Op-eNews: the bi-monthly newsletter from IOCA (UK)

Welcome to Op-eNews

Issue 6: March 2014

From the Committee

Chairman’s Update

The new season is upon us and after such a wet winter I am sure we are looking forward to some dryer conditions!

So with Spring in the air it is time to plan our sailing calendars for the year and start to sign up for the IOCA major events.  The Spring Championships is the first on the list and with just over a week to go the entry stands at over 150.  This should be an excellent event and the first time we have been to Torquay for many years.  The Springs is the first opportunity to put all that winter training in to practice and see how you fair against the best sailors in the country!

On the International stage we have had some strong performances with a good number of sailors at Torrevieja in late January and Palamos just before the half term break.  Alex King was our star performer at Torrevieja in 3rd, Milo Gill-Taylor 5th and Ella Bennett top girl in 12th.  Palamos was very well supported with over 15 GBR sailors, more than double last year.  Palamos was a tough event with some good individual results with Vita Heathcote top Brit in 20th.  Next on the International calender is the OptiSpring and Braassemermeer in Holland.  Good luck to those that are going!!

We recently received an invitation from Japan for the ‘Friendship Regatta’.  This event unfortunately clashes with the Selections weekend in May and hence the invitation has been extended to those not eligible to compete at the Selections.  I am delighted that we have two IOCA sailors that have accepted the invitation and we wish Zac West and Maisie Harkess the very best of luck.  Our two Optimist sailors will be joined by one 4.7 sailor, Jordan Giles and we hope this will be a fantastic cultural and sailing experience for them all.

Despite the weather conditions IOCA’s regional winter training program has been hugely successful and has seen a 20% year on year increase in sailors.  The regional training program is organised by Michelle Gent our Development officer and if your flotilla is interested in training or needs help getting started please contact Michelle development@optimist.org.uk

The 2014 RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show in early March saw real growth in attendance and a very high level of interest in the class. We also launched our new 2014 Optimist Annual and the newly formatted IOCA Logbook Section 1:Beginner.  Many thanks to Michelle and Sharon for all their hard work, a great deal of time and effort has gone into these new publications and we hope you will find them informative, interesting and a good read.  The 2014 Annual will be available at the Spring Championships and all major events - please collect a copy from registration or the race office  Membership following the Dinghy Show has been excellent and is the essential ingredient for the future success of the class. 

Over the next 2-3 months as the weather warms up is the perfect opportunity for new sailors to start sailing Optimists.  It does take time to learn the ropes for new sailors and I would ask all existing sailors and parents to help at your local flotillas to get the next group started.  The Nationals at Weymouth will be a fantastic event and one that would be a good target for our new members to seriously consider.

My next update is likely to be after the Selections and I know for many this will be your main focus.  Very best of luck with your preparation and regardless of what your goals are, have a fun and action packed season!!


IOCA Chairman

Membership Matters
2014 Membership is now available.
Welcome to all our new IOCA members!

Dates for Your Diary

Buttons below take you straight to the event website (opens new window)
Spring Championships... 29/30 Mar 2014
Entry for the Spring Championships closes 21/03/2014.  The entry limit has been increased to 160.

Please Volunteer for a Duty HERE
There are plenty of roles to be filled both on the water and on shore.  Most require no experience, just an hour or so of your time.  It's a great way to meet parents and sailors, and we can't run the event without you!

Additional details will be added to the event web-page over the next few days - please check regularly.
Inland Championships .... 17/18 May 2014
Area Championships..... 12/13 Jul 2014
National Championships...... 2-8 Aug 2014
Regatta Fleet Entry is OPEN, Main Fleet Entry will be opening very shortly.
MIchelle Gent has been hard at work with the updated versions of the Optimist Log Book and the 2014 Optimist Annual.

The Log Book - Section 1: Beginner  is now available - please contact development@optimist.org.uk for copies for Flotillas and clubs.

All new members will now receive the new style log book.

The 2014 Optimist Annual was hot off th epress (quite literally) in time for the Dinghy Show.  The annual will be avaialbel at all major events for collection.

It's full of great articles and information, so please don't forget to pick up a copy and maybe take one for your club's book shelf too!
International Training
With more and more sailors travelling to open international events, we are in urgent need of a volunteer to take on the role of International Training Co-ordinator.

