News from IOCA (UK)
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Welcome to Op-eNews

Issue 15: October 2015

From The Committee

Chairman's Update

IOCA is really a group of parents that have come together to help plan and organise Optimist sailing in the UK. We want to provide opportunities for our sailors to learn to sail and learn to race and then progress to high quality competition, but above all to become passionate, as Optimist sailing is just the start of their sailing story. We want to celebrate our teams and squads without sailors feeling this is the only thing in the class. Our 500 members come from a wide spectrum -  based up and down Great Britain, in established flotillas and in ones just starting, on the sea and inland. Some are just starting their journey in Optimists while others have represented GBR in teams. They are supported by many volunteers – committee members, area reps, flotilla leaders, event co-ordinators, PROs, Jurors and event volunteers. With such a diaspora, it is sometimes hard for the IOCA committee to have polices that please all our sailors, all the time, but I wanted you to know  that we are striving to create policies that are in the best interests of the class as a whole.

IOCA Committee 2015/16

Jay Williamson - Bowmoor - South West
Mark Lyttle - Bowmoor - South East/West
Vice Chair
Richard Baker - Weir Wood - South East
Andrew Taylor - Blackwater - South East
Andy Felton - Staunton H - Midlands
Sailing Sec
Jenny Lance - HISC - South East
Magdalena Ietswaart - Loch Venachar - Scotland
Catriona Green - HISC - South East
Victor Brellisford - Corinthian - East
Judy Warburton - Loch Venacher - Scotland
Rob Thomas - Burghfield - South
Christine Spreiter - Nairn/Lymington - South
Chris Evans - Gunard - South


Teams Officer – overall co-ordinator for teams and appoints parents to lead each team.
Sailing Secretary – overall co-ordination of sailing activities and appoints Event Co-ordinators for each event.
We could always have more Event co-ordinators and the existing teams in the Race Office, Results, Prizes, Safety Control, Beach and Race Management could always do with “new blood” to support their work and ensure our events continue to run smoothly.
Finally I would like to thank Justine, our editor, as this will be her last newsletter. We are looking for a new commissioning editor to work alongside Andy Utting, who produces the newsletter.
If you are interested in any of these volunteer roles, please email John Perham

Dates For Your Diary

10th & 11th October 2015


Main, Transition and Regatta Fleets
Entry now open
Closing date 4th October

17th October
Datchet Water SC
sign up now

Contact IOCA's Technical Officer,
Victor Brellisford

Team Volvo members of the British Sailing Team including Hannah Diamond will be attending the End of  Seasons to offer support and advise to sailors and to talk about their sailing careers after sailing on the Saturday.

Volunteering De-Mystified

RYA Sail Measurer’s Course – 17th October – 1 day

Support your local clubs and members by measuring equipment & sails and ensuring safety rules are observed
  • Participate with the measurement team at major events to ensure fair competition for all our young sailors
  • Join a friendly group of parents from all over the UK exchanging info and providing input to the technical side of Optimist sailing
Nearly all Optimist Class Measurers are also parents of sailors, so their time in the fleet is limited and they soon move on when their children grow into the next class.
As a result, we currently need to re-build our team of Measurers - there is a shortage right across the country.
Becoming a Measurer provides a fascinating insight into the technical side of the sailing world.
Also you can quickly convert your knowledge of measuring Optimist sails to enable you to measure sails for other classes too.
During the winter IOCA will also be running a day-long Technical Course to cover measurement of equipment such as spars, foils and other items.
Once you have completed both the RYA and the IOCA courses, you will be added to the RYA’s list of Approved ISAF International Class Measurers and you can start to provide an essential service to the sailors to ensure fairness in the racing and compliance with our safety rules.
If this seems like something you would enjoy, please contact IOCA Technical Officer, Victor Brellisford here

News & Reviews

The British National Champs.

