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

Welcome to Op-eNews

Issue 4: Autumn 2013

From the Committee

Chairman’s Update

Welcome back to the start of a new IOCA year and a new committee, following the AGM at the Nationals.  Firstly I would like to thank all the outgoing committee members for the tireless work they have done and I feel IOCA is currently in a fantastic place to move forward in the coming year.  The new committee has now had its first main committee meeting and we are full steam ahead following a short break in August.  For details of the new committee and their contact details please go to the IOCA website.
I think most would agree that the Nationals in Largs was a huge success and I would like to thank Largs Sailing Club, the Scottish Sailing Institute, the local Scottish IOCA team, the sailing committee and Sharon Bullock (Class Administrator and Events Manager) for a job very well done.  The sailing was exceptional with a wide range of testing conditions and I believe we ended up with worthy champions.  Well done to Milo Gill-Taylor as Overall Senior National Champion, Vita Heathcote as Overall Junior National Champion, Hattie Rogers as Senior Girls National Champion and Jamie Harris as Junior Boys National Champion.
Next year we will be back in Weymouth on our four year rolling cycle and we are expecting a very large entry.  Last time we were in Weymouth we had an entry just short of 500!  It would be fantastic to see if we could break that magical number.  The dates are 2nd-8th August 2014 and I would recommend booking accommodation early!
In the coming weeks the Zone Championships will be taking place in the different areas around the country. These champs are a great opportunity for all sailors but particularly for those starting on the RYA pathway. This year for the second time there will be a regatta fleet and hence there will be good sailing for even the youngest sailors.  Best of luck to you all!!
The End of Seasons is just round the corner and the last ranking event of the season.  Entry is open and if you have not entered we would be grateful if you could as soon as possible.  If you have any logistical questions please call Sharon or email her on admin@optimist.org.uk
This year Richard Baker our training officer has made a significant change to the Development squad and the class is determined to offer more places to more sailors over the winter.  You may have seen the article on the website and I would strongly suggest that anyone thinking about not doing the End of Seasons should read about Richards plans first.
The class is keen to help sailors experience International events this winter and to complement their winter training.  The class is going to fund Alan Williams to attend five major events over the winter where he will support all GBR sailors on and off the water.  Clearly these international events are not suitable for everyone but we do hope that those sailors that are zone and above will consider attending one or several events.  Full details are on the website but our intention is to send Alan to the United 4 at the end September (Roompot, Holland), Vigo early Nov, Palma early Dec, Tarravela late Jan and finally Palamos Feb.  We are looking for a parent to liaise with Alan and Richard to help organise these trips, please let me know if you can help.
Finally, I would like to congratulate the Worlds team (Milo Gill-Taylor, Max Clapp, Benno Marstaller, Robbie King and David LaBrouche) for some fantastic results at the Worlds and particularly their bronze in the team racing which represents the best team racing result ever! Many thanks to Alan and Jenny Williams for doing a great job as team coach and team leader.  Vita Heathcote led the GBR sailors at the Euros at Lake Balaton with the best girls result ever in 6th.  A very successful season for team GBR and well done to everyone involved!
As you can see there is a lot going on and if you have any thoughts or questions please contact me or the committee, all our details are on the Class website.
I wish you all the very best of luck for the coming month and hope you make the squad/zone that you are working towards and enjoy your winter training.
IOCA Chairman
07711 007 002
Following the 2013 AGM held at the Nationals in Largs, we'd like to welcome some new members to the committee:

Vice Chairman : Mark Lyttle
Secretary: Tim Spalding
Technical Officer: Ian Harris
Treasurer: Andy Felton
Training Officer (Teams): Michael Black
Marketing: Tim Sewell
Jury Co-Ordinator: James Coles
Prizes: Kim Hill
Membership Matters
For the remainder of the year (to 31 December 2013 )Membership has been reduced to £10 for family membership including one sailor and £5 per additional sailor. 

Membership of the class is required for the End of Seasons, Winters and IOCA Area Winter Training.

