Op-eNews: the bi-monthly newsletter from IOCA (UK)
Welcome to Op-eNews
Issue 13: May 2015
From The Committee
GILL are proud to be the Title Sponsor of the Optimist Class for the fifth consequitive year.

Simply enter IOCA15 at the Checkout when purchasing products online at gillmarine.com
Chairman's Update
At this time of year we say 'Goodbye' to some of our older sailors who attend the Selections and Inlands as their last events in the Optimist class. 

Thanks to our Volunteers!

Sailing is a volunteer-based sport where up and down the country, volunteers are organising club racing, training and local regattas, and of course, the Optimist class is no different.  Flotilla leaders, with their teams and helpers, are working hard on their Spring and Summer programmes, providing opportunities for our members to train and race locally within their regions.  My thanks to all those volunteers.

Sometimes it is too easy to forget the hard work of our Optimist volunteers.  Take this newsletter - the fifth one since August; always high quality and interesting, with articles prepared by sailors, parents and others.  It only happens due to work behind the scenes, in this case, Justine Wolgram, Gillian Schonrock and Michelle Gent.

As many of you know, IOCA organises six (soon to be seven) major events each year, and based on the feedback in our survey from the End of Seasons 2014, the vast majority of you attending were 'very satisfied' indeed with the quality of the events.  The effort in organising these is immense and often goes unnoticed by those attending.  Oliver Schonrock, IOCA's Sailing Secretary, has been leading a team to revamp the way we organise events by appointing Event Co-ordinators, standardising our approach and where possible, simplifying the way we do things.  The long hours from Oliver and his team is, I believe, starting to bear fruit. 

Over the last year, we have had several Event Co-ordinators, who have built strong teams around them - Andy Felton at the EOS, Catherine Roberts-Straw at the Winters, Chris Evans at the Springs, Simon Cook at the Selections, Rob Thomas at the Inlands - Gillian Schonrock has volunteered to do the Nationals having previously been the Regatta Fleet Co-ordinator and Lee Young has just taken on the new Late Summer Champs.

At the Inlands, we are trying self-registration, in part-response to feedback from members about volunteer roles they want (or don't want) at these events.  At some recent events we have not had beach volunteers on the basis that most parents around 'muck in' and help anyway. 

I would like to thank Oliver, in particular, for his selfless work in guiding these changes and of course, the Event Co-ordinators and their teams in planning and organising the events, and all the volunteers both on and off the water at events.

It is all these volunteers that make our sport work.  While I understand that not everyone has the time to help with organising events, everyone can and should think about the volunteers who do organise them, for without them, there would be no events.

Congratulations to all of the sailors who gained GBR team places at the Selection trials, and we would like to wish those sailors who are leaving the class all the best of luck for their transition into their next class this summer.

Many thanks


Mark Lyttle
IOCA Chairman
Membership Matters
For sailors awaiting delivery of their 2015 IOCA membership packs, these will be available for collection from the race office at the Inlands and all future IOCA events.
Dates For
Your Diary

The buttons link you
directly with the event website
Optimist 4 Boat Team Racing
23rd - 25th May 2015
Cardiff Bay YC
Enter the event with your friends as a team of 4 sailors or as an individual and meet new friends as Cardiff Bay YC team you up with other Optimist sailors from around the UK. 

Team racing is not only fun but is utilised on the IOCA squads as it gives sailors a greater understanding of tactics, strategy and rules knowledge. Even if you haven't team raced before, give it a try and enjoy a new, fast and exciting way of racing your Optimist.
Registration is now open!
Register Here
British Optimist Nationals
25th - 31st July 2015
Pwllheli SC
Entry for the Optimist Nationals
is now open!
Register Here
Pre-event Volunteers Needed
IOCA please needs your help in organising the Nationals.  Whilst volunteers are needed during the event, there is also a lot you can do to help in the months leading up to the Nationals and IOCA is looking for volunteers to fill the following roles:
Neither role requires any sailing/previous experience. If you are interested in any of these roles and can offer your help please contact the Event Co-Ordinator, Gillian Schonrock  email: gillian@schonrocks.com
Late Summer Ranking Event
5th & 6th September
Draycote Water SC
Help with IOCA Membership