 By Jamie Cook
The nationals took place on the 25th-31st of July. Over 400 boats came to complete in all fleets.
 The new format for the nationals was much more relaxing considering we didn't have to worry about our ranking positions. This meant we could focus on the whole event rather than constantly thinking about the first two days and we could fit more races into the gold and silver split. It was also great as we could have a rest day on the Wednesday!
 Lots of sailors from different countries came to join us at the British nationals even sailors from as far as New Zealand. However this did make the competition a load harder! It gave us a chance to meet new people and even swap kit.
 Measuring and registering was very simple (definitely easier than the Europeans championships!). The new centre was amazing! It has everything a sailing club needs and it's massive.
 The first day started with rain, wind and mist, sadly that's also how it ended. We didn't manage to sail and ended up waiting on the beach getting soaked by the downpour.
 The second day looked a lot more promising. We launched on time and sailed three races in 15 knots in a sea state that resembled a washing machine. After the first day of racing I was placed 2nd overall. It's was a good day apart from getting measured on the water in all three races!
 On the third day the race committee got four races in the bag. They were still playing catchup from the first day which we didn't sail on. It was an extremely tough day as the wind was strong for most of the day but easing in the last race. At least we got in before the Seniors who had a long sail back to the shore under a big, dark windy and rainy cloud. I was now placed 3rd overall as Elizabeth had overtaken me. Richard from Malta was still in the lead.
 The rest day! Finally we could have a break, so what a better way to spend it than climbing tree tops and zip wiring from tree to tree. But of course it's Wales, so it rained.
 As the fifth day came it was back to the serious stuff. With the competition now split into gold and silver, the the fleet was harder to sail against. My day started well with a first, then it got a bit worse. But it seemed nobody had an amazing day either so I stayed roughly in the same place.
 The last day was really close for the Brits however Richard from Malta seemed unstoppable at the front, and he's only ten! Apart from one big mistake, I managed to bag a few good races and finish second overall in the open championship and first British sailor. It was a nice way to end may time in the junior fleet.
 Congratulations to Rhys Lewis who was first British in the senior fleet, this was great because we are both coached during training and supported at events by Nick Sawyer (Cardiff Bay Yacht Club), Welsh Yachting Association, Sarah & Kate Williams, who is leaving us to have twins! and the GBR Optimist National Squad. It was a nice week for them too.
 Overall the event was amazing. Thanks to everyone who helped run the nationals. See you in Largs.

Class Connections

Event support to New-comers 29er at GP events

On a trial basis we are going to offer event support for new-comers to the 29er fleet at the autumn GPs. This will start on a trial basis on the Saturday only of the Poole GP and if successful we will consider rolling this out at future events.
Alice Masterman - 29er former National Youth Squad member and former Ladies 29er National Champion - will be available for the following during Saturday;
·         Morning briefing
·         Boat park help to rig/set up
·         On water support
·         Post racing de-briefing
We define new-comers as sailors that have not entered a 29er GP event or Nationals before 1/1/2015. If you have entered a GP event before that date please email the chairman and sailing secretary and they will consider each case on merit. This is a limited resource and we are unsure of the demand we will get so please bear with us but we hope to be able to assist all the new-comers that wish to benefit from this.
Alice will be on the water on a safety RIB and we will do our best to ensure she has time between races to talk to sailors. As we are using a safety RIB not a dedicated coach RIB there is a chance she may be called for assistance away from the coaching group. However, we will do what we can to ensure that the time can be dedicated to the Newcomers group as much as possible.
Note this event support involves assistance onshore, between races and afterwards. There will be no coaching during races whatsoever.
The cost will be £10 per boat for the day we are offering 10 places initially.
You can sign up for this here

Clubs & Flotillas

Chichester Harbour Race Week

by Raulf Berry
 Over the summer holidays all the clubs in Chichester harbour came together at HISC to hold their annual race week. There were three fleets A, B and C, I was in C fleet which was made up of Tera Pros, Toppers, Tera Sports and Optimists. There was a small optimist fleet of 11 but it was close racing at the front and also a great experience for those throughout the fleet. Oppie sailors were also out learning some new skills in Fevas.
 The optimst racing was great fun but it was also awesome seeing all the moths whizzing around the harbour and the 49ers zooming down wind (something to look forward to in the future!)
 I was really happy that I won my first bit of silverware! But I hope more oppies come and join the fun next year. It's a great week.

IOCA Team Reports

Euros Report

By Rhys Lewis
I was lucky enough to qualify to represent GBR in the European Championships this year. They were held in Pwllheli in July, the first time we had hosted a major international regatta for a very long time. It was also the first event to be held in Plas Heli, the new centre. There were still a few things to be finished but the event was still run very well. I was part of the team with Jamie, Ollie, Arthur, Drew, Cossie, Hattie and Adele. The pre-event coaching with Tom was great fun and we were well looked after by Amy.
The conditions were quite variable. Some of the early days were quite windy and the sea as very choppy. There were also a few lighter, shifty days which mixed up the results a lot. The competition was very strong as the event is open to any country that wants to send a team which brought a lot of countries from outside of Europe. The heavier conditions brought a few great results from Team GBR, especially from Rory who lead the regatta for a day.
Overall, the event was a great experience and it was a really enjoyable team to be part of. I finished 10th  and 7th  European after a slightly disappointing last day which dropped me from 6th and 3rd  European. Despite this I was really happy with my performance and overall position. Ollie, Arthur, Rory and Manny all made gold in the boys which was a very good
performance in a difficult fleet. In the girls, Cossie and Ellen both made the top 20 and Adele and Hattie also finished in gold. Hannah won the silver fleet as well which was a great result.