Dates for Your Diary

Buttons below take you straight to the event website (opens new window)
RYA Zone & Home Country Championships ................... 28/29 Sep 2013
United4 - 28/29 Sep 2013
End of Seasons .............. 12/13 Oct 2013
Closing Date: 5th October 2013.

Late Payment fees apply from
29th September 2013
so please enter as soon as possible.

Don't forget to volunteer for a duty too!
EoS Volunteer Rota
Vigo - 31 Oct/3 Nov 2013
Winter Championships .. 23/24 Nov 2013

Could Your Club Host Squad Training?

We know that many clubs in recent years have expanded and improved their facilities and that some clubs have plans for the next year or so.  But it's very difficult keeping up to date with all the clubs around the country.

So, If you are a flotilla leader or club member who thinks that your home club may be able to host some IOCA training please let us know. Please drop an email to admin@optimist.org.uk with the club name and contact details.  For training the facilities we look for and need to take into consideration when booking are:
  • Facilities for hosting approx.. 24 sailors, 4 Coaches, 2 Houseparents
  • Group Residential facilities on site / close by (not always required)
  • Training room available (preferably 2 or more)
  • Catering available on site throughout the winter
  • Easy Launching/Recovery for Junior sailors
  • Ribs available to hire
  • Accessibility from major routes
  • Availability of Camping / Local Accommodation
  • Costs for the above
Just over 2 weeks until the Volvo Gill Optimist End of Seasons

New Initiative - Coach Supported International Events

We are all aware that international experience, taking sailors out of their ‘domestic’ comfort zones is really useful to the sailors development. In addition to the International events which teams attend, the Class is offering to provide coach and RIB support at a number of International events over the autumn and winter period.

The coach (Alan Williams) will provide briefing, on the water support and debriefing.

There will be a charge £TBA per sailor to help fund the coaching and RIB costs, depending on numbers

Proposed events are:

1. United 4, Roompot - 28/29 Sep 2013
Enter via United4 website 
See IOCA webpage for more details, who's attending, parent contact etc

2. Vigo - 1/3 Nov 2013
See Details (right)

3. Trofeo Ciutat de Palma, Palma,Spain – 5/8 Nov 2013 (Details to follow)

4. Ciudad de Torrevieja Int'l Trophy, Torrevija, Spain - 24/26 Jan 2014 (Details to follow)

5. International Palamos Optimist Trophy, Palamos, Spain - 13/16 Feb 2014 (Details to follow)

2.  VIGO

Event: Semana Caixanova del Atlantico, Vigo, Spain – 1/3 Nov 2013

A dozen sailors have already expressed an interest in attending the Vigo event. Entry is still open but entries do need to made as soon as possible.
  • Please take a look at the recommendations from Alan Williams about which sailors this event is most suited to before entering.
  • The contribution for Alan's coaching will be £100 for this event (this is a flat rate for this event)  - payable to IOCA via the goCardless link on the webpage.
  • A couple of parents are arranging to take boats out to the event.  There are currently 3 available slots for boats on the trailer.  Transport costs will be £150 per boat.
  • Flights are currently available for approximately £50 each way
  • Please sign up via the Vigo webpage to express an in terest in attending as soon as possible so that arrangements can be made. Sign Up Here

Optimist Europeans 2015

Following an extensive bid campaign earlier this year,  IOCA(UK) together with Pwllheli Sailing Club won the vote of the IODA AGM to host the Optimist Europeans in 2015. This is the first time since 1969 that an Optimist continental or worlds event has been hosted in the UK. This event will be a great opportunity for 14 GBR sailors to sail against the best in Europe. As host country, this is double the allocation given to visiting teams.

We are starting to build an organising team for what will be one of the most prestigious sailing regattas of the year in the UK. As with all events we will need an army of volunteers to help in many and varied areas. These range from race management on the water to team liaison officers to event marketing before the event. We also have opportunities in the management team that will be meeting regularly up until the event. In particular we are looking for people to lead the racing, social and accommodation / transport teams.

