Jack: Hi, I'm Jack Stonehouse from Boatshop24.
Balazs: And I'm Balazs Jarai from Mailspeed Marine.
Jack: And you join us today in Sussex with Alex Mills Barton and the 2016 GB Sailing Hopeful, and he's hopefully going to teach us how to sail in a day.
Alex: What we're going to do now is I'm going to try and teach you a little feel of the basics, what you need to know to just kind of get around the course.
So at the moment, you can see the sails flapping, which means it's not filling either side, which means at the moment, the wind is coming directly down here, so straight down the pond, which is nice and easy for us.
What I'm going to get you guys to do is set up on the reach. What you'll do is you'll head straight up, and then do your tack, so head into the wind and straight through it or jibe so you'll go away from the wind and the sail will flap over.
As you can see, the sail is now filled, which means there's wind going over the sail and it's working, so it'll be pushing you forwards. Sail set inwards, we'll just keep it simple and just keep it like that. What you want is the sail at about 45 degrees, maybe a bit more in.
What you need to do now is you just hold this. It shouldn't be too much pressure in there today because it's quite light winds. You just need to steer. It's opposite with a rudder like this . . . When you want to turn right, instead of pulling it towards you, you actually push it away from you, and it will scoot you off into the wind.
If you want to do a jibe round, so to the left, then you pull it towards you, and the front of the boat will just bear away and go.
Once you get into where your pointing into the wind, the sail will start coming in and start flapping in the middle, but you've got to keep pushing until your course is coming back this way, and then the sail will eventually fill on the other side, and then you just straighten the rudder up and steer back to me.
That should be about it. This wind indicator at the front, which I like to use, gives you a bit more of a judgment of where the wind's coming from if you can't work it out from the sails. As you can see, it's still coming relatively straight down, so it should be fine.
Jack: One two three go.
Balazs: One two three, One two three, you first.
Jack: It's off.
Alex: Grab that rope again, and pull it in a little bit.
And you're off.
Once you get that feel for what the rudder actually does with its opposites, it's a lot easier. That's one of the hard things when you learn.
He's going for another tack there. Nice. Oh, he's got caught. Push away.
He's gone onto a bit of a run there. He's going with the wind, back for a tack, so with the tiller away from him, and then straighten up when he gets back for it. He's doing well to keep it going thought.
You can see the wind's pushing him over, so what he needs to do is to hike the boat flat he needs to put his feet under the toe- strap and get all his body weight out to try and save the sail from going in the water.
You can see on the water here he's going for a bit of a gust, which is good. That means he's got more wind. He can go faster. That's what you're looking for when you're racing.
A real good day for learning to sail today. Sometimes if it's too windy, it becomes very tricky to keep hold of the control, and if it's too light, it's really hard to know where the wind's coming from, and when you actually got the sail right, but today's perfect.
Balaz: By the sounds of things, you've obviously been around the world, sailed in a few different countries.
What's your favorite country to sail in during your training?
Alex: I always like Palma in Majorca just because the sailing's good, the weather's nice, you can come off the water and go for two hours bike riding in the mountains and stuff, and it's cheap. It's just overall a really good place to be.
Not supposed to jump on the sail. If you can, in that situation it's best to flip over the top and go over to the centerboard. That's going to pull the boat up. It might come early. You might no have to put all your weight on it.
It's coming up. Done a good job there.
A few little improvements. You did a great job, but first, what I noticed was the rope getting caught around the back of the transom. That just means you can't adjust the ropes. Like we saw at the end when that gust came for you, you just went over because you couldn't let the sail up.
One way to get over that is when you push the tiller extension away and the rudder pushes you into the wind, you need to try and grab a couple handfuls of mainsheet just to pull the sail in a little bit, and it stops there being so much rope at the back and the slack from catching around the back.
That's what happens. It drops in the water, and then the speed of the water going past pulls it back and then catches around the transom. That's what happens, and then it gets caught. That's one of the things. Apart from that, I think you did a great job.
Good job so far. He's going for tack. Getting that mainsheet in in the middle. It looks like he's managed it without getting caught.
At the moment, you can see front of the sail flapping there. That means the wind's almost coming around the other side of it, so could have done with just pulling the mainsheet in a little bit more and getting the sail over a bit more to trim it to the wind direction. Lost a bit of speed there for the tack, but seems to have got it under control again.
When you're going for the tacks and jibes, it sounds wrong, but you should try and get it up to speed first and then go for it. If it slows down too much, it becomes very hard to handle and control.
Balaz: You've got quite a lot of competitions coming up, by the sounds of things. Obviously, you're hopeful for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. What kind of things have you been doing as of late to prepare for these competitions?
Alex: We got the World's coming at the end of this year, at the end of November. We just had the Europeans, and basically the World's, we kind of know roughly it's going to be light to medium wind, so at the moment, we're basically trying to prioritize going out in the lighter times of the day so we can get as much practice in for that. A lot of time on the water obviously just trying to simulate as close to the venue in Oman where they are as we can so we're making improvements in the right area.
That crosses over to the Olympics quite well because we're expecting light winds in Rio as well. At the moment, all things are pushed towards that side, the lighter wind improvements. Just keep going, and lots of competitions in between now and then, and getting the race experience up.
What you need to do is you need to come back around and down and then try and slow it down and come and do a bit of a U-turn. A little bit further, and then push away. Not all the way. Let the rope go. Good. It should just coast in on its own.
I think you did a job there, Balaz. I'm glad to see you adjusted and took what I told Jack with the mainsheet and pulling it through as you went and pushed it away. You didn't have the problem that Jack was having with it getting caught around the transom. You were always able to adjust and never had the problem of it going over.
I think one thing maybe was with the rudder and the tiller trying to think about it a little bit more as you go for it. You were kind of pushing it across, which is really good. Good speed, and then you get to the bit where you needed to cross over, and it was . . .
What I did notice with both of you is that you both were tacking and then facing towards the back, and that's actually the . . . You're supposed to spin the other way around, facing forwards, and switch there.
Balazs: Oh okay, so you go under and turn.
Alex: Yeah, and you were facing the other way.
Balazs: Yeah, that's right.
Alex: Because then you can see where you're going, first of all, and it's just an easier kind of movement. It's a bit trickier going around backwards. Next time, if we get a chance, try facing forwards and then flicking facing this way rather than the backwards way. Then it becomes actually a bit harder because you've got to grab that around your back, and so it pans that way, but the mainsheet will be a lot easier, and you can see where you're going, so it's a lot easier movement. But you did a great job.