Flanders 2015 Team, Nieuwpoort

By Barty Gray
We arrived in Nieuwpoort quite late as there were lots of delays on the euro tunnel and on the roads in the UK - it was a really easy journey from Calais to Nieuwpoort    I was sharing a house with Tom Dawson and James Foster - it was a really cool house and had a football pitch behind.  The rest of the team, Callum Davidson-Guild, Will Pank and Archie Leckie,  were in the house next door and Henry Chandler was in his camper at the sailing club.  The first morning we arrived at the club and registered and then watched the opening ceremony - where they rang an enormous bell! We went out sailing - we had to be towed up the estuary and out to the sailing area.  It was really surprising how fast the water flowed at the estuary entrance. We did a couple of races and then got towed in.  That evening we all ate together which was great fun.  The next day there wasn't much wind and when we got out to the race area the sky was black.  Then the thunder and lightening started... So we came in - no more sailing for the day. We met up with the worlds team and went to a water park.  We then went back home, ate and then played 'Hello Harry'.  Day 3 was a very hot day and we sailed 2 races.  At the end of this day we were then split into gold and silver fleets - everyone in the team managed to get into the gold fleet which was great.  We all went to the BBQ that evening which had an enormous amount of food to choose from.  Day 4 was a much rougher day and not my best! The highlight was taking the tram into town where there was a music festival and we had a debrief whilst eating enormous ice creams.  Day 5 - the final day - was too rough to sail - so we hung around waiting for the decision and then packed up our boats.  We all attended the prize giving and then jumped in the car and headed to the euro tunnel and back on the UK roads which were again - awful!

GBR Junior Irish Nationals Team - Lymington Training

By Emily Mueller GBR 6304
The Junior Irish Nationals team had our training session at the Lymington Optimist Open in June. I was excited to meet the coaches and my teammates and to feel like I was part of a GBR squad.
The conditions in Lymington are challenging so the coaches’ advice about the tidal conditions in the Solent and the conditions forecast for the day proved very helpful. It was a tough day on the water on Saturday, with winds averaging 22 knots. All 76 sailors in the main fleet realised how much an effect the tide had on the racing, even in this much wind, and that sailing as close to shore as possible was the best solution because the tide was going with the wind. By the end of the day, about 40 sailors had retired due to the tiring conditions.
On Sunday, however, the wind was very light. We all had to have a completely different mindset.  The tide also had a big effect on Sunday’s racing, but was mostly flowing from the side of the course, so the coaches talked about how the laylines would be different than normal.
I am really looking forward to competing at the Irish Nationals in August and I hope it will be a great experience!

Globe Trotting

U.S Nationals 2015

by Emily Mueller
This summer I sailed in the U.S. Nationals in Pensacola, Florida. There were 300 competitors in one fleet as they don't split into junior and senior.  It was a very exciting regatta with lightning, tornado warnings, 100 degree f heat, and windy and wavy racing conditions. Every morning except the last day we had postponements until the sea breeze kicked in at around 1-2 o'clock. To keep everyone entertained, the organisers set up bingo! The second day's racing ended early due to a huge storm which caused a 300 person open redress hearing the next morning. The judges won but it was a very interesting experience as anyone could contribute. On the last day to make up for all the lost sailing time, we launched at 7:30 am. I qualified for gold fleet and finished 60th overall.

