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Issue 12: March 2015

From The Committee

Chairman's Update

As many of you will know, Sharon, our IOCA administrator, has left to take up a new position at Burghfield. I would like to thank Sharon for her hard work on behalf of members and her dedication and commitment to the Optimist Class. We wish her well in her new role. We are in the process of recruiting Sharon’s replacement and I would ask you to bear with us during that process.

I have had a number of queries recently about how the Optimist class is run and decisions and policy are made. The affairs of the class are managed by a committee, elected each year at the AGM, usually at the Nationals. The committee is, of course, made up entirely of volunteers and significant decisions and policy are agreed by the committee (one vote per member, although we have not needed to have a vote so far this year in our four meetings). There are 14 committee members from across the country, of which ten are “officers”, meaning they hold specific roles on the committee. We try to arrive at consensus before meetings using an online collaboration tool and meetings have minutes recorded. It is worth reminding members that the IOCA committee does not select squads or teams. This is done by the independent selectors.

The class is, of course, dependant on many other volunteers helping with specific activities, no more so than in planning and running our events. The British Nationals is our biggest event and last year we had 450 sailors in Weymouth for a great week of sailing. This year we are going to Pwllheli, in North Wales. In order to run an event of the same quality as Weymouth we need some help in planning this event. This planning can be done over the new few months and would require little or no time during the event itself. If you can help, please let me know on chairman@optimist.org.uk

Mark Lyttle
IOCA (UK) Chairman
The 2015 Optimist Europeans Subcommittee is in full swing with event preparations.  However, they are in urgent need of additional volunteers to help with tasks either before or during the event.  

If you would like to be involved please contact David Baddeley 2015 Euros Chairman as soon as possible.
Membership Matters
Please renew your membership for 2015 as soon as possible.
2015 Membership Packs & Boat Stickers

All 2015 memberships paid so far have been processed and the membership packs containing the 2015 boat stickers will be available from the race office at the Spring Championships.  Please collect your new boat stickers and stick to the transom of your Optimist prior to launching.  If you are not attending this event, the pack will be available for collection at all future IOCA events.

Dates for Your Diary

Buttons below take you straight to the event website (opens new window)
Spring Championships...... 28/29 Mar 2015
We urgently need volunteers to assist us with the Spring Championships.  If you are able to help in any way please sign up on the volunteer rota.

For further details please visit the event webpage.
IOCA / Grafham Easter Egg .... 3/4 Apr 2015 ... ENTER HERE
The Grafham Easter Egg
3 - 4 April 2015
Grafham Water SC
GBR Team Selection Trials 01 - 04 May 2015
Inland Championships ..... 16/17 May 2015
2015 Optimist European Championships .....
National Championships ..... 25 - 31 Jul 2015
Rule 42: yellow flags on the start line
by Ant Davey

Doing 2 penalty turns on a busy start line will almost certainly ruin your chances of a top-10 finish. Especially if it’s in the last 30 seconds before the start signal.  When you get to a major regatta, and Appendix P is applied in full, a second flag or third mean you will need to retire from that race.  If you don’t retire after a third flag you will be disqualified from all races in the regatta.  So yellow flags are to be avoided if possible.

This article looks at what judges look for from behind the start line, and how to avoid those yellow flags.
The 2 most common causes of a yellow flag on the start line are sculling and rocking.

Yes, there are specific interpretations of what sculling is and what’s not allowed; you can find these in the ISAF document Interpretations of rule 42, propulsion. Rule 42.1 says ‘…a boat shall compete by using only the wind and water to increase, maintain or decrease her speed.’  That means ANYTHING else that moves you forward OR stops you moving backwards is likely to be illegal.

There are exceptions.  You can scull to get clear of an obstruction that you are touching; but I’ll leave that for the next article about rule 42 on the upwind leg.

