We sat down with Abi Smith, Performance Academy Sailing Scholarship (PASS) sailor, to talk all about her summer on the water. The PASS programme provides opportunities for 4 sailors to have subsidised access to our Performance Academy group training, a mentoring programme and team kit. Check out Abi’s reflections below:
What events did you attend this summer?
This summer I have attended many competitions including the south regionals at Oxford Sailing Club and all of the United Kingdom Windsurfing Association (UKWA) events of which there were two at Christchurch bay, one at Lee-on-Solent and one at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. The most recent event I took part in was the UKWA nationals at Rutland water which went great as my home team, the Portsmouth Planers, won the T15 team cup.
One of my targets for the summer was to move into the top third of the main fleet at the UKWA events. Since I made that target I have consistently met that target. For example at one of the Christchurch events I got a seventh overall out of a fleet size of around 25. Also later at Lee-on-Solent I got a fifth overall in a fleet of around 30. I was second 7.8 girl in the National Championship series overall, next year I aim to be champion.
How did you prepare for these events?
I prepared for these events by training every weekend that I’m not at a competition and on Thursday nights at the Performance windsurfing club, after school, at ASC – Portsmouth.
How have you used your PASS funding so far?
So far I have used my Performance Academy Sailing Scholarship (PASS) funding for the Performance Windsurfing club and multiple Techno training weekends. I have also used this funding for some of the Girls Foiling weekends as foiling is what I will be moving up to after techno.
Tell me about your PASS mentoring… What has the mentoring involved?
The PASS mentoring programme has been a brilliant chance to reflect on the most recent events and think about what I did well and what I could have done better.
Most of the time the mentoring was on the water so I could get tips on how to improve a certain skill and then practice it.
The mentoring has definitely helped my windsurfing greatly as shown by the results of all of the competitions I attended. My skill has improved along with my speed helping me to do better at the UKWA events.
What are your plans for the winter and next year?
This winter I plan on doing the Regional Training Group weekends to keep training on Techno ready for next year’s UKWA events, and practice some foiling too. I also plan to attend the foiling weekends to improve my foiling for when I move on to IQ Foil.
Next year I will be attending the UKWA events as well as going to the Techno European Championships in Italy and the Techno World Championships in France.
Why has the Rooster kit package been useful?
The Rooster kit has been absolutely amazing and I use it every time I go windsurfing as I now have the right kit for every condition that we face in the UK.
What specialised kit did you ask for?
The specialised kit that I asked for was the 90 litre carry-all bag to take my windsurfing kit with me to Cyprus for the World Championships. I also asked for the aquafleece beanie as it is windproof so great for the winter.
What has been your favourite piece of kit and why?
My favourite piece of Rooster kit has been the pro aquafleece because it is super warm but lightweight so I can wear it for racing and training through the winter months.