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CoastWaterSports 2014

IOCA Optimist Winter Championships at Draycote Water Sailing Club

by Stephen Wright 1 Dec 2023 11:04 GMT 25-26 November 2023

After enjoying the warmest November on record north of the border, Scottish Optimist sailors arriving at Draycote Water Sailing Club for the IOCA Winter Championships were in for a shock. With low temperatures all weekend it certainly felt like winter but as Andrew Perratt from Helensburgh Sailing Club and overall winner of the event said, "It was freezing cold but despite the conditions we all had lots of fun and laughs."

It is eighteen months since the Optimist Class were last at Draycote and it was good to remember what a fine venue it is both on and off the water - plenty of space for trailers and campervans, slick launching of RIBs and a warm bar at the end of the day. The club accommodated over a hundred Optimists with ease and made everyone feel very welcome.

Saturday dawned icy cold but by registration time there was a gentle north westerly breeze and the low, winter sunshine added a little warmth. After a briefing by PRO Imogen Gibb, and some wise advice from Class Judge Sian Reynolds, delta flag was raised and the fleets launched.

The first Main Fleet race got under way cleanly. Jonny Rogers from Royal Lymington YC led round the windward mark and kept the lead until the finish. While in the Intermediate Fleet, Zoe Green from Netley SC, enjoyed some close racing and took the win in their first race. The race committee got the second races away quickly, with Andrew Perratt taking the win in Main Fleet and Zoe her second win of the day in Inters.

Towards the end of the second race the breeze dropped and veered north, making it a beat to the finish line for some. Imogen repositioned the committee boat, while the mark layers, glad of the chance to warm up, lifted all the marks and re-laid the course ready for the third race of the day.

In such a competitive class as the Optimist it must be pretty special to win a Main Fleet race at a national event, to win one as a ten year old even more so. Congratulations to Charlie Holland of Hayling Island SC who described his win in the third race, "I had a good start off the pin, tacked onto port, got lifted up into the mark and it all just clicked into place from there." He makes it sound so simple...

In the intermediate fleet, Felix Palmer-Ward of HISC/Emsworth SC, took the third race leaving him in second place, just two points behind Zoe with it all to play for on Sunday.

By now the sailors had been on the water for around four hours and Imogen made the sensible decision to bring them in. Almost all were satisfied; only the unlucky few with 101 points from a U-flag in their score were left wishing for another race!

Hot chocolate and flapjacks with lots of golden syrup were just what the sailors needed and after changing, everyone gathered in the bar. By popular demand and with thanks to our sponsors Gill, our prize give-away, 'In It To Win It!' was back for the Winters, compered by Sarah Rennard.

After much excitement, it was time for medals, as we took a moment to recognise the commitment shown by the 29 Optimist sailors who had competed in all five IOCA Championship weekends and the Nationals in 2023. (The irony of receiving a sustainable, wooden medal for travelling the length and breadth of the country wasn't lost on the parents!)

Sunday morning felt colder again with a heavy frost and low cloud. Well done to the whole fleet for being rigged and ready on time, despite some sailors having to defrost their mainsheets in bailers of hot water and others having to chip ice out of their boats. After a race committee meeting, racing was postponed for one hour, waiting for wind.

While waiting, some sailors stayed in the club house and kept warm, others hung about in the boat park, lifting sheets of ice off the boat covers and shattering them harmlessly on the ground. Those of you who remember Jacob Jull's expert piano playing at Parkstone YC would have enjoyed it when Ewan Hamilton, who heads up the rock band Triangulation Station pulled out his guitar and, perched on the gunwale of his Optimist, played a quick rendition of 'Here Comes the Sun' to chase away the winter drizzle and fog. He must have had cold fingers but it worked!

Out on the water, Imogen and her committee boat crew had been waiting for over an hour, reminiscing/hallucinating about summer days on the water in shorts and a t-shirt. By midday they were satisfied that there was sufficient breeze across the race course and, after consulting with the Safety Officer, Sailing Officer and Child Welfare Officer, delta flag was displayed and the Main Fleet launched.

