Author Archives: gschonrock

Rooster Optimist Southern Traveller at Burghfield Sailing Club

Bright sunshine and a pleasant westerly breeze greeted the 130 young Optimist sailors to Burghfield Sailing Club for what must surely be the UK’s largest single class open meeting.

Fantastic photos from

The excitement started just after the briefing as the media Sportography drone took to the sky above the balcony for an “all sailors shot”. The drone was later seen buzzing around the race course capturing the action.

The Regatta fleet of 38 included a mix of experience with a good collection of sailors enjoying their first competitive season. For a few, this would be their very first open meeting. Tabitha Davies started her dominating lead with wins in Race One and Two before being denied the next by Holly Fisher winning Race Three.

The local race team led by RO Douglas Calder made masterly and timely adjustments to the buoys maintaining a consistent course for the sailors to complete three full races in the morning.

After a well earned lunch, the sailors returned to the water and markedly different conditions. The skies had filled in and significant rain storms could be seen in the distance all around the lake, Zac Shepherd was undeterred winning Race Four.

The wind had now increased, the skies opened up and Tabitha Davies regained composure to take Race Five from local Burghfield brothers Ethan and Oscar Tatum. Tabitha came second in the last race to secure the overall win. Eliana Edwards won the final Race Six to take third overall with Holly Fisher posting solid results to end up second overall.

The sailors returned to shore, just in time to avoid the thunder and lightning storms building in the east. Fabulous sailing and the most exemplary attitude by all sailors in the fleet was enjoyed.

The main fleet was scheduled for 6 x 30 minute races. The 89 sailors raced in two flights using colour group rotation on Inner/Outer loop trapezoids courses, all threaded between Burghfield’s famous islands. Mathias Potter and Millie Irish both started well to take first line honours.

Race Two saw Molly Dowson McGill and Finian Morris over the line first and Race Three was won by Freddie Lonsdale and local Burghfield sailor Oliver Woodley. With the help of the Uniform flag disqualifying boats from a start that were over the line in the final minute, SRO Ian Bullock secured three good races ahead of the scheduled lunch break.

With more adverse weather on the forecast the opportunity was taken of continuing into the fourth race before lunch with sailors Ben Mueller and Sebastian Schonrock showing stamina, and possibly hunger to win and make it first into the lunch queue.

After the lunch break ashore Ben Mueller kept his form, this time along with Toby Schonrock to take the bullets in race 5. The weather had now changed with showers and end to end double rainbows providing a distraction to the sailors and opportunities to the media.

Race Six introduced a significant wind shift and deliberations from the race management. Experience and consistency brought another Race win for Mathias Potter which secured the overall title. Kuba Staite also took another win to secure third overall while solid consistency from Ella Lance gave her second overall.

Finally, all sailors were treated to a fabulous spread of creamy cakes for tea, along with handout prizes from the sponsor Rooster.

Main Fleet Results

Regatta Fleet Results

Yachts and Yachting article

South Zone Squad: Split groups

This year the RYA may split the South Zone Squad across 2 separate locations for some sessions.  This is to ensure that that they have manageable training group numbers to assist the sailors’ development, create a better performance environment and give them a wider variety of venues to use.  This would consist of some training in tandem at separate venues and some run as combined training at the same venue.  Squad splits would be based on the sailors’ selection ranking and individual needs.

This has been included in the Optimist Zone Squad Notice of Selection.

This is a new initiative for this year, and the details of how this will operate may need to be worked out once the Squad has been selected, and in conjunction with the sailors/parents/venues.

There will be an opportunity to ask questions and find out more at the Zone Championships.

IOCA South Training: New for 2017/18

We have some exciting new developments for the IOCA South training this winter:

2 Venues

This year IOCA South will be running the same regional training program in 2 locations: Spinnaker SC (Saturdays) and Bosham SC (Sundays).   The program will be the same (subject to adjustments needed to accommodate local conditions), providing sailors with the option to choose the most convenient location/dates for them.

Head Coach

We are pleased to announce that Andy Kerr will be Head Coach for both sets of training, ensuring that a consistent level of high quality training is provided in both locations.

Andy has been a Coach Assessor for 8 years and has Race Coach L3.  He has also been a manager at a busy sailing centre in Surrey, where he was responsible for organising up to 20 instructors on any one day, and upwards of 100 children at a time.