IOCA is urgently looking for a volunteer to help process membership applications and pack and post membership packs for both new members joining the class and existing members who renew their membership annually.  If you can offer your help with this role, please contact admin@optimist.org.uk
Volunteering De-Mystified
The Role of the IOCA Area Representative
by Gwen Harkess

Volunteers at events play a huge role in oppy sailing but equally important is the role of the IOCA area representatives working throughout the year, organising training and promoting the growth of oppy sailing at clubs and encouraging the development of new oppy flotillas.

If you want to support young sailors and get a fantastic insight into the wonderful world of oppy sailing then working as an IOCA Area Rep could be for you.  The role includes compiling newsletters, organizing training in your region and in some of the regions, running an Area Championship once a year. You will get to meet with class captains, coaches and the RYA High Performance Managers.  More importantly you will be the first port of call for oppy families needing help and advice in your region. There is nothing better than to follow your region’s sailors as they take their first steps in competitive racing, moving into RYA zone squads with your encouragement and then climb up the rankings and into National, Intermediate and Development Squads.

IOCA is currently looking for an Area Representative for the Welsh region.  If you are interested then please contact IOCA's Development Officer, Michelle Gent to find out more development@optimist.org.uk.
News & Reviews
2015 GBR Optimist Team Selection Trials
Seventy seven of the highest ranked sailors were invited to compete at the 2015 GBR Optimist Team Selection Trials at Weymouth from the 1st to the 4th May. 

The format this year was a 12 race series over 4 days with 1 discard and a change to on the water support from previous years as sailors were each allocated event support to one of six dedicated support ribs to encourage sailor independence.

Congratulations to the sailors selected for the following 2015 GBR Optimist Teams:

Worlds Team (Poland)

Vita Heathcote,  Matt Beck,  Julia Mellers,  William Hall,  Milly Boyle

Europeans Team (Pwllheli)
Hattie Rogers,  Cossie Lewis,  Adele Young,  Drew Wright,  Rhys Lewis,  Jamie Cook,  Oliver Hill,  Arthur Fry

Development Team (Pwllheli)
William Heathcote,  Johnny Thompson,  Rory Harper,  Callum Cook,  Ellen Main,  Elizabeth Beardsall,  Hannah Roberts-Straw,  Emily Hall

Flanders Team (Nieuwpoort)
Henry Chandler, Archie Leckie, William Pank, Haydn Sewell, Thomas Dawson, Barty Gray, James Foster

click on this link to see the full report of the Selection Trials by Alan Williams in Yachts & Yachting

Winter Training With the Intermediate Squad
by Lizzie Beardsall
This year I was lucky enough to secure a place to train over the winter with the Intermediate squad. We covered a vast syllabus on land and the water, enjoying more than our usual ration of windy days! The aspects that I found most enjoyable were the variety of different exercises we did, you were never allowed to get bored doing same old exercise. Our main coaches this year were, Will(iam) the head coach, Laurie and Robbie who travelled all the way from Scotland, and James who was only there for some of the weekends.

Our first squad session was residential with 4 days in Pwllheli, in north Wales. The first day was our land day, where we had our snack bags inspected, and our fitness measured. This venue was on the sea; it was very windy and we also got big waves, our first real challenge which everyone seemed to enjoy! Fortunately the wind was up for the next 3 days; this did not faze the coaches who got us out on the water by sending half the squad out with all the ribs to see if the big sailors survived, and then the second half joined them. I really enjoyed the strong winds and I am glad the coaches got us out there; great for my confidence. I found that it was good that our first squad session was a residential, it really helped to make some new friends and being together for 4 days you get to know them even better.