Competing Abroad For The First Time

By Justine Wolgram
 If you have ever fancied venturing abroad to compete in one of the multitude of international Optimist regattas around the world and combining this with a family holiday, then look no further, the French Nationals has it all and makes an ideal choice for your child's first international regatta.
 The French Nationals known as 'La Coupe Internationale d'été' usually takes place in July in Brittany just a short hop across the English Channel (although occasionally on some years requires a slighter longer drive down to Bordeaux) and has a very relaxed family atmosphere.  Well-equipped French camp sites, of which many have restaurants, family entertainment and swimming pools, and more often than not, glorious hot French summer sunshine add to the relaxed holiday feel of this 5-day regatta. Races are scheduled for a very civilised post-lunch-time start each day to allow for a lie-in after an evening of BBQs and socialising with other sailors at your campsite, or you can get up early for a swim or freshly baked, delicious, hot croissants from the local Boulangerie.
 The 5-day regatta is broken up with a 'day-off' midweek when you and your family get a chance to explore the region or relax on holiday.  For those sailors keen on getting lots of time on the water, there's an opportunity to try out team-racing on the lay day, as teams of 4 Optimists compete against one another in a multitude of races.
 However, the relaxed family atmosphere doesn't detract from the quality of the racing and the standard is similar to that of the British Nationals and so be prepared for your child to be challenged on the race course, although the junior fleet in France only accepts sailors up to the age of 12 rather than 13 like in Britain. 
 In 2015, between the 13th and 18th July, 7 British juniors and 9 seniors travelled to Plérin to compete in the French Nationals, and 4 of these juniors also competed in the team-racing in 'Team Rosbif'.  As safety cover at this event is much looser than at the British IOCA events, families either teamed up with international coaches offering coaching support, or parents clubbed together to share event-support ribs towed over from the UK.  With 7 of these families all opting to stay together on the same campsite, there was lots of social fun to be had.  Here's what some of the sailors had to say when asked what they enjoyed most about their trip to France:
 "Winning and the BBQs at the campsite" Kai Wolgram - junior fleet
"The Campsite" India Page-Wood - senior fleet
"Swimming in the campsite swimming pool" Julia Staite - senior fleet
"Staying in bed and the 2pm starts". Kuba Staite - junior fleet
"The Circus trampoline" Sam Dickenson - junior fleet
"Coming 3rd in one of the races" Fin Dickenson - senior fleet
"Coming 1st in the first race" Will Pank - senior fleet
"Making new friends". Jess Wood - senior fleet
"Buying a new burgee" Grace Pank - junior fleet
"Meeting new people and making new friends" Bruno Nicholas - junior fleet
 Congratulations to all of the British sailors who took part and in particular to the following sailors who all achieved top 10 positions in a fleet of 84 juniors:  Kai Wolgram 1st, Nicklas Host-Verbraak 7th, Hector Bennett 10th

Hints, Tips & Competitions

Coach's Corner: Event a Preparation

By Tom Hayes, IOCA National Squad Coach
A couple of months before:
•Look at where the venue is, if you haven’t sailed there ask others who have what the conditions are like. Try and train at the event before hand or if you cannot find somewhere closer to home with similar conditions. 
•Get Mum and Dad to book some accommodation. 
A week before: 
•Go through you boat, bow to stern. Remember you boat is your weapon, use it to your advantage. 
•Make sure no sail ties are missing and they are all legal (max 10mm). 
•Especially check areas that are under a lot of load, diagonal tie, sprit halyard, kicker. If it looks frayed, replace it!
•Make sure you foils are in good conditions, with no chips or dents especially the trailing edge. 
•Check to make sure you extension joint is in perfect condition. 
•You are always growing so check your toestraps are still set up correct. 
•Clean your boat with some warm soapy water, make sure there are no scratches or chips. If there is, fill them. 
•Make sure you have the correct measurement documents for the equipment you plan to use and remember to check your buoyancy certificate is still in date. 
•Start to think about what you are eating. Lots of healthy meals that are high in carbohydrates to give you plenty of energy. 
•Read the Sailing Instructions, even if you think you know what they will say. Highlight areas that are different or you’re unsure about so you can ask the race officer at the briefing. 
•Pack you kit bag. Make a checklist to tick off, that way you cannot forget anything. 
3 days before: 
•Check the weather forecast. There is no point doing this earlier as they can only predict the weather to an accuracy of 3 days. Keep checking all the way up to the first start as the weather constantly changes. Some good weather sources are: windguru and xc weather. Also check windy ty an excellent website showing you the big picture that uses live recordings and simulations. Use surface pressure charts so you can get a better understanding of what is going on. If you know there is a low pressure system coming through because you have checked the synoptic chart remember to look for a line of dark clouds that will bring an increase in breeze and rain. 
Met Office - Surface Pressure Charts

•Look at Google Earth and then overlay the wind direction so you can start to see if any features will influence your racing. If you keep a training diary and have sailed there before, look back in that to familiarise yourself with any trends and features. 
•If the venue is tidal. Check out what time high and low water are and which way it will be flowing so you can work out danger areas around the course. 
•Make sure your mum and dad no where they are going! 
•Sleep. Make sure you get enough. Both before and during the event.

On the Day 
 •Try and arrive at the venue early so you have enough time to tune your boat. 
 •Go to the briefing and check the weather forecast because they get more accurate with each day. 
 •Launch with enough time to do your pre start routine. You do not need to be first on the water, as you will just waste energy and get cold.
IOCA would love to hear your news to share with it's members.  Please continue to send your articles, photos, poems or news stories to us here

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