The south westerly breeze was a light but steady 4 knots and Main Fleet managed two fair races back-to-back, with the second and final race finishing at the windward mark of the outer loop, allowing a quicker sail home.

With impeccable timing the Intermediate Fleet arrived in the race area and were in sequence and racing with a minimum of hanging around. The fleet included some quite young sailors and it remained bitterly cold - one being caught on camera doing star jumps in her Oppie to keep warm! After one good race the Intermediate fleet also headed ashore, to a bowl of warm pasta, a change of clothes and prize-giving.

Andrew Perratt sailed very well on Sunday with two race wins, taking the lead back from Charlie Holland who finished a very credible second overall. Eliana Edwards sailed consistently well, finishing third overall and the first girl.

Intermediate fleet continued to provide close racing with five sailors having top three finishes in the weekend's races. In the end, Zoe Green, who was fifth in Inters at Parkstone, won the event and said, "It was one cold event with not much breeze on either day but very competitive in Intermediate Fleet, so it was a huge shock to go and win it. It was much closer than the results made it look."

As ever, the young sailors were amazing and showed great spirit and resilience to sail and compete in such wintery conditions - every sailor sailed on both days. Here's to a warmer weekend at the Spring Championships and until then, I'll leave you with a Haiku, written by Nick O'Donnell, father of Darcy (GBR 6512)...

Volunteers we thank,
New parents join, values guide.
Sailing's life we teach

More photos available

Intermediate Fleet Results:

PosSail NoNameR1R2R3R4Pts
15961Zoe Green11‑213
25813Felix Palmer Ward‑32136
36350Charlotte Davis28‑14414
45556Finn Neal735‑2115
55908BUDDY HUNT10‑133518
66354Hugo Thomas56‑12819
76334Cara Lynch957‑1921
84508JACOB RICHARDSON117‑15624
95754Phoebe Phillpot‑1298724
106571Fraser Smith‑17461727
116393Cameron Ritchie410‑221327
126507Sam Bourke(NSC)1613231
136552Amelia Browne8149‑1831
146555Eleanor Hughes15‑1941433
154273Leon Grundy6‑2018933
166246Oscar Stephens‑1812111538
174581Robby Mayo1615‑171142
185881Tamsin ROWNTREE141120‑2245
195916Clarissa Jackson‑2418191047
205988Camilla Garlick20‑22102050
216501Ayla Griffiths131721(DNC)51
225708Elsie Munro2121‑231658
236212Maxim Lucas222316(DNC)61
246365Martha Hughes23(DNC)DNC1263
254630Jake White19(DNC)242366
265687Charlotte McGaughey(NSC)24252473
276196Daisy Abney‑Hastings25(DNC)262576

Main Fleet Results:

