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Learning from the best: Dave Perry clinic challenges youth sailors

The St Francis Sailing Foundation was proud to be a co-supporter of the Dave Perry Youth Match Racing Clinic recently held at the San Francisco Yacht Club. Perry, who is Vice Chairman of the US Match Racing Committee, covered tactics and strategies to be competitive and successful in match racing on the National Level. The Clinic, which was sailed in J/22s, was attended by some 24 Bay Area youth sailors including Chloe Holder, Sarah Cuyler, Mats KeldsenĀ and Mackenzie Berwick who share some of the lessons learned from a great weekend of race training.

Chloe Holder: Learning from Dave was an incredible experience. He knows a ton about match racing, so we all wanted to absorb as much knowledge as possible. It was a new type of sailing for most us, so there was a lot to be learned. The meetings were packed with information, and he made a lot of jokes to keep us involved and actively participating.

I learned a ton about the most effective way to make it to the line on time and prevent the other boat from making it, as well as what to do off the start. We talked about boat speed and how to make the boat go as fast as possible, sail trim and having the proper amount of heel. We touched on how the rules change from fleet racing to match racing, like how to head people up when we get overlapped rather than having to let the windward boat sail their proper course.

Sarah Cuyler
My understanding of the rules and tricks of match racing has increased dramatically. In the mornings we learned off the water and during this time were encouraged to engage with our peers. This gave me the chance to get to know the other sailors and understand technical maneuvers which I could then apply on the water.

We spent much of the day sailing which allowed us to apply our knowledge and get a feel for the boat, our competitors, and how to navigate the course well. Through adverse weather conditions, we managed to sail and learn and grow every hour. Afterward, we reviewed footage of our maneuvers and discussed how we could improve. This was my favorite time as I was able to see clearly what I needed to work on.

I want to personally thank the San Francisco Yacht Club for hosting this event, and Dave for his unending love of sailing and coaching. I had an incredible weekend and would jump at the chance to do it again.

Mats Keldsen
I had previously sailed in a clinic run by Dave and I was reintroduced to his style of coaching. Even in the light air that Sunday presented us with, Dave continued to run races and made the most of the tactics that he had imparted upon us during the previous days. Personally, it was an opportunity to practice light wind starts and accelerations, and I was satisfied with the knowledge I had gained, which allowed me to confidently navigate the pre-start(s). My team, who had little experience in match racing, were able to take a step back and slow down from the agile dinghies they were used to. Match racing was a new and fun way to sail, and Dave taught us how to do that at a high level.

Mackenzie Berwick
The clinic was a wonderful opportunity to learn about match racing. Through detailed video review, tactical advice, and plenty of drills, we all improved quickly. The conditions were fair. We got to try our skills in heavier breeze on Saturday and lighter air on Sunday. Thanks to the hard work of the SFYC staff, the support of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, and the leadership and knowledge of Dave, our team had lots of fun and made big improvements. The support and attention given to the Bay Area Youth sailors has been outstanding and encouraging. We look forward to future clinics and regattas!

Mackenzie Berwick, Nick Dorn, Jacob Kowalski, Mats Keldsen
SF Cup Junior Match Race Team 2018



Michelle SladeLearning from the best: Dave Perry clinic challenges youth sailors