When you are above close hauled and stopped or moving slowly, you can scull to get down to a close hauled course.  There is a reason for this. It’s so you can use the wind to propel your boat.  So, if you start to scull down from above close hauled a judge is going to expect to see you get down to close hauled, and will want to see some evidence of sailing, before you do anything else.  If you scull down to close hauled, and then immediately steer forcefully back up to windward, you increase your chances of being penalised.  If you stop sculling before you reach close hauled, drift (or steer) back up towards head to wind, and then start sculling again you increase your chances of being penalised.  The effect of that will be to maintain your position, by stopping you moving backwards.  And that breaks rule 42.
Once you at close hauled…

Sculling will propel your boat.  ISAF guidelines for Optimists suggest that we judges must see 2 significant rudder movements below close hauled before we use the yellow flag.  So there is a margin for error, but not much.

When one hand is on your boom…
Your other hand should be still; or almost.  When you are backing your mainsail, you are not allowed to scull to offset any steering effect.  You can move your tiller hand to steer (slowly), but not move it from side to side to stop your boat moving backwards.

The interpretation of ROCK 2 says ‘One roll that does not clearly propel the boat is permitted.’  [If you don’t understand how ‘rock’ is connected to ‘roll’ ask your parents. ]  This means that one roll that clearly does propel the boat is not permitted.

The easy way not to get penalised for rocking on the start line is: Don’t stand up!  If a judge sees you stand up, particularly in the last few seconds before the start signal, it is almost certain you are about to break the rule.  The ‘tactical rock’ off the start line is done to move the boat forward faster than other boats in the area.  This isn’t just getting the boat level.  Being just ahead of the rest, even just half a metre, can put a boat in clear air.  And that, as we all know, is a big advantage on the upwind leg.
I have also seen sailors standing up in their boats and rocking from side to side to move the boat forward.  This is usually along and below the start line, looking for a nice empty space to slot into.  It may be some metres behind the start line, but, after the preparatory signal (P flag, U flag, or black flag) is raised, it breaks rule 42.

Heeling the boat to aid steering
You may heel the boat to aid steering. However, it usually takes at least a couple of seconds for the effect of heeling to aid steering.  So heeling the boat to leeward and then immediately sitting down to windward isn’t heeling to aid steering.  It’s going to be interpreted as rocking.

Who? Me?
Judges will signal a rule 42 infringement by blowing a whistle, pointing a yellow flag towards the identified boat, and hailing its sail number.  We will also try to make eye contact with the sailor.  With so many consecutive numbers in our fleet, on a busy start line I have made mistakes in calling sail numbers.  If you hear a whistle and your sail number being called, look back, find the judge and make sure it is you that’s being penalized.  The rules don’t allow for redress if a judge makes a mistake on a rule 42 call.

Taking your penalty
Rule 44.2 says After getting well clear of other boats as soon after the incident as possible… On the start line, that may mean sailing backwards, or if your penalty is signalled just before the start, not sailing forwards while other boats do.

You cannot start the race and sail on waiting for space to become available.

And if you are flagged and don’t understand why, please come and ask us between races.
But most of all, enjoy your sailing!

News & Reviews

IOCA stand at the Dinghy Show 2015
by Florence Brellisford

The show was busy right from the start. Myself, Sophie and Gabby Clifton had great fun helping the people coming round to learn about the Optimist class.  We had a competition running which was to name the parts of the boat against the clock. It was really enjoyable running that as well as helping little children learn how to sit in the boat properly.  We gave stickers for the Treasure Hunt and also had some Oppie freebies and goodie bags to hand out.

We talked about rigging an Optimist and demonstrated some boat handling and even taught some older children how to tacks properly in the demo boat.  At some points the stand was really crowded with children and adults who all either wanted Treasure Hunt stickers, to do our competition or to learn some helpful facts about the class.

