Written by Justin Scott
The Etchells class and the Star class have recently introduced rules that prohibit coach boats. The Viper class has taken a different route for the last two years. We agree with those that point out that coaching on the day of racing, between races, is a much more effective way of helping a sailor lift his or her game than clinics or training days.
We also agree that an expensive coaching program is a hell of an advantage for a boat that can afford the dough and doesn’t accord with the Viper philosphy of providing economically affordable racing.
We love what coaching can do for sailors trying to improve their skills. But we want a level playing field.
In the Viper class we try and get the best of both worlds. Individual coach boats are not present. However we recently introduced Class coach boats at some of our regattas supported by the Class Asssociation and Rondar. These are a couple of RIBs flying large Viper flags and staffed by some top world class sailors and coaches. They follow the fleet taking pics and notes for all competitors. Between races they station themselves near the pin and any boat can sail past and get tips and pointers. They proactively seek out the bottom third of the fleet and help them address any boat speed issues and comment on strategy and which side of the course is working and why.
Participants have raved about how great this program is. The class also runs tuning clinics etc, but the feedback we get is that the OTW coaching at regattas is a whole new level of help. I suspect that our class will take a similar view as the Etchells and Stars towards private coach boats but based on all we have heard we will be stepping up the OTW Class coaching at regattas.