Category Archives: News

Lots of Sailing available this Easter!

As we head towards the main Optimist racing season there are plenty of opportunities coming up where you can put your IOCA Winter Training to good use!

Firstly we have the Regional Training Regatta @ Burghfield on Saturday April 13th. Catering for Regatta Fleet sailors this is sure to be a great event with a good turnout expected from those who’ve been training @ Spinnaker, Bosham & Burghfield during the winter.

For more details and to enter please visit: 

Although not strictly speaking in the South, we then head up to Grafham Water SC for their two day Easter Egg event on Fri/Sat April 19th/20th. This event also includes racing for Topper and PY Handicap classes so bring your friends from other Youth classes along. After racing on Saturday there’s an Easter Egg Hunt for all participants 🙂

For more details and to enter visit:

Then it’s back down South for the Regatta Fleet Open at Spinnaker Sailing Club on Saturday April 27th. Catering for both Regatta and Coached Regatta sailors, Spinnaker SC is an ideal venue for those new to Open meetings. Parents, friends and family can even watch the racing from the club veranda.

To more details and to enter visit


Rooster Southern Traveller Series @ Burghfield Sept 8th 2018

The 2018/2019 Rooster Southern Traveller Series kicked off with the Burghfield SC Open on September 8th. The event was also the IOCA Thames Valley Champs and a South and Thames Valley Zone Squad Qualifier hence the great turnout of 90+ in the Main Fleet and 45 in Regatta Fleet. A full report is available here

Burghfield Optimist Summer Open - photo © Alex Irwin /

copyright Alex Irwin –


IOCA South Pre Nationals Training @ Bosham SC – July 25th to 27th

Over the hottest days of the year, blue skies and force 1 to 3 were booked for the IOCA South pre-nationals training at Bosham sailing club from 25th to 27th July. For once the weather gods delivered perfectly and even threw in a magnificent thunder storm to celebrate the training’s conclusion (we weren’t scared honestly….)

14 sailors travelled from Bosham SC, Emsworth SC, Burghfield SC, and the Royal Victoria YC on the Isle of Wight to make sense of the wonderfully challenging tides in and around the Bosham channel. Day one saw sailors assessing the best way to use the ebb and flow to their advantage to win races. Isabelle, Honor and India demonstrated local knowledge comes in useful, to get a head start but doesn’t help for long when training with 11 other alert sailors who quickly spot and copy the home advantage, Finn and Noah especially weren’t going to be fooled for long.

Speedy beating was the aim of day two. Variable wind and wind with tide gave perfect conditions to practise upwind sailing, keeping the sailors on their toes trimming their boats. Squat, Side, Hike, now Kiwi, Squat, Hike. Scarlet and Zac showed slick skills at reading the changing wind strengths while Oscar and George respectively suggested tacking facing backwards in an Optimist should probably be avoided and buoyancy bags work best when inflated.

Starting and navigating congested points around the race course was the focus of day three with the sailors choosing to dine afloat to make the most of the conditions. “I hovered!!” exclaimed an excited Lucy after one start. “My boat doesn’t sink with air in the bags!!” exclaimed George and Tom. Well I’m very glad you all learnt something from the training.

All sailor hopefully leave with some new and improved skills to test over the summer, and definitely leave with better rigged boats thanks to the coaches Emily Walters and Oliver Hill. A big thank you to  Head Coach Andy Kerr, Bosham SC for hosting the training and making their fantastic site at Cobnor available and a thank you to the parents for allowing coaches and Optimist sailors to use their power boats. Have a great summer to all sailors and parents and good luck to those making the journey to Pwhelli next weekend.


IOCA South Pre Nationals Training @ Hamble River SC – July 25th to 27th

17 keen Optimist racers joined coaches Sophie Holloway, Peter Baddeley and Sarah Jarman for three days of Pre Nationals training based out of Hamble River SC. As well as sailors from Warsash SC, HRSC and the Royal Southern YC we were pleased to welcome Theo Smith from Barnt Green who travelled down from the Midlands to join the fun.

The coaches kept the participants busy with a real variety of training exercises and some informal  racing. All the sailors enjoyed the training and are looking forward to putting their new skills to the test at the Nationals in Pwllheli starting next Sunday August 5th.

I spoke to a few of them about their favourite part of the training. See below, some answers may be upsetting to any Oppy parent who spends far too much time and money on keeping these racing machines in tip top condition……….

Evie (10) – I liked the Sprit racing where we lay over the front of the boat and used our Sprit as a paddle

Ella (11) – I liked the wet whistle game

Felix (8) – I liked doing press ups on the boat

Marcus (9) – I liked practicing my upwind sailing

Ffion (10) – I liked winning my first race

Kai (11) – I liked the racing best as I could practice what we’d been learning

Sabine (11) – I liked playing “Mark Mayhem”, we all sail downwind together and then all round the mark  at the same time

Thanks to Sarah, Peter and Sophie for the excellent coaching. Thanks also to Julian @ HRSC for letting us use their facilities. If you’d like to host some IOCA South training at your club please contact

Easter Regatta Fleet Training @ Warsash Sailing Club 11th to 13th April

16 enthusiastic young Optimist sailors participated in the latest IOCA (South) training event, hosted by Warsash SC. Although primarily a Regatta fleet event we were joined by some of the South Zone Squad which gave the less experienced sailors a chance to watch and learn from their peers.

Lead coach Will Bedford assisted by John Brooker, Nik Froud and Imogen Kemp kept the sailors busy with a mixture of drills afloat, shore based learning and some informal racing. Judging by the smiles at the end of the training on Friday afternoon everyone had a good time or maybe that was just due to the exceptional selection of cakes for Oppie tea……..

Next on the IOCA South Training calendar is the regional regatta @ Burghfield SC on April 28th

Following this we have Pre Nationals Training running concurrently at Hamble River SC and Bosham SC on July 25th to 27th. Keep an eye on  for further details, entries for Hamble & Bosham will open in May.

Ongoing Training – Spring & Summer ’18

We are actively looking to build on the success of this Winter’s IOCA South regional training at Spinnaker & Bosham. Whilst we can assist with coaches etc it’s venues and local organisers that we really need!

First event is now confirmed – 3 days of Regatta Fleet training at Warsash Sailing Club during the Easter Holidays, Wed 11th to Fri 13thApril. For more details and to book please click here

if you’d like to run an event at your club please get in touch with Roger Cerrato

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.