PosSail NoNameR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st6624Andrew Perratt51‑11118
2nd6451Charlie Holland3813‑4315
3rd6632Eliana Edwards447‑8217
4th6611Jonny Rogers19‑1810828
5th6316Patrick Di Salle133413‑1933
6th6606Noah Mathers7123‑281133
7th6531Hugo Fletcher221518‑3037
8th6444Pippa Shepherd22105‑39643
9th6298Thomas Knight207252‑5954
10th6628Harry Draper611‑26162356
11th6610Nia Byrne1113(UFD)25958
12th6374Freddie JONES26‑371091863
13th6553Finn Ramus‑37613341669
14th6349Felix Garlick917‑41321371
15th6631Alex Saunders1421(UFD)142271
16th6636Isla Hutchinson30202‑402072
17th6529Henry Cruse1914‑30291072
18th6546Wilbur Palmer Ward82417‑302574
19th6311Sean Di Salle‑34153126779
20th6515Rupert Garlick352816‑55382
21st6163Stella Davey‑40233227486
22nd6595Lizzie Hudson‑462612331586
23rd6618William Moss2527335‑3590
24th6621Hector Davies‑501628242492
25th6639Rory Armstrong10‑4040351499
26th6242Jacob Jull122534‑6629100
27th6593Fraser Hakes1733‑532327100
28th6622Laszlo Drummond24‑51232133101
29th6563Rupert Purnell1842‑44636102
30th6352Chloe Davis4343611‑52103
31st6270Harry Ramshaw28193720‑42104
32nd6472William Shaw2952156‑58111
33rd6644Tom Keegan683187‑94114
34th6355Robin Wright3918(UFD)3132120
35th6453Alice Atkin16(SCP)94353121
36th6605Gughi Ceccatelli3145424‑70122
37th6594Finn Byrne5835(UFD)1517125
38th6147Gracie Allsopp1529‑514241127
39th6516Callum Marshall38222741‑44128
40th255Jai Mutreja‑5532351946132
41st6600Niamh Epstein324924‑7131136
42nd6454Freddie Pank2334(UFD)1773147
43rd6572Oscar Hoyle21412959‑77150
44th4940Rachel Elms336147‑6412153
45th6449Harry Whelan36‑54393649160
46th6231Ewan Hamilton4847‑594628169
47th6523William Fuller44‑77196048171
48th6640Pippa Knights‑694461635173
49th6500Henry Blades‑5353463740176
50th6480Natalie Ayling52‑74575221182
51st6190Felix Gladman49‑89204866183
52nd6446Sam Machell‑7369146934186
53rd6476Joshua Ayling54592254‑68189
54th6430Isla Hill514643‑7050190
55th6617Finley Browne2767‑794454192
56th6576Arthur Pattison474850‑9247192
57th6381Carwyn Parry‑6763385738196
58th6512Darcy O'Donnell61‑70364555197
59th6558Roisin Epstein‑8152753837202
60th6505Guy Kent‑5655545351213
61st6578Ruby Coster713948‑8062220
62nd6313Alanna Starkie‑8638735856225
63rd6368Merryn Wealthy663649‑7676227
64th6484Isabella Deas41626362‑83228
65th6317amelie fairhead427255‑8160229
66th6039Jacques Kent6479‑896726236
67th6342Amelie Renard8082‑911263237
68th6434Will Keys‑Batson625878‑8939237
69th6282Finlay Ritchie84904522‑97241
70th5500Alex Welfare‑7657607457248
71st6404Edward Taylor70765647‑85249
72nd6514Kate Charlesworth‑8360587261251
73rd6483Edie Rogers‑8268665167252
74th6013Lochlyn Grant63‑92688345259
75th6107Rory Luddington‑9356527582265
76th6569Charlie Knights72‑88674980268
77th6395Meg Thomas‑8550657975269
78th6432Oscar Coates60‑91698264275
79th6439Jack Ward6575‑807365278
80th6360Emily Leary‑7965746874281
81st6424Beth Llewellyn458562‑9491283
82nd5370Oscar Manning‑9164647878284
83rd6460Monty Levell75817165‑84292
84th6570Charlotte Self‑8971727772292
85th6418Tristan Shaw‑9078885081297
86th5970Tomos Martin‑9473866186306
87th6551Elvi Coates5787‑908779310
88th6615Meri Greenaway7884‑858571318
89th5997Isaac Thomas599770‑9893319
90th6343Molly Martin74837786‑99320
91st6591Hector Jackson876681‑9088322
92nd6027Hugh Walker92‑94828469327
93rd6464Ryan Surguy888076‑9589333
94th6229Kit Bentall779683‑9987343
95th6382Jack Harding‑9686878895356
96th6344Finlay White‑9593849390360
97th6643Finnian Keegan98‑99929692378
98th6638Lexa Taylor‑Green97‑98949198380
99th6306George McCormick‑9995939796381
100th1665Gemma Brady(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC404

Medal winners:

Amelia Browne
Andrew Perratt
Beth Llewellyn
Callum Marshall
Charlie Holland
Charlotte Self
Clarissa Jackson
Darcy O'Donnell
Emily Leary
Finlay White
Finley Browne
Finnian Keegan
Harry Draper
Harry Whelan
Hector Jackson
Hugo Thomas
Jonny Rogers
Lizzie Hudson
Meg Thomas
Molly Martin
Merryn Wealthy
Niamh Epstein
Robin Wright
Noah Mathers
Roisin Epstein
Ruby Coster
Stella Davey
William Fuller
Tom Keegan

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