I really hope some of those children were inspired to start sailing the Optimist and that we will see some of them in the future. Overall I had a really great time and will definitely sign up for the Dinghy Show 2016!
A visit by Nick Thompson
by Sophie Johnson

In the afternoon, Nick Thompson came to visit the Optimist stand.  I was really excited and nervous because he is such a good sailor.  When he was in Oppies, he was the first British sailor to win the Europeans, so having the Euros in Pwllheli this summer is special to him.  It is also a really good opportunity for our top Oppie sailors to show how well they can do on home ground and maybe even do as well as Nick did in 1999.  We were also asked what we wanted to achieve in our sailing.  Flo's answer was exactly what I think is important too - doing as well as you can and having lots of fun with your friends.  Gabby said how inspiring it is to know Oppie sailors who have gone on to do so well in sailing all over the world.  Maybe one day, one of us will follow in their footsteps.  After the interview, Nick kindly signed our t-shirts which I will treasure forever.  All in all, we had a great time on the Oppie stand, and I thoroughly recommend you give it a go next year if you can.
BAR Day Out for Optimist Sailors
by Chris Evans

Gurnard Sailing Club members Will Heritage and Oliver Evans were invited, along with Sea Cadet Amy Harrison and their school principal Mr Peckham from Cowes Enterprise College, to visit the Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays, for a briefing on the construction of the Ben Ainslie Racing headquarters. Will and Oliver both got to try out some of the exhibits that BAR plan to feature in the Visitor Centre. You can see the Duchess of Cambridge trying them out in the pictures below!

The team’s headquarters will also be the location for the 1851 Trust, and the venue for the America’s Cup World Series that will come to Portsmouth in July 2015 and 2016.

Clubs & Flotillas

Winter Open Training
Hayling Island Sailing Club
by Ella Lance
The winter training at Hayling Island Sailing Club (“HISC”) has been really excellent with lots of wind, big waves, competitive sailing, brilliant facilities and most scrumptious breakfasts ever! Usually there are around 35 children and then we split into groups based on similar ability. So far we have worked on starting, tide, tactics, boat handling, tuning, racing and lots more. Tim Rush, Ollie Spensley-Corfield, Chris Witty, Holly Watson and Charlotte Bonella normally coach us.

The training is really beneficial and I’ve learnt tons as well as had fun. On one of the most recent weekends, which was coached by Chris Witty, we did team racing to improve our aggression on the start line! It was girls vs. boys, unfortunately most of the races the boys won, I can imagine your disappointment!

Through the program I’ve made lots of friends. The winter training has been a great opportunity to improve our skills and I can’t wait until the next HISC training weekend.

Class Connections

Transitioning into Lasers
by Christopher Jones

Moving into Laser 4.7s is much easier than you might think.  Tactics and strategy remain the same, it is merely a matter of adjusting to the angles and speed of the boats around you, and it doesn't take long to pick up sitting positions.  It may take a bit longer to change your technique in certain aspects like sailing in waiver or calmer conditions.  In Lasers, rig settings might not seem as important as they are in Optimists or Toppers, but it is very important to get into the routine of adjusting them regularly.

It is particularly useful (but not essential) to try to get into a Squad in your first year as it will put you at a major advantage.
To get into the National squad you must attend the first ladder in August as well as the next two.  This means that you will have to take some time out of your current boat to get to know your coaches (remember you cannot be in two RYA squads).  Welsh sailors can also be selected for the Transitional squad which will definitely be helpful.

I also recommend you spend some time reading about Lasers online and looking at other sailors and picking up correct techniques.  I found that when I moved into the Laser that I picked up some bad habits which are bugging me now, so it is important to focus and think about everything you do and what affect it might have on the boat as well as asking coaches in order to avoid this.

IOCA Team Reports

Naples Team: January 2015
by James Foster

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of going to my first International Event in Naples, Italy.
We stayed in a very nice Youth Hostel called Ostello Margelina, which had a great view of the cityscape and we even had a glimpse of the sailing area from our room!

The sailing club was very posh; Lina was very helpful; she supplied our lunch, charter boats and helped with the cost of the Youth Hostel.

The sailing standard was of a high level which made the starting difficult. The course area was situated next to Mount Vesuvius, this made the view very stunning.

After the racing we played games with the Israel Team; before we went to bed we traded our England Flag bobble hats with Israeli

T-shirts. It was lucky that they had an American Sailor on their team who helped to translate for us.

