Please select your home edition
Edition
Allen 2017 A2069 A2169 Quint

Interview with Team Allen's Ellie Wootton and Issie Speirs

by Mark Jardine on 24 Apr 24 April 2017
Team Allen's Issie Speirs and Ellie Wootton © Mark Jardine / YachtsandYachting.com

We spoke to Ellie Wootton and Issie Speirs, Team Allen sailors in the 420 class, about how they first started sailing, their time in Cadets, being part of Team Allen, who their sailing heroes are, and how their coaches have inspired them.

Mark: How did you first get into sailing?

Issie: I started when I was seven years old when I did an RYA summer course; I absolutely loved it, it was so much fun. From that I joined my local club and then went into the Cadet class.

Ellie: When I was about five I got thrown into a Scow with my mum, and we used to go for picnics on the beach and that's how I learnt to sail. I then did some RYA courses, which I hated at the time; the idea of getting wet hair just didn't appeal to me! As time progressed I started to really enjoy it, and I started sailing Cadets competitively then I transitioned to 420s.

Mark: You both went from crewing in Cadets, then onto helming. What made you decide to team up in the 420 class?

Ellie: To be honest I just looked around and decided that Issie would be one of the best people I could ask to crew for me. She's tall and really talented so it should be good!

Mark: And did you decide who was going to helm and crew purely on height?

Issie: Ellie actually wanted to crew but I'd always looked at crewing and loved it. I'd done a bit of 29er crewing before and I always wanted to sail a 420. We talked about teaming up together and then she is a very good helm!

Mark: Your first event in the 420 was the 2016 Autumn Championship, how did that go?

Ellie: It actually went really well! The weekend before we'd capsized around 100 times but during the event we didn't capsize once, despite it being really windy (25-30 knots). It was howling and we had so much fun and finished as fifth girls, which was great for our first event.

Mark: What does being part of Team Allen mean to?

Issie: It's a lovely network of people. We get to try new kit, like the Keyball trapeze system. It's being able to use new types of sailing equipment which are really good.

Mark: What difference do you think it'll make having the Keyball System when you're trapezing?

Issie: It should be a quicker, easier and safer way to clip on, making transitions smoother and improving our teamwork. It's one less system to have to think about as the system is so much quicker and easier to use.

Mark: Ellie, do you have a favourite piece of Allen kit that you like to use?

Ellie: Yes, I really like my ratchet block. It's so much easier than what I had in the Cadet. When I went back to the Cadet for the Worlds I found my mainsheet so much heavier just because the ratchet wasn't as effective.

Mark: What are your aspirations for the 2017 season?

Issie: We started with the Youth Nationals and we're trying to qualify for the Youth Squad. We have fitness profiling for that and we're hoping to also qualify for the Europeans in Athens, leading onto the Worlds in Fremantle. That's the dream, but it's all about having fun, developing good teamwork and improving the whole time.

Mark: Who are your sailing heroes?

Ellie: I have two. My first is the obvious one in Hannah Mills, she's such an amazing sailor and she came to talk to us during the Cadet Nationals. She's so inspirational, has worked so hard to get where she is, and that has paid off. My other is Sam Brearey who coached me from when I was nine years old; having someone who is so talented help you is extremely motivating.

Issie: My coach last year was Mark 'Corky' Rhodes. He was amazing and give me the belief and attitude that I could go out and do it when sailing.

Mark: So you both found your coaches have become your inspirations for your own sailing?

Ellie: Definitely. Also our coach at the Cadet Worlds in Argentina, Pablo Volker, did a lot of psychological work with us, helping our mental attitude, which really helped as sailing is so much a mind-game. He really helped us get over a bad race, getting over it and back on with the sailing. Everyone's going to have a bad race, a bad beat or a bad start now and again and it's all about recovering from that quickly.

Mark: Are your aspirations to follow in Hannah's footsteps into the 470 class and the Olympics at some point?

Ellie: We'll see how it goes. Obviously that would be amazing and a dream but you can't say that you're going to get there.

Issie: Hopefully! Who knows what the future holds?

Mark: The best of luck for the 2017 season. Go out there and have fun!

Ellie & Issie: Thank you very much!

Find out more about Team Allen at allensail.com/team-allen and about Allen Brothers at www.allenbrothers.co.uk

Related Articles

DAME Award again
We speak to Drue Kerr, Senior Designer at Zhik We caught up with Drue Kerr, Senior Designer at Zhik, who have just won the DAME Award in the clothing category for their Isotak X Ocean range. Posted on 15 Nov
I am not a number
David Henshall looks at dinghy handicapping You probably have to be at the very least middle aged to fully appreciate the tag line reference to 'The Prisoner' TV series, but as that means you're in the demographic majority it is okay to continue. Posted on 14 Nov
Mixing Work and Play
We speak to Alpine Elements MD James Hardiman We spoke to James Hardiman, the Managing Director and founder of Alpine Elements and Ocean Elements, about his life in business, the overlaps between his work and play, his own sailing and the Solo Wolf Rock Race he took part in this year. Posted on 10 Nov
Interview with Mike Sugden
About the latest B&G software version 4.5 features We spoke to Mike Sugden, Instrument Product Expert at Navico, about the latest B&G software version 4.5 which now includes full integration with PredictWind, and how advanced start line features are now standard on Zeus and Vulcan chart plotters. Posted on 8 Nov
Graphics, Coatings, Creative
A year of diversification for Grapefruit Big changes are happening to Grapefruit this year as we speak to Andy Yeomans, Founder and CEO to find out more. Posted on 2 Nov
Growing classes and exports at Ovington Boats
We speak to Nathan Batchelor about the 2017 season Ovington Boats has had a great season, supporting the classes they build, while adding a couple of new ones to their roster. We spoke to Ovington's Nathan Batchelor to find out more... Posted on 19 Oct
60 years of Crewsaver, 30 years of Crewfit
And the 'beautiful art' of simplification Crewsaver has come a long way since the original hand-welded, orally inflated lifejackets and buoyancy bags sixty years ago. Along the way they've introduced automatic inflation, dual chambers and then in 1984 Crewfit came along. Posted on 18 Oct
Endeavour Trophy 2017 overall
Hat trick for Saxton and Lewis Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis today added another three wins to their already impressive haul of first places from yesterday to win the 2017 Endeavour Trophy series with a race to spare writes Sue Pelling. Posted on 15 Oct
Endeavour Trophy 2017 day 1
Red hot racing leaves reigning champs just one point ahead With three wins in the bag after today's Endeavour Trophy opening five races, Ben Saxton and Toby Lewis (reigning Endeavour champions) lead the Endeavour Trophy series by just one point from Nick Craig and Holly Scott (D-One) writes Sue Pelling. Posted on 14 Oct
Endeavour Trophy 'Full House'
30 national champions ready for battle in Burnham A total of 30 entries have signed up for the dinghy champion of champions' event – the Endeavour Trophy – this weekend (13-15 October). Posted on 13 Oct