The role will form part of the training sub-committee, as a point of contact for sailors and parents wishing to participate in open International events (possibly for the first time) and to co-ordinate groups of parents wishing to facilitate coached support at the event.  For more information please contact Richard Baker (IOCA Training Officer) or admin@optimist.org.uk.

July 2015, Pwllheli Sailing Club

Planning for the 2015 Optimist European Championships at Pwllheli is in full swing.   The team are delighted to announce that Fiona Rainback has joined them as Event Admin and Heather Beardsall has agreed to take on the Treasurer role.  There are many other opportunities to get involved, so if you would like further information please contact
David Baddeley, Optimist Euros 2015 Chairman

2014 Events

Pwllheli International Optimist Clinic 22-25 July 2014

 The Pwllheli International Clinic will be run by GBR National Coach Alan Williams and Greek National Coach Vagelis Atzemain. Both Alan and Vagelis have extensive knowledge and experience of the sailing conditions and championships at Pwllheli.

The syllabus for the clinic is designed for sailors who have very good technique, are sailing at a very good national level and have international experience. We would anticipate that international sailors are likely to represent their countries the following year in the Europeans. For GBR sailors they should have a National Ranking higher than around 120, or be in the Development, Intermediate or National Squad.

Pwllheli International Optimist Regatta 26/27 July 2014

Entry for the clinic and regatta will open soon - for more details, including entry requirements visit www.optimisteuros2015.com

www.optimisteuros2015.com  Facebook: Optimisteuros2015  Twitter: @OptimistEuros15

News and Reviews


by William Heathcote

It was very exciting to be going as a team. I felt that I had earned my place, and this made me proud. All that time I had put in to sailing, all those weekends freezing my butt off, had been worth it!
The first thing was they lost our sails, on the flight out, luckily we managed to borrow some from the Club. Our sails turned up in the evening so we knew we would be okay for the racing. It was very hot, too hot for getting the boats ready in the sun. The sailing club is a lovely place
and the boatmen were doing everything to help us.

As the day went on we  were joined in our rigging area by HUN, FRA, NED, UKR, SUI, MON, AUT, MLT and of course lots of ITA. Everyone is very friendly.
We are staying in the Hotel Rex, which is pretty much just across the street from the sailing club. Coming from a farm, where our kitchen is carpeted in straw and full of lambs, it feels very swanky. Dad (houseparent) insists that we all order our supper in Italian, but since the pizza was invented in Naples, we could order with some confidence!

The first race went roughly according to plan, except the start. Jamie came 3rd, Rhys 4th, me 8th, Chris 12th and Ciaron a little further back. 134 in total had lined up for the start, and I think we all felt that our positions were good. After that it all went a bit wrong, in my case mainly because of getting a bad start, then by trying to get clear air I would bang out to the left corner, which never paid.

On the first day it was quite light and we got 3 races in. The second day was much windier with a big swell and after 2 races we were sent in as the Committee boat was rolling around too badly. Unfortunately, that was the end of the regatta because day 3 was even windier, and the waves even bigger. But we went out training with the Ukranians, an experience that I will remember forever as it was so much fun surfing down the giant waves.

In the evenings we ate at the Club. The waiters looked like butlers, wearing buttoned white jackets, white gloves and huge moustaches!  The Club was like something from the old days, like a stately home. We sat at these huge round tables and some Italian girls
came to sit with us – it was very embarrassing! I know it shouldn’t have been, but they were – or certainly appeared to be a bit older than us and were very confident. Dad said that we wouldn’t be trying to shake them off in a few years time.
After the regatta we went to Pompeii. We took a tram, a bus and a train to get there. it was incredible to imagine how the whole city – a surprisingly normal place, could have been petrified by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius, and only recently unearthed. Meals on the table, sheep feeding from a trough and centurions relaxing in their officers quarters. There was almost too much to take in, to understand.

We also found the time to explore around the historic centre and the old markets of Naples, trying lots of different food, and trying to avoid being run over by the kamikaze drivers. It was a really great regatta, made especially worthwhile by coach Will and a great team of lads.