Globe Trotting

Mussanah Race Week
by Will Hall
After the long haul from Heathrow to Doha I was amazed as I stepped out excitedly into the heat. Then we were picked up by a nice lad at the airport then we set off in a minibus going 100 MPH. We arrived at our amazing five star hotel and we were shown to our rooms, we had a lovely view, overlooking the Gulf Of Oman. The forecast suggested light winds all week but we soon realised that was not to be the case. We had 5-15 knots but we didn’t sail on one day as there was a storm passing us, this required us to take precautions by tying our winners down. We were put into the “Champions League”. They had invited some of the best sailors from around the world including sailors from Singapore, Germany, Thailand, Mozambique and Argentina.

This was a very hard competition and provided good training for the local less experienced sailors from Oman and Qatar. The food was really nice as they offered a wide variety in their buffet. We had world class coaches who came from all over the world. The hotel had many facilities such as swimming, mini golf, tennis and a spa. We learnt a lot from other sailors especially their upwind techniques and their tactics. It was always hot but sometimes felt chilly when there was a strong breeze. The racing was difficult and the best sailors really stood out, the chop made it hard to go fast. I finished 25th overall out of 120 boats and 19 countries, but I felt I could have done better. I kept making silly mistakes. There was a night that showed us what a traditional Arab dinner was like. I made lots of new friends from all over. It was a great experience!
Palamos Optimist Trophy Nations Cup 2015
by Matt Beck
We arrived early at Gatwick on Wednesday morning for the flight to Barcelona.  Our group was myself, Henry, Julia, Hattie, Ellen and Cossie, with Matt Rainback as coach and Cossie’s Mum (Laura) as house parent.  Drew joined us in Palamos.  We arrived mid-afternoon, sorted out our charter boats and settled into the apartments.

Thursday dawned warm and sunny but lacking wind.  We spent the morning sorting out boat set-up and waiting for the breeze.  We launched at around lunch time and did a couple of hours training before the practice race, which was very chaotic, with most people over.  

The wind was light initially on Friday but built during the course of the day.  With over 400 sailors from 22 countries, the fleet were split into 4 flights.  By Race 3 the conditions were fantastic, with gusts of 25knots and some big waves!

Saturday started very early – noise from the carnival preparations at 5am!  The forecast wasn’t great and as expected the racing was postponed and eventually cancelled for the day.  One of the highlights of the day was Henry’s parents delivering Pizza to the rib.  On Saturday evening we watched the carnival.
With no racing on Saturday, the qualifying series continued into Sunday.   Race 4 was completed in some very sketchy conditions.  All of the flights started Race 5 but the wind dropped and the racing was abandoned.  So we ended up with 1 fantastic day and 2 frustrating days of racing.  

Julia finished an excellent 3rd and I was pleased to have finished 11th.  Arthur finished a couple of places ahead of me in 9th. Overall it was a great trip.  Matt Rainback was awesome as our coach and Laura did a fantastic job as house mum.


Sailor's Toolkit & Spares
by Graham Davidson-Guild
For parents of sailors who are new to the Optimist class the maintenance of the boat can seem a daunting task.  It is inevitable that something will break or be missing just as you are rigging your boat for an event and therefore unless you have a second, fully race measured Optimist at the ready then without having an organised toolkit you won’t be racing!