Joint squad training weekend at Weymouth (GBR National, Intermediate and IOCA Development Squads) - March 2015
The winter programme has prepared me in many different ways; we have worked on all aspects of racing, the all-important start, first beat, mark roundings, speed work and tactics/strategy. For the last squad session in March, all of the squads, development, intermediate and national were summoned to Weymouth (see photo). The coaches ran this weekend like a mini regatta, helping me to get used to sailing with more boats on the start line and up against more competitive racers!

After visiting many locations with the squad I think my favourite sailing venue is probably Weymouth, they have training rooms to do the briefings in, there is a hanger there to work on boats and do fitness in, also two concrete slipways. On the water, there are sheltered places but there is also the open sea.

I really enjoyed the residential weekends because we could make the most of the time we are there for. However you have to be more organised and look after you own kit, make sure it is dry and nothing gets lost (this is where parents can be quite useful!). There was lots of time in the evenings for socialising (and messing about) even if the coaches always wanted to show us just one more power-point slide show! In the evenings we were often given a choice of activities, although after a hard day’s sailing we would just go to bed early! Also the meals were good, but the coaches did monitor what was on the menu – no bacon rolls and only limited chocolate!

I think the coaching was very good and I really enjoyed being part of the intermediate squad this winter, and now I am all set for the seasons racing ahead of me.
Welsh Junior & Youth Championships 2015
Pwllheli SC hosted the 2015 Welsh Junior & Youth Championships on a blustery weekend at the end of April.  Junior sailors from across Wales raced in Optimists, Toppers, 29ers and Lasers for the Welsh Championship title.  Congratulations to Ciaron Jones the 2015 Welsh Junior & Youth Optimist Champion and Callum Davidson-Guild, who won the junior fleet title.
Summer Sailing & Family Fun
IOCA has compiled a list of just a handful of the summer sailing regattas around the country where Optimist sailors can join in with other family members for some family sailing fun this summer:
Abersoch Dinghy Week  26th-31st July 2015
South Caernarvonshire YC, Abersoch, Gwynedd

Over 250 sailors attended Abersoch Dinghy Week in 2014 in 13 fleets, with 30 sailors competing in the Optimist fleet.  This year in 2015, due to the clash of dates with the Optimist Nationals, there won't be any Optimist racing, but sailors from the age of 7 who are just starting out in Optimists and learning to sail or race are welcome to join in the beginner training organised by the club during this fun family regatta week.  So, whilst older siblings race at the Nationals in Pwllheli, younger siblings can get their first taste of sailing Optimists just a few miles down the road, whilst mum and dad race their favourite dinghy.
Alderburgh Junior & Youth Regatta  18th-21st August 2015
Alderburgh YC, Suffolk

Alderburgh Youth Week is the largest junior sailing competition on the East coast attracting around 200 sailors competing in 29ers, Lasers, Topaz, RS Fevas, Picos, Toppers and of course Optimists.  Skill levels range from novice racers through to members of National squads and all capabilities are welcomed.
Junior Camel Week  beginning of August 2015
Rock Sailing & Water Ski Club, Wadebridge, Cornwall

An annual youth sailing regatta and a really fun seaside holiday week with daily fun racing for junior sailors.  With just one race a day there's plenty of time for beach games and other watersports.  The regatta attracts a big fleet of both novice and experienced sailors.  As well as competitive sailing over 5 days there is a BBQ, disco and beach games.  Race training is also available for those new to racing.
Parkstone Youth Week
Parkstone Youth Week  9th-14th August 2015
Parkstone YC, Poole, Dorset

This is a fantastic week, which combines great racing in the morning with Water Wars, climbing walls, BBQ, crabbing, Splashdown and a grand finale party on the Friday.  The Optimist fleet is split into Gold, Silver and Bronze, giving sailors a chance to sail at their level.  Age range 6-17, open to non-members.  Entry is due to open on 15th May. 
Clubs & Flotillas
North East Optimists' initiation of the Sea
by David Shilling
The North East Optimists took to the sea at the end of April at South Shields to take in some tide and wave training.  Conditions were wild on Saturday out at sea and having 'given it a go', it was decided to retreat to shelter inside the shields and concentrate on the effects of tide.  There were some great comments like "the marks are drifting" and in an easing wind the difference in getting the tide right or wrong was very easy to see.