If you would like further information or would like to be involved, please contact
David Baddeley
Optimist Euros 2015 Chairman

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

News and Reviews

2013 GBR Optimist World Championships, Garda, Italy

Milo, David, Max, Robbie and Benno - Some great individual results and a Bronze the Team Racing

My 2013 European Championships by Vita Heathcote

My Europeans began in the middle of the coldest winter on record, out in the middle of the Solent, in the semi-dark. The waves, hail, sleet and, if we were lucky rain, would be whipped up together and hurled at us, stinging our cheeks and lashing at us with a persistence that was as never stopping as the urges of Shelley, our coach, to hike larder for longer, to ignore the weather, to push the boundaries of what we thought was possible, sensible and comfortable.

It paid off, as I somehow got the edge for the Selection Trials that scraped me a place in the Europeans Team, just a nose ahead of about 8 other girls.

What happened next was easy in comparison; experimenting at the Inlands didn’t always pay off, then training at Grafham, again coached by the legendary Vagelis, looked after off the water by Imogen, and always getting to know the rest of the team – Jenny and Jemma in particular, but also the boys Alex, Hugh, Iago and Will.

All the time I felt my confidence growing, in particular my decision making and boat speed.
All too soon we were off to the Choco Cup, my first taste of Hungary and Lake Balaton; a milky blue/green lake, beautifully warm. The peach and watermelons harvest was in full swing, amid daytime temperatures that hit 42 degrees C!

15 countries had showed up and the event was seen as the “warm up” for the Europeans – check out the opposition! On the first day I felt a bit disorientated so put in some fairly average results.  But the next day I really found the right gear; I was totally focussed, and the shifts seemed to fall for me. I got a 4th, 5th and an 8th. On the Sunday we only managed one race (I came 2nd!) before we had to leave early to catch our plane. So I couldn’t discard a shocker from the first day, as I now had a DNC. Still, I finished as 3rd girl, 16th overall – exactly the same as at Selections! Ohh, and how could i forget the chocolate, after all it was called the chocolate cup, there was a big chocolate fountain in one of the rooms, you could dip chocolate wafers in it!!! Yummyum.

I came home champing at the bit to get back to Lake Balaton for the European Championships themselves. But back at home I barely had enough time to catch up on my school work before we were on the plane again.

This time it was for real big 40+ nations, and I was here to do battle with the finest they could rustle up! At the Opening Ceremony I had the privilege of carrying our flag – the mighty Union Jack(according to Jenny i was terrible at it).  Seeing all the other nations and meeting lots of new foreign  friends is a highlight of international events and i really enjoy it.

All the sailors and coaches are in a large hotel opposite the lake, with water volleyball and water polo stretching out into the lake, a vast trampoline that fits too many people and bounces too high but is also too much fun, multiple table tennis tables, pool tables etc, all so that it is virtually impossible not to mingle with at least 37 different nationalities.   

I was in the 5th and final flight for the first race(as the boys had gone first), and the tension was clearly getting to some of the sailors, especially with all the general recalls and black flags. But as our start sequence progressed I could feel my boat becoming a part of me, and could flick her around to exactly where I wanted. 10 seconds to go, perfectly positioned in the middle of the front row, bang on the line, haul in on the main and “bang!” the clip came off! The disaster rapidly got worse as a) I was in everyone’s way and b) it took me ages to get the clip back on.

As everyone had spread out left/mid-left, I had no choice but to make a quick tack over to the right  and, as it happened, this paid off as I ended up 3rd! The next race was more of a grind, but I felt solid 7th. The next race another 7th but as only 10 of us managed to finish before the wind died, the race was considered unfair so was abandoned. After an afternoon of “will it count/will it be not?” they lobbed it and re-ran the race at 7pm, just as I was about ready for bed.  Doziness got the better of my so I limped in 28th.

The next race I came – guess where? Yep, 7th yet again! The breeze, though generally light, had picked up to average 12-14 knots, and the top Singaporean girl was struggling. The pressure was ramping up...
Next I got an 8th, which kept me creeping up overall – now 12th. Jemma held at 19th and Jenny was rapidly climbing up through the field. I got news that in Flanders Milly, who I have been training with was first girl, hot on the heels of the Worlds Team.