Preparation Days

This year, we have adopted the RYA policy of paying for a day’s worth of preparation time by the Head Coach for every 5 days of coaching.  This will enable Andy to ensure that each session is fully productive, the coaches have been well briefed beforehand, and the sailors get as much out of the sessions as possible.

Exercise Plans

We have been working with Robbie Claridge, a top optimist coach in the UK, and the RYA to put together exercise plans.   These will also be made available via the Optimist Wiki for people to download and use in club training.

Regional Regatta: 28th April

The IOCA regions have got together to put on a regional training regatta on 28th April at Burghfield SC.  This will have a Regatta Fleet, and a Coached Regatta Fleet, and is designed to provide an opportunity for all sailors who have taken part in regional or club training over winter, to put their skills into practice.  Entry for the Regatta is automatic for sailors taking part in IOCA South (Spinnaker) and Thames Valley training.  Other sailors will be able to enter directly to the event once it becomes available for entry.

Spinnaker Pricing

The cost of the Spinnaker training has risen this year, as it now includes entry for the Regional Regatta, and the additional preparation day for the Head Coach, as well as a small increase in venue costs.

Royal Lymington Yacht Club Optimist Open

The 4th Optimist Open meeting in the 2017 IOCA (UK) Southern Traveller Series took place at Royal Lymington Yacht Club on 3 & 4 June 2017.

Perfect Lymington sailing conditions greeted the 94 sailors across Main Fleet and Regatta Fleet on Saturday morning.  Local sailor Santi Sesto-Cosby won race 1, benefiting from knowledge of the tides, closely followed by Lolo Davies in 2nd and another local sailor George May in 3rd place.  The wind soon picked up with gusts up to 28 knots by the end of the day, favouring the top end of the fleet.  James Foster, winner of the recent Hayling Island Optimist Open, won races 2 and 3.

The regatta fleet saw many of the younger sailors struggling to stay upright in the heavy wind with 9 year old Dylan Creighton commenting the conditions were “wild out there!”.

The fleets enjoyed great sailing conditions on Sunday and 4 races were completed in Main Fleet.  James Foster gave a masterclass in heavy wind sailing, securing the title by winning 2 out of the 4 races.  In 2nd place was Ben Mueller and in 3rd place, Toby Schonrock.  Freddie Howarth, in 4th place, was 1st Junior.

James Foster commented on the weekend’s sailing “5 years ago at this event, I capsized on the way to the course and didn’t make the race course so feel for the younger sailors. But this weekend, the conditions were brilliant and led to tough racing.  On the last race I knew I had to cover the 2 sailors behind me to win the event”.

6 races were completed in regatta fleet, with the title won by Fredrik Ugelstad who won 3 out of the 6 races, followed by Harvey Jenkins and Archie Munro-Price.

Many thanks to the organisers at Royal Lymington Yacht Club, Berthon, New Forest Ice Cream and Coffee Mongers for the great treats, as well as Rooster® for the Series prizes.

Report: Claire Mueller

Hayling Island Sailing Club Optimist Open Report

Meeting 20th and 21st May. Report by Brian Staite

This was the 3rd Optimist Open meeting in the 2017 IOCA (UK) Southern Traveller Series sponsored by Rooster®.

With the tide ebbing directly out of Chichester Harbour straight into the Southerly wind, the 55 Optimist sailors could see the choppy water on the race course from the beach where they were assembled. Soon they were to determine that what they could see wasn’t the half of it and once on the race course it was clear that Hayling Bay was going to provide a real challenge for the scheduled 3 races on day 1.

PRO Tim Dickinson soon had racing underway and the top end of the fleet, many of whom recently qualified for World and European Championship Teams, revelled in the conditions. The younger sailors found the steep waves tricky to manage and the rescue fleet had numerous early customers. Race 1 went to local sailor Finley Dickinson.

Race 2 started soon after and with less water depth and slightly more breeze, the waves had increased. If the upwind legs were tricky, it was the downwind legs that were the real test with fantastic surfing conditions for those with the right technique, but serious wipe-out opportunity for others. James Foster mastered the conditions and won race 2. He also finished off the day with another win in race 3 which was the windiest of the day. With the tide at its lowest level the waves were now so steep that some were turning into proper white water – often when a sailor was already at max speed on the face of it. Many of the top sailors found themselves wiping out and once ashore there were plenty of excited stories being told by sailors and Rescue crews alike.

