing the boat, how to take off, lowriding and flying and also how to get around a simple course. These are factors that are essential for racing in a Waszp. Wednesday we were focusing even more on course sailing and some were well underway with the foil gybes already. The highlight of the week was definitely Thursday and Friday when we were able to do some close racing, more foil gybes and speed tests/competitions. We were even able to try slalom racing, which was a journey
in itself! Overall, a lot of fun.
If you are interested in sailing the Waszp, don’t hesitate to try, you won’t regret it!
Image: Rob Partridge