By now I had swapped loads of GBR kit for really cool gear, from the Japanese, Americans, Brazilians – all those outlying European countries! I had also made more friends from more countries than I could name! Mum and Dad turned up that evening, and I got to see them for a quick catch up, but really we’re so self-contained as a team, including Vagelis and Imogen, that it was obvious they could just enjoy their holiday...

The next day the breeze was up again and I managed a 4th, 22nd and, with a good lead in the 3rd race, made the mistake down the run of getting wrapped up trying to work out overall positions in my head, and overshot the gate! I so nearly got back my lead and settled for a 2nd.

The final day and the fleet appeared to be divided between those for whom the result had now become less important, and still the majority, but for whom the result had become everything. The start line had never been more ferocious; it was like sharing it with a gang of killer whales!

I just tried to keep it simple: safe start, shifts up the middle, gain on the reach, more on the run, nail it on the beat to the finish. 12th and a 4th; I was completely delighted as it gave me 8th overall, and with the top Singaporean girl Marsha just on from to me, and the Brazilian girl Clara just ahead of her, I was 6th European! I couldn’t believe how it had all gone so well, and how much I had enjoyed myself. Now it all seems like a dream, and I would urge anybody to train that bit harder then they planned, because these opportunities are open to all, and it could be you...
Making Friends: The 2013 GBR Optimist Europeans Team in Balaton, Hungary
2013 Development Team Bodrum, Turkey
The Optimist Prizewinners from the 2013 RYA Eric Twiname
Picture from Christine Spreiter
Fleets and Flotillas
Summer has only just passed us by but we at IOCA are already turning our thoughts to 2014. With so much Oppie activity occurring around the country we would very much like to write an article outlining all the opportunities open to Optimist Sailors for Summer 2014, so if your club hosts an open youth/junior week and they are keen to invite visitors, drop me a line outlining the dates as well what the week is about. We hope to publish an article in the New Year which will inspire both sailors and parents alike.
All details should be sent to Michelle Gent at development@optimist.org.uk

Antigua Sailing Academy

Following the delivery of a number of donated sails a few months ago, here's an update from the sailing academy...

"The children are doing so so well. Here is a summary of Oppie news: Daniel Smit won the International Optimist Regatta in Puerto Rico - and altogether there were 4 AYC representatives who all came in the top 10 - fantastic news!!! These guys were using your sails."

Tips and Tricks

#No 1 :

How to Keep Your Feet Cool

It was a scorching weekend for the South Area Championships at Datchet during the summer, but Emily found a perfect way to keep coo!

Caption Comedy

Simply come up with a witty and/or clever caption to go with the image below for your chance to win a small prize.  Send entries to admin@optimist.org.uk We'll print the winner in the next issue of Op-eNews

Our Sponsors & Partners


As part of their continued support of Optimist sailing, Volvo Car UK is offering you the chance to cruise your way to the Volvo Gill Optimist End of Season Championship, Rutland Sailing Club, in style and comfort.
Simply go to Facebook.com/volvocarssailing or email mailto:volvosailing@intotheblue.biz for the chance to win one of three Volvo cars heading to Rutland.  

The car will be delivered to the winners’ door, complete with a full tank of diesel, ahead of the event on Tuesday 8th October 2013 and collected on Tuesday 15th October.

Good Luck and see you all in Rutland!
End of Seasons
IBI Sailing will be attending the End of Seasons Championships at Rutland but will not be retailing equipment. However, we will be happy to bring pre-ordered chandlery items and sails to the event. 
Please contact Charles Ainsworth  Tel: 01243 513002
For all the latest information check out:

Issue 5 : Winter

Post-EOS, Squads, Pre-Winters, Winter Training

Please keep sending feedback, suggestions, articles, photos etc to
admin@optimist.org.uk or development@optimist.org.uk
Copyright © 2013 IOCA (UK), All rights reserved.