2017 JSA of LIS All Instructor Symposium at Larchmont Yacht Club

On June 15th approximately 200 instructors came to the Larchmont Yacht Club for the 2017 JSA of LIS All Instructor Symposium. This was a great opportunity for them to meet and get up to speed on this summer’s program. Throughout the day, speakers discussed various topics including safety, rigging advice, as well as the new 2017-2020 racing rules.

After a short welcome talk by Symposium Committee Chair Alex Helfand, the instructors attended Nicky Souter’s (Sailing Director at Riverside Yacht Club) presentation on tips for a good summer as an instructor. She discussed the different safety concerns for both the instructors and the sailors, as well as how to interact with sailors in a correct manner off the water. With topics such as SafeSport becoming more prominent, discussing this theme was crucial to the symposium.

Robyn Lesh: “From Model Boats to Foiling – my path to Oakcliff”

The instructors then had the chance to listen to Robyn Lesh (High Performance Fleet Manager at Oakcliff Sailing Center). It was fascinating to listen to her interesting path, building radio controlled boats with her family at a young age, then studying mechanical and ocean engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and ending up working at Oakcliff where she is responsible for a fleet composed of Nacra 17s, 49ers, 49er FXs, and foiling Waszps.

After this presentation showing the different paths sailing could take, the audience had the opportunity to divide into small groups, some of them attending Alicia Martorella’s (former Sailing Director at the Waterfront Center) presentation on tips for first year instructors, while others attended Matt Thompson’s (Director of Wayzata Community Sailing Center) talk on managing training vs. racing time.

Then they all listened to Cynthia Parthemos (Race Officer at Larchmont Junior Race Week and US Sailing Area B) talk on rules from a regatta management perspective. This was interesting for instructors, as they usually see these themes from a racing perspective. This gave them a different outlook on the rules and how they are put in place and difficulties regatta managers often run into.

After a short lunch break, the coaches attended Dave Perry’s (Chairman of US Sailing Appeals Committee) presentation on the new changes for the 2017-2020 racing rules. His presentation was very interesting for the instructors, as these new rules will be in place at the different regattas this summer, and it is key for the instructors to be aware of the changes in place for the next four years.

The instructors then attended Mike DeMarco’s (Manager at the Dinghy Shop) presentation on paddle board safety. Although most instructors will be teaching sailing this summer, paddle boarding is often a great alternative for light or no wind days, and safety cannot be neglected for the clubs that have paddle boards.

Eric Magnuson (Rigging Manager at Landfall Navigation) had the opportunity to teach marlinspike rigging tips to individual instructors during breakouts, and he also presented a talk to all about knots, how they can affect the strength of a rope, and which knot to choose depending on what its use will be.

Kevin Broome (Sailing Director at American Yacht Club) then talked about preventing entrapment and assisting with capsizes. Capsizing often scares beginner sailors. He discussed key techniques in order to right the boats in different situations in order to minimize the risks. It was also interesting to learn that preventing accidents could come from sensitizing the sailors to those situations, teaching them about the air pockets under the capsized boats, and telling them to stay calm.

Bo Williams from Zim Sailing on how to improve downwind performance on the RS Feva

Later in the day the instructors had the chance to break out in order to focus on the boats they would be coaching this summer. There were sessions organized in the Laser, Club 420, Optimist, as well as in the RS Feva. Coaches had the chance to learn tips and become more familiar with their boats in order to maximize their coaching efficiency once on the water.

After an intense day full of extremely interesting presentations, a few first year instructors had the opportunity to work with US Sailing trainers to complete additional skills evaluation to be certified as Level 1 Small Boat instructors.

The 2017 JSA All-Instructor symposium was a success, thanks to the organizers, speakers and supporters. If you didn’t have the chance to attend the event, you can find the video recap, photo album as well as the streamed presentations online (JSA of LIS YouTube channel and Facebook page).

And thanks very much to these organizations that supported the symposium: 12 m Yacht Development Fdn, BIC Sport, Boat Locker, Dinghy Shop, Hobie Polarized, Landfall Navigation, Larchmont Yacht Club, McLaughlin Boat Works, Oakcliff Sailing Center, SailFast, US Sailing, Wayzata Sailing Center and Zim Sailing.