The Set Up
The Zone Squads are fed by sailors from the Team15 clubs. The sailors are on all sail sizes from 3.5 – 7.8 meters and there are around 12 windsurfers in each squad although sometimes two regions are combined, like in the North and West Zone squad which I was in last year. There are nine squads in the country.
The GBR National squad is composed of 13 juniors under the age of 17 who either sail the 6.8m or the 7.8m Techno Class. The training camps are residential, mainly over the winter, and homework and feedback is given all the time, not just after each event like in the Zone set up. To be selected for the GBR National squad you first have to compete in three specific National UKWA events which includes the Youth and Masters Championship. You also have to go to the RYA website and make sure you fill in the squad application form which puts your name forward to be considered. If you don’t apply, you won’t be considered.
Time to Travel
You have to go all over the country to get to the training events as they are not just in your area. However, after the last two years of racing at UKWA events nationwide are family are used to that. Racing at UKWA events also meant I already knew everyone in the National squad so when I got to the first training session it didn’t take long to settle in.
In the Zone squad your parents can rig your kit for you and help you with other things like getting your lunch! In the National Squad you’re on your own; no Mum to find your easy rig you dropped or Dad to pull on that last bit of downhaul. The only time you get bossed around by your parents is the training weekend when they become a ‘house parent’ (security guard/ discipline agent) looking after us in the evenings. This is very embarrassing!
The masses line up.
"In the National Squad you’re on your own, no Mum or Dad to help you out!"
Breaking free from the security agents..