Nearly as important as having spares available is having them in one place that is easy to find.  If you are rushing to get your sailor out on the water you don’t want to be sifting through a bag of spares trying to find what you are looking for.  A plastic tool box is a good option as they are light weight, readily available from any hardware store and have lots of different compartments to organise your spares in.  Everyone will have their own way of looking after their spares, here is a picture of mine and it works well for the small parts required.
It is hard to provide an absolutely definitive list of what you should include in your toolkit but as a minimum you should always have (with some approximate cost, taken from online suppliers):
  • At least one spare Little/Large Hawks Burgee or of preferred choice (£9 each)
  • A number of pairs of Pennant Holders (£7 a pair)
  • A selection of Sail Ties; pre-cut to correct lengths as you don’t want to be trying to cut them if they are about to go on the water as this take time.  It is advisable to purchase a couple of rolls at the start of various widths (£9 - £20 per roll)
  • Cigarette/gas lighter to ensure you can burn the end of any ties/ropes to save them from fraying
  • Tiller Extension Joint (this is the part that attaches the tiller extension to the rudder) (£5 each)
  • Deck Collar (£9 each)
  • Telltales (£5 for a set)
  • Rudder retaining clip in strong winds this can often break or more likely bend resulting in the rudder not being able to be attached properly (£4 each) or Rudder and Transom Fitting set (£20 each set)
  • Mast Clamp (£17.50 each
  • Mast bands
  • Sprit Halyard and block (£40 each)
  • Mast step (£30 each)
  • Mainsheet snap shackles (£8 each)
  • Boom bridle (£9 each)
  • Boom fitting (£13 each)
  • Plastic hooks (£1 each)
  • Dagger board Rubber Inserts and glue (£1 each)
  • Mast step heel plug (£16 each)
  • Mast cleats (sprit and kicker)
  • Jap tape (for dagger board slot)
  • Two part mix resin (you wouldn’t believe the amount of mast step plugs that I have seen come loose in the cold weather that need bonding back in, also good for putting cleats back on when riveting or bolting)
  • Pop rivet set with rivets
  • A selection of bolts and nuts of different sizes (readily available in chandlery’s)
On top of always taking a toolkit with you to an event it is recommended that you carry a number of other spares.  
  • Launching trolley wheel(s); you are unlikely to have time to change the inner tube - it’s a nightmare getting a tyre off!.  Don’t forget the R clips/ring clips as these can fall out and get lost easily!  There’s nothing worse than the wheels falling off your trolley.
  • Spare Mainsheet Block; whilst these rarely break, they can get lost and it’s always good to have spares depending on wind conditions, 2:1 3:1 4:1 etc.
  • Mainsheet (preference of the sailor)
  • Kicker rope; always take one in the boat as a spare, if it breaks whilst out sailing it is hard to sail without it.  By tying a knot in one end the sailor can feed it through the boom bridle and then through the mast cleat.
  • Hiking straps; they can break
  • Bailers
  • Praddle
  • Buoyancy bags
  • Foils
  • Mast set
  • Sail
  • Elastic (various thickness’s and lengths)
  • White gel coat (or other colours)
  • Polish (as required)
  • Cordless drill with drill bits
The list can become endless so remember there is always somebody that you can speak to that will probably have the part you require at that very moment in time to help you out, don’t be afraid to ask.  It may be worth building up your spares over time as some items, such as spare mast set and foils can be expensive.  However, if you arrive at one of the ranking events and something breaks then you can not only ruin your sailor’s day but you could have an impact on their squad places.

Most repairs can be done in the dinghy park so unless you are like me and take your toolboxes everywhere (much to my wife’s amusement!) then it is advisable to including a set of screwdrivers in your toolkit; a flat blade and positive drive of various sizes and lengths.  The various lengths just help with access to some areas.  A socket set with sockets in from 5mm to 13mm is also a must but if you haven’t got all of these items then a good idea is to have a multitool with you, it can be a useful addition to your toolkit, ensure that it includes screwdrivers and pliers; it’s amazing what you can fix with one!
I’m sure your socket set might look a little cleaner than mine!

You will also normally find that most of the venues there is a chandlery at the club or nearby which normally stock most of the parts required to keep you afloat.  At the big events you will normally find Charles from IBI Sailing with his trailer full of spares that you might require, if he is attending an event it will be advertised via the event.
Other useful Information:

It is also worth mentioning to sailors that if they have a problem on the water during a race and they can finish the race that after the race they should go and speak with the committee boat or any safety boat as there are normally people on ribs or other boats who carry spares with them and will help them out if they have a problem.  I have no problem helping others and it’s easy to get spares back off parents if you have helped their sailors out on the water.
If you'd like to do a kit test for Gill please send a short email with your name, age, the item you'd like to test and why you think you'd make a good kit tester to: admin@optimist.org.uk

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Next issue
Issue 13: May 2015

Easter Regattas, Selection Trials, Inland Champs, Team Racing

Please keep sending feedback, suggestions, articles, photos etc to
admin@optimist.org.uk or development@optimist.org.uk
Copyright © 2015 IOCA (UK), All rights reserved.

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