Young Connor Bainbridge takes a break from Race training…

Northern Sailors Training hard for 2007


The 2006 UK competition season may be over, but training for 2007 has begun in earnest. It is a credit to a small group of dedicated windsurfing coaches and parents that youth and junior sailors can continue to develop their skills all year round, without the need to invest in windsurfing holidays to sunnier climes.


Of course, continuing to windsurf through the dark, cold months does require a high level of commitment and the ability to deal with harsh wind chill levels, which see the majority of the UK population wrapped up in thick coats, hats and gloves, when they risk the weather for a quick 30 minute walk. There is however one big benefit – the wind is generally in much greater supply than the summer months and with a good wetsuit, hat and boots there is some excellent windsurfing to be enjoyed.


Connor Bainbridge, a 13 year old windsurfer, who is sponsored by Ezzy Sails and RRD Boards through Seasprite Sports, has been taking advantage of the various coaching courses on offer to Junior and Youth Sailors in the North of England.


At West Pennine Windsurfing club, high on the moors above Rochdale, Mark Kay has been pushing up to 25 young sailors to new heights of performance with his no-nonsense style. The focus of Mark’s 2 day courses has been on fine tuning absolute board speed as well as gybing and tacking skills. Each weekend has seen more than 8 hours on the water, with classroom and video feedback to fine tune skills and technique. Marks courses will be running every 2 or 3 weeks throughout the winter so contact him to book a place.


It will have escaped no ones notice that the Techno One Design Race class is now dominating the Youth and Junior scene, as it is the designated board for national and international racing, and is the required board for the RYA squads and the UKWA recognise it as a separate race class.


Clare and Rob Strange have already organised and managed weekends of Techno Open Training, which have been very successful, and have allowed aspiring young sailors from the RYA squads and also from the many T15 clubs to gain additional high quality training.


Ian Roberts, who runs the North and West Zone Squads has also been investing time in coaching and developing Techno sailors from the region, so you can expect the standard of racing from the Northern Sailors to be very high in 2007.


Of course the windy winter months shouldn’t just be about heavy duty race training, so on the few ‘free’ weekends it’s important to do something else. However, the new generation of UK windsurfers only seem to be happy on the water, so Rhosneigr and West Kirby are the destinations of choice for Wave and Speed sailing.


If you want to know more about how it feels to windsurf through the winter for Juniors and Youths in the North of England, please visit Connor’s web site at To take advantage of Mark Kay’s coaching weekends, he can be contacted at For Techno Open race training email Ian Roberts can be contacted at Connor is personally mentored by Jem Hall and sponsored by




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