Sunday brought blue skies, a gentle rolling sea and a light but decent breeze so it was out to sea for the whole day.  The morning session was interrupted by a pod of about 8-12 dolphins (very difficult to count!) who came right up close to some of the Optimist sailors giving them an experience they won’t forget.  Once the visitors left it was back to wave techniques in near perfect conditions.

Before the event some of the younger sailors had reservations about sailing on the sea but having given it a go these reservations are all but gone.  Everyone finished the weekend with a better understanding of the sea, what tides do and how to sail up waves and how to surf down them.  The event was run by Pete and Tom Clayton who had been coaching the squads through the winter training.
MOT Sailors compete at the Grafham Easter Egg
by Zoe Felton

After a hard winter's training, 8 Midland sailors with a wide range of abilities ventured to Grafham for the first ever Easter Egg Regatta.  With the first race at midday on Good Friday, it set the feeling for a great relaxed weekend.  Smiling faces were on show, hugs for friends not seen for a while.  Boats were rigged for light winds, a nice start for the younger sailors.
Hazel McDonnell had a nice surprise, winning the first regatta fleet race.  With the wind constantly dropping, the second race became harder and harder work.  Chloe Felton, as one of larger sailors, proved that it is more about sailing the boat well and finding the wind than size, finishing first.  Jacob Felton also had a good race achieving a 7th and Kamran Ewbank had a nice social outing with his North Zone pals!  Boats were then sent to shore to wait for the wind to fill in which picked up slightly acoompanied by drizzle so Race Officer, Peter Saxton made a welcome decision to abandon racing.

After derigging and changing, fun and games began and new friends were made.  Thanks to Gillian for all her hard work there and the other parents who joined in to help.  It all started with piggy back and wheelbarrow races, moving onto balloon wars with more civilised games indoors, with even the teenagers and a few parents joining in!

Saturday was a little windier than expected making some of the younger sailors a bit daunted  Thankfully it had started dropping off by the time the sailors launched, but it was still windy for the smaller sailors and for one of the Midland regatta sailors, Kieran Bray who still gave the second race a go.  His sister Aimee was glad for the last Midland Oppie training where she'd persevered in the strong wind despite being scared.  Tara Ewbank also managed all races despite only learning to sail last year - still wearing the shark on her buoyancy aid from mini racers!

The wind dropped throughout the day.  Regatta fleet got 3 races in whilst main fleet managed to get the full complement in.  Chloe Felton won the first race of the day and there was a battle in the middle of the fleet between the other 3 Midland sailors.  Jacob proved that going left paid in the first race finishing 10th, with Millie Irish getting a 9th in the final race.  Kamran had a more competitive day, in the thick of the action pulling in a 15th.
Richard Baker, Peter Saxton and the team from Grafham put on a really good event with the right balance between racing and social, and an equal importance between the 2 fleets.  The Midland sailors did well - Kieran, Aimee, Tara and Hazel were all awarded spot prizes and Chloe won the event.
Royal Harwich hosts the Oppies in the spring sun
by Antony Gifford

After an absence of many years (or perhaps decades?) the Optimist Class returned to Royal Harwich YC in sunny Suffolk on April 18th.  Twenty three boats showed up, 5 local and 18 visitors with travellers from as distant as Northampton, Upper Thames and Burghfield, to enjoy an excellent five race series in a chilly north easterly breeze.  

In the end there was no stopping Will Pank, from Norfolk Broads YC, who showed fine judgement and good speed to win all five races in the main fleet.  Behind Will was a tough battle between three fellow Eastern Zone squad members, Josh Means (Horning SC & NBYC), Joey Taylor (Blackwater SC) and Terry Hacker (Hunts SC) and the rapidly improving Madison Allen (Dabchicks).  They finished in that order except for Madison narrowly pipping Terry to get in amongst the squad members in the overall results.  First of the home fleet was James Gifford, finishing with a fine second place in the last race to raise him to 7th overall.

