Choosing Your Fleet

Most of the regattas in the Southern Traveller Series offer both a Main Fleet (for more experienced sailors) and a Regatta Fleet (for less experienced sailors).  In the UK, the decision on when to move is up to the sailor/parents.  This is a guide to help you when choosing which fleet.  Note:  during the year that you are planning to transition, it is a good idea to do a mix of Main and Regatta fleet events at the Club regattas, until you are ready to transition permanently.

The standard in each fleet

Moving from Regatta Fleet to Main Fleet is a little bit like making the move to secondary school.  The standard of sailing is a lot higher, fleet sizes are generally larger, and you may find yourself next to some of the top sailors in the country on the start line.  Whilst these may seem a bit daunting at first, sailing in the Main Fleet will give you an opportunity to learn from others around you, and once you have settled in, you won’t look back.  Main Fleet will always stay out for lunch on the water, so be prepared to stay out for several hours, eat and toilet on the water (over the side is easiest…).

If you are regularly near the front of Regatta Fleet, can hover confidently on a start line, then you may find that you learn a lot more from the challenge of Main Fleet.

Zone Squad

Zone Squad provides a natural point for transitioning.  The qualifying events for Zone Squad are held in September each year.  Sailors applying for Zone Squad must sail in Main Fleet at the qualifying events.  If you are planning to apply for Zone Squad, it is a good idea to have done at least one or two events in Main Fleet before the qualifying events, to gain some experience of sailing in Main Fleet.

Details of the qualifying events are added to the Winter Training Guide (see Winter Training section of website) as soon as they become available each year.

Once sailors have been accepted into Zone Squad, they are required to sail in Main Fleet at the national events.

Transition Age

Note:  Ages on this website refer to your Oppie (ISAF) age, which is the age you will be on 31st December.

There is no set age to transition from Regatta Fleet to Main Fleet, as the time to transition is usually driven by experience, rather than age. The maximum age for applying to Zone Squad is 12.  Most sailors in the Squad are between 10 and 12 years, with some 9 yr olds.  At national events, sailors generally transition from Regatta Fleet to Main Fleet at between 9 and 12 years.

For the Club regattas, if you are an older sailor (aged 11 or 12 and in Regatta Fleet), then you may want to think about trying Main Fleet sooner rather than later, if you think that you might be ready to move.  It can be more fun sailing with your peers, and you are more likely to qualify for Zone Squad if you have had practice in Main Fleet before the qualifying events.

Southern Traveller Series

The Southern Traveller Series is designed to encourage sailors throughout the South to take part in a range of regattas throughout the year.  It’s great to see sailors and parents actively engaging with the Series, and we hope that it provides opportunities to make new friends, and sail in new places.

However, we do not recommend that sailors place more emphasis on the Series, than planning their transition to Main Fleet.  It is more important that you continue to learn in a challenging environment and prepare for the Zones qualification events, than to focus on doing well in the Series.  So, if you might have chosen to sail in Main Fleet, if it was not for the Series, then our advice would be to take the opportunity to progress your learning and experience, by making the transition to Main Fleet at the right time for you.

Switching back again

At the national events, moving to Main Fleet tends to be a one way trip, although there is usually a specific provision in the NOR for the regatta fleets at the Nationals allowing sailors to move back.  This is to accommodate lake sailors who are less confident with sea venues.

At the Club regatta level, it is a good idea to switch during the transition year between fleets.  See below for guidance on which events are good to try out in Main Fleet.

Club Regattas

Every venue is slightly different.  See below for our guide to choosing your fleet at the Southern Traveller Series venues.

Burghfield SC (One Day Event)

Burghfield is a sheltered inland venue which typically sees around 60% of the forecast wind.  This is a good event to have your first go in Main or Regatta Fleet.  Entries for their Summer and Winter Regattas are high (typically 70-100 in Main Fleet and 40 in Regatta Fleet).  When oversubscribed they sometimes run a Coached Regatta Fleet as well.  All fleets come in for lunch.

