Please select your home edition
Product Feature - PROtect Tapes Optimist kit - PROtect Tapes Optimist kit

2021 IOCA Gill Winter Championships at Rutland Sailing Club

by Debbie Smith 27 Nov 2021 08:10 GMT 20-21 November 2021
Main fleet launching during the Optimist Winter Championship at Rutland © Mark Webster

The 2021 IOCA Gill Winter Championships at Rutland Water offered winter sailing at its very best - bright, cold and breezy - and the challenging conditions seemed to bring out the best in everyone.

115 Optimist sailors, ranging from 8-15 years old, braved conditions that became ever more challenging as the weekend progressed, showing great enthusiasm and a competitive spirit.

The Regatta Fleet sailed fantastically, especially on the Sunday, completing an eight-race series under the experienced eye of Race Officer Imogen Gibbs. Ben McEwen (Royal Lymington YC) showed the fleet a clean pair of heels, results-wise, followed by Rupert Garlick (Burghfield SC) and Callum Marshall (Blackwater SC), with Nia Byrne (Bewl Valley SC) first girl in 4th place. Rupert Garlick also won the sportsmanship award. The Endeavour award had many contenders on such a cold weekend, but it was awarded to Thies Schuerch (Rutland S Club, Hykeham SC), who showed great grit and determination throughout the weekend.

Youngsters sailing in such conditions is impressive at any age, but some of the competitors were at their first IOCA event and they dealt with capsizes, equipment failure, plummeting temperatures and big gusts with huge grins and serious gumption, giving it their absolute best until they were simply too tired to continue. A special word to the safety fleets for their excellent work in making sure the kids felt secure out on the water, and their parents felt confident in pushing them off from shore to race.

For the 82 boats in Main Fleet, the regatta was very much tale of two halves. On the Saturday, the wind was a stable 8 knots for race 1 and conditions were mild. Competition on the start line was keen, with six boats collecting a U flag disqualification in race 1 and 9 boats falling foul of the black flag in race 2. The wind built slightly over the day and the temperature plummeted for the first beat of Race 3.

A very cold northerly wind arrived overnight, which saw the older and more experienced sailors relishing 20-knot gusts, after many months of light wind events - with the breeze topping out towards the end of race 4, when the wind increased to 20-22 knots for several minutes, representing quite a challenge for the newer members of the fleet. All sailors were hiking hard in the frosty conditions to keep themselves warm.

Under the experienced control of Race Officer Charlie Stowe, Main Fleet completed six races, and by the end of the series there were some very tired and cold sailors showing great perseverance and determination to record a finish on what was a really challenging day's racing. The series was won by Archie Munro-Price (Lymington YC and Castle Cove SC), closely followed by Hugh Andrews (Blackwater SC) and Joe Jones (Burghfield SC), with Archie and Joe giving a master class in heavy wind sailing in Sunday's fruity conditions. The girls stuck together, with Lila Edwards (Parkstone YC), Tabitha Davies (Royal Lymington YC) and Ciara Murphy (Cayman Islands Sailing Club, Royal Hospital School) taking 4th to 6th places. The Endeavour award (again another award with a lot of contenders!) went to Noah Mathers (Burnham SC), while the sportsmanship prize went to Emily Leary (Tata SC), who went back into the lake at the end of sailing on Sunday and helped to catch the smallest and most tired main fleet sailors at the back of the fleet - despite having been on the water all day herself. An example of great sportsmanship!

IOCA UK would like to thank the entire team at Rutland Sailing Club for looking after the sailors and their families so wonderfully - laying on breakfast, lunch and dinner, including spectacular cheesy chips and hot chocolate with marshmallows bigger than the sailors! The IOCA committee would also like to thank all the parent volunteers that made the weekend possible - and, as always, extend their gratitude to sponsors Gill, and Noble Marine - as well as our partners in getting kids on the water, RYA British Youth Sailing. We simply couldn't do it without you all.

Related Articles

38th Christmas Race at Clube Naval de Cascais
250 sailors of all ages compete This weekend took place the 38th edition of the already traditional Christmas Race, which brought together around 250 sailors of all ages at the Clube Naval de Cascais, for a championship that was for many the last of this year. Posted on 5 Dec
Application open for recyclable sailing school
Competition opens to sailing clubs globally Northern Light Composites and not-for-profit Clean Sailors have opened a competition to give sailing clubs around the world the chance to own one of the first ecoOptimists ever produced. Posted on 1 Dec
Derbyshire Youth Sailing at Staunton Harold
Buoy number 7 became everyone's least favourite mark Our last Derbyshire Youth Event of 2022 saw 15 boats registering at Staunton Harold Sailing Club on Saturday 29th October. Posted on 6 Nov
Halloween Cup at Lake Garda, Italy overall
A record number of participants, record heat and great breeze The Halloween Cup Optimist class closed the sailing season on Garda Trentino-lake Garda in style: a record number of participants, record heat for this period and strong wind on the second day ensured an edition, the tenth, to remember. Posted on 2 Nov
Halloween Cup at Lake Garda, Italy day 2
Nothing short of fantastic The second day of the Optimist Halloween Cup, organised by Circolo Vela Torbole with 614 helmsmen at the start, was nothing short of fantastic and certainly repaid the early rise needed to be on the water ready for the first scheduled start at 8:00. Posted on 1 Nov
Halloween Cup at Lake Garda, Italy day 1
A record 614 sailors from 22 nations The Halloween Cup of the Optimist class began at Circolo Vela Torbole, in collaboration with the Italian Sailing Federation and the Garda Trentino Vela Consortium. Posted on 31 Oct
Gill Marine Optimist End of Seasons Championship
Everything was against the event happening... Royal Southern Yacht Club hosted the IOCA End of Seasons Championship with a fruity 25-35knts winds forecasted for the whole weekend, at one stage leaving the organisers questioning whether they would even get a race in. Posted on 20 Oct
5th Autumn Meeting Trofeo Ezio Torboli concludes
Ukrainian Madonich on the top step of the junior podium in Riva del Garda The 5th edition of the Autumn Meeting Optimist-45th Ezio Torboli Trophy, organised by Fraglia Vela Riva in collaboration with FIV and the Garda Trentino Vela Consortium, has come to an end. Posted on 17 Oct
Sail Sandy Regatta at Sandringham YC concludes
It was a fantastic event for young sailor Callum Simmons The 2022 Sail Sandy Regatta has been run and won, with Optimist sailor Callum Simmons being crowned boat of the regatta after a dominant display over the entire weekend. Posted on 16 Oct
Arab Sailing Championship overall
Medals decided on the final day at Barceló Mussanah Resort The Arab Sailing Championships came to a close after five days of exceptional racing from the best young sailors in the region in perfect conditions at Barceló Mussanah Resort. Posted on 16 Oct