To our knowledge, Rick White's Sailing Seminars is the only race-training program of its type in the United States for the small one-designs -- we began with catamarans, branched out into Laser, Sunfish, JY15, Force 5 and now have added the E-Scow, the Corsair F-Boat trimarans and Dragonfly trimarans (definitely not in the small-boat category). Although the seminars are geared to the racing sailor and designed around a racing format, the program is equally beneficial to the day sailor or cruising sailor.
We are unique in presenting a complete race camp program that includes full days of drills on the water as well as evening lectures and videos of the day's drills.
This program was founded in April of 1989 in the Florida Keys, where regularly scheduled, five-day seminars are held each spring. We have also traveled all over the United States, Canada and Mexico doing three-day-weekend seminars. The three-day seminars contain all the same material and include all the same drills as the five-day. The primary difference is that the five-day gives you at least 23 hours on the water and the three-day gives you at least 13 hours on the water.
The system of drills that we use is based upon the Olympic training program developed by Canada's Ontario Sailing Centre over the past 20 years. We were able to begin this program only because of the assistance of the then director of the Ontario Sailing Centre -- a man who believed, as we do, in spreading the knowledge to keep sailing and racing alive.
During late 1991 and early 1992 we were privileged to be able to help on a volunteer basis in coaching at Randy Smyth's Olympic Training Camp on Key Biscayne, Florida. We hope that we played some small part in helping not only Randy to his silver medal but, three or four other teams who went on to represent their countries at the Olympics. It was a real thrill just being with people who have dedicated so much time and energy and personal expense to make a run at sailing's greatest challenge.
The seminars are run by Rick White, who has won over 180 major racing titles himself in the past 25 years, and who is now devoting his time to helping others sail better, faster, smarter and safer. His personal expertise is in catamarans, and he can pass on to you the knowledge of Randy Smyth (two-time Olympic silver medalist), Carlton Tucker (national champion in several classes and three times winner of the Alter Cup), Jay Glaser (one of the great crews of all time and always one of the primary Olympic hopefuls), Alan Egusa (an Alter Cup Champion and winner in many major events), Jim Young (Coach of the Swiss Olympic Sailing Team), Enrique Figueroa (a current world champion on Hobies), Bob Curry (a former World and National Champion), and Larry Woods (Canadional National Champ in Tornados, columnist for Sailing World Magazine). All have been guest experts at our seminars in the past.
For the monohull sailors, White has worked with such greats as Steve Bourdow (Olympic Medalist), Ian Lineberger (President of the Laser Class, and top national contender), Scott Kyle (National and World Champion in the Laser and Sunfish), Dick Tillman (Laser National Champ, and winner of many other class championships, and sailing book author). Derrick Fries (Many times National Champ in the Sunfish, Laser, and author of many great sailing books), Mark Brink (Laser National Champ), John Burnham (Editor of Sailing World Magazine and expert racer), Brett Davis (Jr. Champion and now top national contender), Jeff Linton (Many times Sunfish National Champ) This course actually makes you go out and get that hands-on time that you need on the water in a controlled environment, with on-water coaching. Our students do more starts, tacks, jibes and mark roundings, during a myriad of different drills that simulate heavy traffic, than most sailors do in several seasons. They can't help but improve in all areas of sailing.
Videos are taken during each day's drills and replayed following each session, with compliments and critiques from the expert(s). Each evening we have two-hour markerboard lectures dealing with the subject of the drills for the following day. For some classes we also have brief, written review quizzes.
Tactics are built into the drills and will be discussed during the video replays of the action on the water, as well as during the evening lecture sessions and during the briefings and debriefings before and after you go out on the water.
Sail shape and sail trim are covered with a hands-on demonstration on shore, reinforced with advice on the water and during pre- and post-drill comments.
This course is a lot of work for the participants, but a few days of hard work makes them better sailors for the rest of their lives.The learning curve is awesomely steep.
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE AGE OF YOUR SEMINAR PARTICIPANTS?
39. But they range from 14 to 70 so far, and there are no upper and lower limits.
WHAT CALIBER OF SAILOR ATTENDS THE SEMINARS?
We have every level from novice racer or competent daysailor to very advanced racer. The drills are designed to improve ability regardless of skill level. Each sailor benefits from the course in direct proportion to the effort he puts into it
CAN I ATTEND THE SEMINAR IF I DON'T KNOW HOW TO SAIL?