Sunday dawned brighter and calmer much to the relief of many. The first race of the day was led from start to finish by Toby Schonrock, back on the water after snapping his sprit on day 1. The clouds over the South Downs were building nicely and the breeze was obediently increasing. It had all the signs of a fantastic day of sailing and Race 2 was mastered by Junior sailor Henry Heathcote.

For the 3rd and final race of the day perfection had set in across the racecourse. 12 knots of breeze and bright sunshine made for classic ‘Champagne sailing at Hayling’ conditions – does sailing get any better than this? It was recently crowned Inland Champion, William Pank that took this race but it was the positions just behind him that would be the deciding factor for overall victory.

In the end, equal points score for 1st and 2nd place had to be decided on countback and so it was James Foster that took the overall title. Many thanks to the organisers at HISC for such a great sailing event and also thanks go to Rooster® for the excellent prizes.

Event Results

Series Results

Pictures courtesy of Rosie Berry and Brian Staite

RVYC Open Report

As sailors arrived at RVYC for the annual Rooster Optimist Southern Traveller Series event, the first question on everyone’s lips was “is there going to be any sailing as there is no wind?” With Ian Bullock, a well known National Race Officer at the helm, we were confident that he would do all in his power to get the kids sailing.

With a few zephyrs of wind appearing on the water, the signal was given to launch and an intrepid 32 sailors headed into the Solent. With the prospect of only very light airs and Sunday looking like no wind, the goal was to secure as many races as possible could happen on the Saturday. During the day the wind only topped 8kts but much of the time it was in the region of 4-6 knots which against the tide was a huge challenge for the sailors.

The main fleet had a number of zone squad sailors fighting it out with Matthias Potter and Cameron Hook both securing firsts in all the races between them. Arthur Farley was keen to get a strong finish in what was going to be one of his last events in an Optimist before moving to a larger laser. Matthias from Warsash sailing club sneaked the overall win from Cameron of Gurnard Sailing club and Arthur from RVYC secured third. Annabel Vines was top girl in 4th place with a best finish of a second.

In the regatta fleet which is the launch pad to Optimist sailors going on to compete in the more challenging main fleet, competition was very tight between Findlay Bignold-Kyles and Sabine Potter. With 17 of the 23 entries in regatta fleet coming from off the island, it meant it was tough going for an RVYC sailor to push up the rankings with so much strong competition. However, Finn Evans was keen to put in a very solid performance to secure a strong 3rd place overall for his home club. Regatta fleet also welcomed a number of younger sailors with the lowest being a mighty six years old.

View Event results here

View MF Series results here

View RF Series results here

Well done to all of them! We look forward to welcoming all the sailors back in 2017.

Change to the Traveller Series

The HISC Open is Main Fleet only.   There will not be a Regatta Fleet this year (this is a correction on what was previously advertised for the Traveller Series).  The Notice of Series for the Traveller Series has been updated to reflect the change.

Entry to the Main Fleet will be restricted to sailors who have sailed in Main Fleet at an IOCA Major Event.  Sailing will be in the bay.

You can find out more details here.

The Open is the third event of the Rooster® Southern Traveller Series.

Final session at Spinnaker winter training

After two years , this weekend was Ian Cole’s last session running the IOCA South , Pre Zone Winter Training At Spinnaker Sailing Club near Ringwood for 50 plus young sailors from 7- 11 years.

Ian wanted to really up the standard of everything this year and then finish at the end with something special for the kids to remember – to go out on a high, on his last season in optimists as his kids transition upwards into lasers.

He felt it was just a nice way to say thankyou to Gillian Schonrock (a sailing super hero), to IOCA UK and the optimist fleet for all of the help and support he had received over the years.

Getting the prizes sponsored by Rooster® was a big result and he had loads of really great prizes , enough to cover all 7 flights in our training fleet and then getting Olympic sailor, Saskia Clark MBE on board who not only brought her medals for the kids to actually wear but also brought a bag full of genuine British Sailing Rio Olympic gear to give away to the kids in a raffle was really, really special.

Saskia had a great time laughing with the kids and is a true sailing rock star. She stayed right to the end of the afternoon for photographs and selfies and autographed almost every child’s IOCA medal for them.  We’ve never seen so many happy kids.