Naples - last event day

by Chris Jones

On the last day we woke up and had breakfast as usual, we would have to act like we were going to go racing. Unfortunately we were a man down because Ciaron was ill so he stayed in bed for the morning. When we got down to the club we looked past the breakwater and saw that the sea state was much worse than the day before when it was abandoned for the sea state. We rightened our boats on the trolleys and headed inside, then we sat there and played quiz tennis which passed the time nicely. Once we were all bored of quiz tennis we decided to go up on top of the fort. As we were walking along the pavement a storm arrived and we had to start running because it was so heavy. When we had finally got over the bridge to the fort we were all drenched. Fortunately we were all in our sailing gear and Will had his hat. Once we were at the top we could see the waves more clearly. They seemed quite small from above. After the storm the wind calmed a bit so we thought we might go racing but we were disappointed when Will said “Il suo finite” which means it’s finished.
Instead of packing up our boats we decided to go out training with the Ukrainians. We got our rigs from the hanger as the rest of the fleet packed up. Once we were launched we sailed around the harbor for a bit and then we went out into the waves. The waves were huge and the wind was blowing about 15-18Kts. We sailed upwind, hiking flat out.  Once we had got upwind, Will pointed downwind. That was probably the most fun I had ever had in waves in my oppie. I speed our oppies got to was incredible.  After a Ukrainian capsized it was time to go upwind again.  George got some amazing photos of the waves. It was soon time to go in and we were all disappointed that we had to go in. On the way Rhys Capsized after a dodgy windshift in the harbor. Once when we were on land we found out that Ciaron was feeling better and that he had come down to de-rig everything and that wasn’t so much fun.  We rolled up the sails and packed away our boats, then we went back to the hotel.

RYA Regional Youth Champions

Optimist sailors past and present excelled at this year’s RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show where the winners of the RYA Regional Youth Champions were presented with their trophies by Olympic Sailor Dylan
Fletcher.  These awards are presented in recognition of the sailors outstanding achievements and performances. Current North East Optimist Sailor Ben Russell (Kielder Water Sailing Club) was thrilled and delighted to be presented with his trophy having flown in from Edinburgh that morning. The winners of the South and South East were presented to ex oppie sailors and now both Laser sailors Anthony Parke (HISC) and Ross Banham (Bewl Valley SC) both of whom will be remembered by many current sailors. Congratulations from all of the IOC A Committee.

A Reply from the Cadet Class

Dear Optimist Sailors and Parents,
It was great to read Arran Holman’s article about his experience of Cadet sailing in the IOCA(UK) newsletter. We really enjoyed having Arran in the Cadet Class last year and were very impressed by the quality of sailing he brought with him from the Optimists - It was no surprise to see him establish himself as the top UK Cadet helm by the end of the year.
For Optimist sailors thinking of a future in a double-handed class, the Cadet is a natural stepping stone as the two classes have much in common.  Both are traditional designs that have stood the test of time because they were brilliant in the first place, both are manageable for beginners but rewarding for advanced junior sailors.
The Cadet is a supported Class within the RYA Junior and Youth Programme.

There are differences of course, the most obvious being the second person in the Cadet. It is a lot of fun sailing with someone else.
Crewing requires its own set of skills, with careful control of the jib being as important to boat-speed upwind as the spinnaker is downwind. Optimist helms will also appreciate having someone to do the bailing while they concentrate on driving the boat!  There are still many wooden boats sailing in the Cadet fleet, but as
Arran showed last year, the new GRP boats are every bit as competitive and have the well-known advantages concerning maintenance and storage.

The Cadet World Championships are being held at WPNSA in 2014 back-to-back with the Nationals, meaning that the class will be racing at Weymouth and Portland from 9th to 22nd August, immediately after the Optimists.

The UKNCCA would like to invite any Optimist sailors interested in taking part to get in touch with us. We are putting together a fleet of charter boats that can be hired for both events, and this would serve as an excellent introduction to the class. New sailors can race in the coached Bronze Fleet at the Nationals and then join the Promotional Fleet for the Worlds.
The current Cadet Class Chairman started his sailing career in an Optimist, attending the worlds in…..1978 (that long ago!) and is a supporter of the skills needed and developed in both classes. He stopped sailing his Optimist aged 12 (we all grow at different rates!) so anyone in that situation may want to look at what the Cadet can offer.
You can express an interest in this by emailing our class administrator Chris Green at cadetclass.admin@googlemail.com

You are promised a very warm welcome!   Wishing you all good sailing his year.