Starting five minutes later than the main fleet was a seven boat regatta fleet with on the water coaching from Tom Stewart.  With a bit of encouragement and nurturing the standards in this fleet improved notably over the day.  George Pickering (Blackwater) narrowly pipping Ed Leary (NBYC) and Henry Means (HSC/NBYC) after four tough races in the gusty conditions.

Fourteen of the entrants (with the odd additional sibling) then set off for a 90 minute scavenger hunt in the woods in aid of the RNLI so obviously we had not totally worn them out!
IOCA South West Easter Training
by Rufus Martin GBR 5812

In the Easter Holidays, from the 9th April to the 12th, there was an Optimist training camp that I was part of and found very enjoyable. We were split into two groups, the Main Fleet which consisted of Rufus Martin, Otis Chetwynd-Woods, Charlie Elsby-Hartman & William Laity. And in the Regatta fleet; Ray Howard, Dylan Weir, Anna Utting, Alice Utting and Sam Elsby-Hartman.

For the first two days, the main fleet went out with John Burford and practiced mark-rounding and kiting, whilst the Regatta Fleet were coached by James Grant and practiced the basic skills and mini-racing.
On day three, in the morning the Regatta Fleet ran the demonstration races from the committee boat with Dylan as Race Officer and each Regatta Fleet member rooting for a Main Fleet member like the Grand National! In the afternoon, the two Fleets came together and paired up so one Main Fleet member was with a Regatta Fleet member and coached the Regatta Fleet member around the course - 'Strictly comes sailing'! The winner of the racing was Anna Utting, beating Dylan by one point which all came down to the final race.

On the final day, the regatta fleet went out in the sheltered harbour and practiced tacking, and then came in for an awards ceremony where everyone received some Oppie-related Prizes.

A HUGE thank you to Tony for organising it and to all the Mums and Dads who cooked lunch whilst we were out in the water and helped their children out and brought them down.
IOCA Team Reports
Easter Regatta 2015 - Braassemermeer, Holland
by Nicklas Host-Verbraak

I was very excited to be selected for the first time for the British team to go to the Easter Regatta in Holland. I heard that the regatta was often cold, but the racing very good. Also, my father is from Holland and so I knew they have great pancakes and stroopwafels. Yum.

When we arrived, the first days of training were super windy. Too windy for me. I was on the coach boat and I was freezing. I now know, I don’t want to be a coach, ever. When the regatta started, the weather became sunny and the winds dropped a bit. The sailing club was very nice and there were sailors from all different countries; France, Norway, Sweden, Finland, USA, The Netherlands, Belgium, Estonia, you name it. Amazing. With the British squad we were the biggest team outside Holland.

The racing was very difficult. The winds were very shifty and there were a lot of black flag starts. I didn’t have very good starts in the first two days, but then I did better. Also, I learned how to spot the wind patches on the water, and what to do with the windshifts. The biggest lesson I learned is that even if you have a bad start you have to keep going. You can gain place all the way to the finish.

Hattie Rogers was best Brit. She got a sixth place and she was third girl, wow! At the end of the regatta we all got a really cool hoodie, which I am now wearing all the time. I can’t wait to go back next year!
IOCA wishes congratulations to the following British sailors who achieved GOLD fleet positions at the 2015 Magic Marine Easter Regatta:

Hattie Rogers 7th,  Archie Leckie 23rd,  Haydn Sewell 26th,  Adele Young 33rd,  Arthur Fry 35th,  Drew Wright 39th,  Jamie Cook 43rd,  Julia Mellers 45th,  James Foster 46th,  Johnny Thompson 48th,  Harris Cartwright 49th,  William Pank 53rd,  Matt Beck 58th,  Barty Gray 62nd,  Jack Lucas-Clements 66th, Henry Chandler 68th,  Matthew Hardie 69th
Globe Trotting
by Sian Talbot

My first international regatta with Dan, Rachel, Ellie and Dotty (plus rescue Dads: Jim & Paul) was at Lake Garda at Easter.  There were snow-capped mountains, blue skies, sunshine and freezing lake water.  The opening ceremony preceded ~800 excited sailors parading through Riva, waving national flags.