Chichester YC (One Day Event)

The Chichester Open is one of the smaller events in the Series.  The Regatta Fleet is aimed at less experienced sailors.  This is a good event to have your first go in Main Fleet, as you are not likely to be competing against large numbers of the top sailors.

Chichester YC does put restrictions on who can sail in Regatta Fleet in their NOR, so you should check to see if you are eligible for Regatta Fleet at this event.

Haying Island SC (Two Day Event)

This is one of the larger events in the Series (typically 70-100 in Main Fleet and 40-50 in Regatta Fleet).  Main Fleet sail either in the harbour, or in the bay.  The venue is challenging (particularly in the bay), and entry to Main Fleet is therefore usually restricted to those sailors who have sailed in Main Fleet at one of the major national events.

Regatta fleet sail in the harbour.  Due to tide restrictions, sailors do not come in for lunch.  This may not be the ideal event for your very first regatta, unless you are a quite experienced club racer.

Mudeford SC (One Day Event, Regatta Fleet only)

This is an ideal event for your first regatta.  The water is sheltered and shallow and all racing takes place a few paddle-board strokes from the Clubhouse, a converted Dutch barge.

Parkstone YC (Two Day Event)

This is one of the larger events in the Series (typically 70-100 in Main Fleet and 50 in Regatta Fleet if Club logistics allow).  Main Fleet sail in the Top Triangle, which provides good quality racing in a harbour environment.  The sailing area is a 20 minute sail from the Club, so sailors do not come in for lunch.  The Main Fleet attracts top sailors, but the sailing area also makes it suitable for those looking to try out their first go in Main Fleet.

Regatta Fleet sail just outside the marina, and come in for lunch.  The venue makes it a good choice for a first regatta, although the size of the Regatta Fleet may make it more challenging than some of the smaller events.  Whilst this is a tidal venue, the event is usually run on dates when the tidal impact is minimal.

Royal Lymington YC (Two Day Event)

This is one of the larger events in the Series (typically 70-100 in Main Fleet and 50 in Regatta Fleet).  Main Fleet sail in the Solent, a 20 minute sail from the Club.  In windy conditions, this can be a very challenging venue.  Entry to Main Fleet is therefore usually restricted to those sailors who have sailed in Main Fleet at at least two national events.

Regatta fleet usually sail in Oxey Lake or in the Solent, depending on the tides.  Whilst more protected than the main Solent, Oxey Lake is part of the Solent, not a separate lake.  This is a 20 minute sail from the Club, so sailors do not come in for lunch.  Whilst it provides great racing for the top end of Regatta Fleet, this is perhaps not an event for your very first regatta.

Royal Victoria YC (Two Day Event)

This is a smaller event with 10-20 sailors in each fleet. Both fleets sail in the Solent.

With a smaller Main Fleet with few of the top sailors attending, this is a great event to have your first go in Main Fleet.  For Regatta Fleet sailors, the tides can make this a little challenging, but the small size and coaching provided make it a welcoming regatta for those who are new to racing.

Spinnaker SC (One Day Event)

Spinnaker is a sheltered inland venue, where both fleets come in for lunch.  This is a great event to have your first go in Main or Regatta Fleet.  Entries are high (typically 40-50 in Main Fleet and 40-50 in Regatta Fleet).

The regatta is typically held in September, making it a great opportunity for sailors who have learned to race over the Summer, to have their first go at travelling to a regatta.

Warsash SC (Two Day Event)

This is another of the larger sea venues.  Entries are high (typically  around 40-50 in each fleet).  The Main Fleet sailing area is around 2 miles from the Club and in the open Solent, making it a quite challenging event.  Regatta Fleet sail not far from the Club in a more sheltered location, although they do not come in for lunch.

National Events

Click here for advice on which fleet to choose at the national events.