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Pathway from Novice to Racer

This page is under development, but aims to show the pathway within sailing at Claires Court School

Novice -> Competent Sailor (RYA Stage 3) - this takes 2-3 terms sailing twice per week during games lessons

Competent Sailor -> Basic Team Racer - students first start racing and training during lessons, then they may be selected to join the team at one of 3 events during the year (NSSA single or double handed and Thames Valley Challenge)

Basic Team Racer -> Regular Racer - students continue to train during lessons and learn the skills as both a helm and crew. When they first attend events they will crew and gradually progress to helming. They then may return to crewing either as a specialism or to allow them to learn from a more experienced helm.

If a student starts sailing in Year 7, we would start them racing in Year 8 at the basic team racing events.  As they enter Year 9 they then may be invited to compete at the British Schools Events in one of our teams.

For Juniors and those attending just after-school sailing, unless they also sail outside of school at a club it is unlikely they will reach the standard to compete in school competitions.

There are 2 types of racing:

- Team Racing - this is where a team of 2 or 3 boats compete against another team.  The objective is to get your team to the finish line before the opponents, the races last no more than 10 minutes over a short course and the rules are used to block the opponents progressing.

- Fleet Racing - this is where you race as an individual boat/person against up to 200 others in the same event. Races last up to an hour and you could have 3-4 races in a day depending upon length.

For school competitions, the only entry restriction is that all sailors are from the same school and are of school age, i.e. under 19.  Unlike other sports, everyone competes together there are no leagues or handicaps based on age or experience.
For open competitions there are no entry restrictions and so adults and children compete together.

During a year we typically enter the following groups of events:
NSSA (National Schools Sailing Association) - Team Racing and Fleet Racing - these are suitable for those starting to race through to regular racers, there is a large range of abilities competing.
Thames Valley Challenge - Team Racing - this is a novice racer entry level event for under 16s.
BSDRA (British Schools Dinghy Racing Association) - Team Racing, the regional events are suitable for those who have had some experience of team racing.  The International championships are for regular racers.
RS Feva and Topper - Fleet Racing - these are suitable for those who have experienced some racing beyond that in lessons.  For National and World Championships you should be regularly racing.

Alternative to racing
We recognise that not everyone will excel as a racer and that racers also require a high level of boat handling skills.  Students can choose to work on these and this leads to the entry point of becoming a qualified RYA Dinghy Instructor.