Day 1:  We rigged for light wind forecasts but strong afternoon winds caused many to retire.  The first rib I approached for help spoke only Russian!  It was really daunting.

Day 2:  This was still challenging, with high waves and strong gusts.  We rarely saw each other, divided across five fleets on the course.  The qualifying series completed on an awesome third day, before allocation to final series fleets for Day 4 where we finished 85th (Dan-Silver); 87th & 110th (Rachel / Ellie - Bronze); 2nd & 23rd (myself / Dotty - Pearl).

My highlights - celebrating with friends, pizzas, ice-cream, and the chocolate festival!!
IOCA wishes congratulations to the following British sailors who achieved GOLD fleet positions at the 33rd Lake Garda Meeting Optimist Class:

Juniore Gold Fleet

Rhys Lewis 22nd, Milly Boyle 29th, Vita Heathcote 46th, Charlotte Boyle 51st, William Heathcote 65th,  William Hall 73rd,  Ciaron Jones 83rd, Hannah Roberts-Straw 127th

Cadetti Gold Fleet
Finn Rogers 30th, Henry Heathcote 55th, Hector Bennett 64th

Optispring 2015  Port Zelande, Holland
23 British Sailors stayed on in Holland after the Easter Regatta at Brassemermeer to compete at Optisprings the following weekend.  Mixed weather conditions were experienced during the light wind training days, the strong winds of the first day of the 2-day regatta followed by moderate winds on the second day thus testing sailors' abilities in a variety of conditions.

Congratulations to the following sailors who achieved top 20 positions:

Hattie Rogers 5th,  Drew Wright 6th,  Matt Beck 10th,  Arthur Fry 13th,  Milly Boyle 14th,  Julia Mellers 16th,  Oliver Hill 20th
Hints, Tips & Competitions
British Nationals T-Shirt Design Competition

How would you like to see your design on the 2015 Nationals T-shirt this year?

It can be as simple or as complicated as you like, though bold, bright designs often work best!  Need some inspiration?  The Regatta Fleet theme this year is 'Hawaiian'

Colours: Max 4 colours (plus black and white).  Please note that the T-shirt this year will be bright blue so designs need to work well with this colour.  You may also draw a design in black that we will print in white.

Size: A4

Please send your designs by email (preferably) to sclonsdale@yahoo.co.uk or by post to 5 Guildown Road, Guildford, GU2 4EW.

But hurry - closing date is 5pm Friday 12th June.
Don't forget to include your name, age and sailing club with your entry.

Protecting your sailing environment
Did you know … one adult Quagga Mussel can produce up to one million larvae in a year which is why it’s so important for boaters to Check Clean Dry boats to stop the spread of alien species?

Did you know … that Killer Shrimp can survive in damp conditions for two weeks which is why it’s so important to dry your sailing equipment and clothing after use?

Did you know … a bow sticker can take 100 years to breakdown in the water if it falls off which is why it’s so important to apply them to a clean, dry surface?

Did you know … an estimated one million birds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die each year from ingestion of and entanglement in marine litter? So let nothing overboard when you’re out on the water.

Did you know … a litre of oil can contaminate a million litres of water? So take care when doing maintenance or filling up your RIB engine.

Did you know … over 80% of all single-use water bottles become litter? Always recycle and better still use a refillable water bottle.
3rd Party Insurance
If you require 3rd Party Insurance for the event please contact our insurance partners Noble Marine directly via the Noble Marine website to complete  the on line proposal form.  

With thanks to all our sponsors and partners for their continued support:

For all the latest information check out:
If you have any questions please contact

Next issue:  July 2015
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