2018 Ulster Canoe Festival (UCF)saw one of the best turn out of open canoeists to date with paddles of all abilities and from all over the island and UK. Based at the Share Discovery Village Centre on Lough Erne, a wide variety of skill sessions were delivered by as wide a range of coaches. My sessions: 1 where I introduced 10 young paddlers to the North American North Canoe, giving them a short living history experience of the origin of such canoes. Then I had 3 sessions of sailing. Apart from sailing skills, one of my main goals for my sessions was to introduce paddlers to a wide range of home made sails and rigs. While we had some more complex rigs set up and also commercial systems, my main focus was "keeping It Simple & Safe" (KISS). All my rigs are self made, and mostly assembled by fast fit bungee toggles or quick knots. My improvised working rigs can be put up at sea in less than 2 mins, never having to come a shore to put the rig up. I do have improved rigs where some on shore fitting is needed like lee boards. We also looked at various boat set ups from single boat to multi boats. Multi boat rigs have there risks to manage but they are a great way to control a larger group, stable, fun, keep moral up and if the wind drops, they can be a great way to paddle strong with less effort. Make sure if you use multi you can break them down and recovery them quickly should an swamping occur.
For those paddlers on my sailing sessions, the session crib cards I had are attached below. as promised. So I am looking forwards to seeing you new rigs and remember, practice rescues before sailing of into the sunset. I hope to see you all and many new visitors next year at the UCF dates: (6-8 September 2019)