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UK Sailmakers Racing Clinic 2019


On the weekend of March 9-10, sixty four sailboat racers from the five Central Vancouver Island yacht clubS, INCLUDING 33 FROM SCYC, participated in a racing clinic held at the Nanaimo Yacht Club. Participants ranged from very experienced racers to new participants in yacht racing. SCYC racers were very well represented at the event.

Initiated by SCYC, the Racing Clinic was led by Stuart Dahlgren and his wife Joy, both very experienced racers. Stuart and Joy are the owners of the northwest loft of UK Sailmakers in Sidney BC. They also own several racing boats ranging from a 24 foot sport boat to the 70 foot long “Westerly”. They are skilled sailmakers and are regular participants in distance races and regattas. They donated their time and resources to deliver this valuable racing clinic.

The program focused primarily on enhancing the knowledge of the participants about the International Racing Rules of Sailing and how tactical decisions and safety on the race course result from those rules. Stuart explored and interpreted the Racing Rules through presentations and discussion with the audience on the Saturday afternoon.

Stuart used were very professional, proprietary UK Sailmakers training resources for the presentation. Videos and pictures showed situations involving boats at race starts, rounding windward and leeward race course turning marks, sailing between turning marks, avoiding obstacles and finishing a race. The big topics were about right of way, which is a critical issue among boats competing in the congested racing environment on the water.

UKClinic1Stuart’s visual presentations and explanations showed situations on the water developing, how rule infractions developed, protests among the boats and the rules that apply in the situation. Learning tools helped the participants understand how the rules are interpreted to determine which of the illustrated boat(s) had right of way and how the boat(s) that must give way could have improved their situation.


Sailing on Sunday on eight boats under Stuart’s critical eye on the water and the eye of his drone in the air, the participants sailed a series of race starts and mark roundings to put tactics that result from the rules into practice. Winds and currents were favourable for this practice.


Boats effected multiple starts. After each start they sailed to round the turning mark, set a few hundred meters to windward of the start line, and return to the starting area for the next start. As the experience and skill of the boats increased the start line was shortened to increase congestion – thus making the correct use of the Racing Rules of Sailing increasingly important.

Fom NYC Fleet Captain Ron Campsall’s boat, Stuart videoed boats jostling for position on the start line and as they proceeded across the line. The drone videoed the boats rounding the turning mark.

Following the on-the-water practice Stuart conducted a detailed debrief, using the videos he took from the boat and the drone to discuss the tactics of the boats on the water. He offered suggestions to help boats understand how they could have improved their performance.

Net proceeds of the event are to be donated on behalf of the five Central Island Yacht Clubs to Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue following a draw from local community-focused charities nominated by each of the five clubs.

The Pie Factory from Parksville, which has also catered for several SCYC major racing events, delivered a delicious chili dinner and volunteers at NYC opened the bar at NYC for the participants.

SCYC is grateful to SCYC present and past executive members for handling on-line and on-site registration, fee collection and program planning and delivery and to NYC for providing their wonderful facility for the event. George Bishop, Racing Director, and several NYC volunteers facilitated activities there. DBYC representative Peter Schiedel, LMS representative Gerard Nachtegaele MBYC Fleet Captain Don Brown and NYC Racing Director Beorge Bishop promoted the Racing Clinic to their local racers.

On behalf of all of the participants, SCYC thanks Stuart and Joy Dahlgren of UK Sailmakers for their skill and knowledge as they delivered this very effective program. Their commitment contributes directly to the benefit of our clubs’ racing programs and the racing skill of our racers. Our racing community acknowledges UK Sailmakers for their ongoing support of racing on Vancouver Island.