The UKNCCA Committee.

Spanish Success

Six sailors made the trip over the weekend of 25/26 January to attend the 7th edition of the Trophy of Torrevieja. This was a well attended international event with over 300 sailors from 14 countries.

The UK team consisted of Ella Bennet, Milo Gill-Taylor, Vita Heathcote, Oliver Hill, Alex King and Benno Marstaller.

The organisers made this an economical and easy event to attend. Flights were cheap and entry fees covered accommodation and rib charter for coaches and sailors.

A total of seven races and one discard were held in a variety of challenging conditions, with several strong wind races. The first two days were flighted into 3 groups, and the final day was ranked in gold, silver and bronze fleets.

The event was comprehensively won by a spanish sailor Albert Torres, but only 11 points separated 2nd to 8th position. All the UK sailors had some excellent individual race results in the 100+ fleets, but the most consistent were Alex King who finished 5th overall with all his counting results inside top 15, and Milo Gill-Taylor who finished 8th overall, including two race wins.
The club were incredibly friendly and helpful, including organising transfers to and from the airport. Weather was 10-15 degrees and sunny.  All in all, a great regatta definitely worth attending again next year!

Full Results
Yachts and Yachting Report
Fleets and Flotillas

RYA North Zone Optimist Squad back in the North!

After two years of the North Zone optimist squad being attached to the West Zone, the training is back in the north. Last year the nearest training weekend would have been 200 miles away, now it is on our doorstep!

This follows on from the success of the IOCA North East Optimist Development squad which started in October 2012. Thirteen sailors from Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club, Kielder Water Sailing Club and Scaling Dam Sailing Club took part in winter training last year. From this squad, eight of the sailors are now enjoying training in the RYA zone squad which has a total of ten sailors.

In recent years there have been few optimist sailors from the north and none from the north east. The optimist dinghy has been viewed only as a “learn to sail boat”. However with the advent of the North East Development squad, this is changing. Five sailors entered National events this year.

East Oppies

Twenty nine boats competed for the Jonathan House Memorial Salver on Boxing Day in a light wind that built slightly during the course of the race. Last year in a gusty wind the Squibs did well but this time it was the fleet of 8 Optimists, who were welcome visitors from Wroxham,
Aldeburgh and Blackwater, that found the conditions to their liking.

After a general recall, the race started at the second attempt and very soon the fleet was well spread out. Nick Barrett and Jake Smalls in their RS400 had a good fight for the lead with Ben Falat’s D-One and Richard Fryer’s RS300 but it was always going to be hard in the light shifty breeze for these boats to be far enough ahead of the rest of the fleet of dinghies and Squibs to do well on corrected time. Eventually the RS400 finished the shortened course after 50 minutes of sailing and as the boats streamed through the finishing line, there was much debate as to whether Julian and Bethany Hood in their National 12, Richard Smith in his Laser or Veronica Falat in her Streaker had done well enough to take overall honours. However, the Optimists were sailing extremely well and despite finishing more than 25 minutes after the race leaders, William Pank in the leading Optimist was eventually declared the race winner, by the comfortable margin of more than 2 minutes ahead of Veronica Falat in second place. The Hoods were third and two more Optimists (Sophie Johnson and Alex Knight) took 4th and 5th places. The leading Squib (David Gooch and Gilly Foulds in Ex-Flame) was 8th.

It was a very pleasant way to spend a Boxing Day morning, especially as it ended with mince pies and mulled wine in the clubhouse afterwards.  All 8 Oppies in top 16!!
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

7671J_Junior Neoprene Winter Gloves
906J_Junior Hiking Boots
4421J_Junior UV Sport Rash Vest
4916J_Junior Pro Racer Buoyancy Aid

Hidden Talents

We know that there are a wealth of hidden talents within the class but who do you think this fantastic cake decorating skill belongs to?

Rather than the traditional Oppie Tea - how about the Nationals Oppie Bake Off?  Any suggestions for fun activities at the nationals email IOCA Admin
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Next issue
Issue 7: May 2014

Squads, Selections, Inlands, Easter Regattas

Please keep sending feedback, suggestions, articles, photos etc to
admin@optimist.org.uk or development@optimist.org.uk
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