Sorry, but no. The seminar is designed to improve people who already know the fundamentals. We do not have coaches available to provide individual attention or teach the basics.
WHAT IF I AM SKIPPER WITHOUT A CREW?
This is a common problem. We recommend that you either find a crew or find another skipper in your fleet or area who also wants to attend the seminar, and team up on a boat. If you team up with another skipper, you can share time on the helm, which actually broadens your knowledge of the boat and gives you time to concentrate more on sail trim than on steering. All drills are done at least twice, so you get equal opportunity to do both jobs on the boat. If you cannot find a sailing partner, let us know early, and we will try to team you up with someone who has the same problem and has a similar type of boat.
CAN I ATTEND IF I AM A CREW WITHOUT A SKIPPER FOR A TWO-PERSON BOAT?
Yes. We often bave skippers attending alone without crews, so you would be in great demand. Let us know early, so we can team you up with someone.
IF I HAVE A TWO-PERSON BOAT, CAN I SINGLE-HAND IT AT THE SEMINAR?
No. There is a safety factor -- for you and for the other boats. If you really want to single-hand, bring a boat that is designed for that purpose.
FOR A TWO-PERSON BOAT, IF A SKIPPER BRINGS A CREW, DOES THE CREW PAY THE SAME PRICE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SEMINAR?
Yes. The crew is as important a part of the team as the skipper and will benefit just as much from the seminar.
DO YOU PROVIDE BOATS FOR THE SEMINARS?
No. These are bring-your-own boat seminars. A few rentals are available for the seminars in the Florida Keys, but we are not aware of availability at other seminar locations.
WHAT KIND OF SAILING GEAR SHOULD I BRING?
Your PFD, of course. Sailing gloves are a must, and full-finger gloves are advisable, if you have them. Bring a wetsuit and/or drysuit and/or dinghy suit. Even if you don't need them for warmth, they will help to protect your body. For Sunfish or Laser sailors padded hiking pants are great if you have them. For catamaran sailors, knee pads are a must -- and the dinghy sailors will probably want to use them, too. Bring your trapeze harness if you have a boat that uses trapezes. Bring anything you would normally bring to cover all sailing conditions, sunny, windy, cold, hot, rainy. Another must is strong sunblock -- you will be spending a lot of time on the water. For the briefings and lectures, you will need pen and notebook.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING FOR MY BOAT?
Your boat will be put through at least a season's worth of work, just as you will, so bring any spare parts and tools that you think you could possibly need. You may want to bring extra telltales for your sails to apply after you get here, in case your current ones are not in the proper positions. And don't forget the duct tape. If you have new sails and old sails, bring the old sails. This is not a speed contest -- save the good sails for the REAL races.
WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF BOATS YOU ALLOW FOR A SEMINAR?
For catamarans we limit it to 20 boats. For Sunfish and Lasers, the top limit is 30 boats.
ARE YOUR SEMINARS LIMITED TO A SPECIFIC TYPE OF BOAT, I.E., SPECIFIC CLASSES OF CATAMARANS OR MONOHULLS?
The catamaran seminars are open to all classes of catamaran, 21 feet and under. The monohull classes are limited only to the extent that we would like similar types of boats together, For instance, the Laser seminars are open to all varieties of Laser plus Sunfish, Force 5's and other similar boats. A seminar designated primarily for Sunfish is likewise open to all those boats.
CAN YOU BRING YOUR SEMINAR TO OUR AREA?
Yes, we would love to. Call or write for information.
IS THERE ANY BENEFIT TO TAKING THE SEMINAR AGAIN?
You will actually benefit more the second time you take it than you did the first time, beacause you will be able to take even fuller advantage of the drills and use them more efficiently to achieve your particular sailing goals. We have had many repeat students, and they just keep getting better and better.
WHAT IS THE COST OF THE SEMINAR AND WHAT DOES IT INCLUDE?
The cost of the seminar includes the course, room (double occ.) for five nights, all meals from Sunday dinner through Friday lunch, all taxes and tips. And it is only $745 for the week. If you are a local and wish to provide your own room and food, we do have another price for that, however even if you are a local and/or could arrange for food and lodging elsewhere, we highly recommend that you eat all or some of the meals with the group -- it is a very important part of the whole seminar experience.
Back to Rick White's Sailing Seminars