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IOCA UK GBR at the Optimist Europeans in Cadiz

by Richard Breese 13 Jul 2021 01:25 PDT 20-27 June 2021
Tune Up before the first start during the Optimist Europeans in Cadiz © Steve Irish

Following on from the return of the IOCA UK GBR Development Team 1 - 2021 from Lake Garda, 5 days later on Thursday 17th June it was the turn of the IOCA UK GBR Europeans Team - 2021 to head off to the Optimist European Championships in Cadiz.

Before telling that story we would like to say a big thanks to Gill for sponsoring the team with some of their fantastic dry bags which were perfect for taking kit to and from the sailing club each day.

Once again, the team consisting of 4 girls and 5 boys had earned their place at the Optimist Team Selection Trials, a 4-day event held in May.

Accompanying the team as Coach was Steve Irish who has many years' experience coaching youth and junior teams at international events as well as the British Sailing Team. Alongside Steve acting as Team Leader (arguably the more difficult role with 9 excitable sailors aged 12 to 15 to "lead") was Adele Young who as an accomplished racing sailor herself and qualified RYA coach has been coaching Optimists in the RYA Regional Training Groups. This pairing epitomised IOCA UKs aim to give young coaches the opportunity to gain experience and confidence at international events initially as Team Leader before moving up to the role of coach.

The Sailors returned uneventfully to the UK on 27th June, which with a myriad of obstacles to overcome (Covid tests to return to the UK, Passenger Locator Forms, PCR tests to be arranged for days 2 and 8 etc...) was largely due to the work of the IOCA Teams Officer Sara Creighton who has worked tirelessly on the logistics of getting teams safely to and from these amazing events / experiences.

How about the event itself? Well, you can see the results for yourself here 2021europeans.optiworld.org/en/default/races/race-resultsall but once again the event was about so much more than results and the sailors are far better placed to tell you to that story, so I will hand over to them.

Richard Breese, IOCA (UK) Chair

Sabine Potter

Performing at the Europeans in Cadiz, Spain, was one of the best experiences in my life. It was a lot of fun. We spent 3 days training and 5 days racing. On Monday we went to the beach after registration. It was always warm in Spain which made the sailing even nicer.

There were nice rolling waves out in the bay with some chop as well, making the downwind a lot of fun. There were 38 countries present at the event. We met people from all over Europe and made foreign friends.

The racing was a great experience with the competition being at a very high level. There were many different learning opportunities throughout the event and some really good racing. The event was full of new experiences. We had varied winds throughout the event making it one of the fairest events I've been to.

Thank you to Steve for the coaching, Adele for looking after us during the trip and IOCA for organising the trip.

Will Mears

I really enjoyed it, having a real mix of wind and conditions. The racing was very consistent, and the race officer was very good. I loved the sailing with warm water and lovely sunshine.

The food in Cadiz was also amazing especially the tapas. It was great to be away with my mates and to meet the different teams. Steve and Adele were really cool. I had a really great time. Will

Emma Breese

I have recently returned from Spain, competing in my second European championships. It was an amazing experience; I loved every bit of it.

The sailing was incredible, most days brought 15-20 knots, big swell and sun which I was grateful for as I love windier venues. Before the event started, we had 3 days of training with our great coach, Steve. We used this opportunity to work on our speed and making sure that we knew everything about the venue that might be needed for the event. The venue was amazing, sailing in the bay of Cadiz, the coast was dotted with sandy beaches, and you could see out into the Atlantic for miles. On the second day of training, before sailing, measurement went smoothly, hardly any problems were found with the boats, contrasting to last year's measurement when it took us nearly the whole day. I think that this year, the fact that we had charter boats made everything a lot easier.

The following day brought a rest day to go to the beach and swim in the sea before the racing started, here we went through the sailing instructions to make sure we knew them inside out. The opening ceremony that evening was amazing and a great time to start to get to know some of the other teams. Once we returned to the hotel, were all feeling excited and prepared for the event starting the next day.

The event began with three days of qualification, this brought a good range of winds, 15 knots one day, lighter winds the next and finally a day of 20 knots. At the end of qualification, I had made gold fleet, which I was happy with as it had been my goal going into the regatta. The final series lasted 2 days, we had one day of heavy winds and one day of light.

The prize-giving and closing ceremony was amazing, this was a good chance to get to know all the friends we had made through the event and trade kit with the international teams. Finally, fireworks at the end of the night were the perfect way to wrap up such and incredible event.

Thank you so much to our team leader Adele, coach Steve and everyone at IOCA for making this amazing experience possible for us.

Patrick Bromilow

The trip to Cadiz to represent GBR in the Optimist European Championships was amazing. The weather was really hot every day and the water was really warm too, the sea felt warmer than the water in the swimming pool at the hotel.

The conditions were mixed and we had some light days and some windy days. The sea breeze always came in and brought us 15kts of breeze every day. The waves were really big and this helped me improve my wave technique during the week. We had really nice brand new boats to sail which was great.

We made lots of friends with other international teams and also managed some kit trades with them before we came home. I would like to thank Steve and Adele for looking after us while we were away in Spain.

Tabitha Davies

I really enjoyed my time in Spain. There was great sailing, incredible weather and a whole variety of conditions. There were so many countries there, it was hard not to make new friends! The racing was amazing, with a good level of competition throughout the event. The starts were challenging, and there was always a fight to get a good lane.

The food there was also amazing, and on the water there were great views of the whole bay. I don't think anyone wanted to leave! I loved the experience, so I hope I make another team next year and get to enjoy it all again.

Thomas Kelsall

On arrival at the venue there was no wind, and everyone was surprised given Cadiz's windy reputation. But over the next few days of training the wind filled in and the strong westerly came, bringing some good wind and good training with it.

When the event started the first day was extremely competitive out in the bay. Throughout the week, the wind got stronger and more good results were picked up by the team. However, on the last day of racing the wind lightened up a little for the final races which meant a lot of different people were taking the top spots. This made for a really interesting and close regatta.

Off the water the town was beautiful, and the scenery was amazing with some beautiful coastline and beaches to enjoy during the limited downtime that we had. Overall, it was an amazing experience at an amazing regatta in a wonderful location. But most importantly it was an experience with a great group of people that will be friends for life.

I've now got a few days of quarantine to do, but it'll be worth every second and give me chance to reflect on the memories we've just created.

Will Moss

Visiting Cadiz for the European Championships was my first overseas sailing experience and lots of fun. The wind was perfect, and the sea conditions were challenging with plenty of swell and chop. I ate octopus and fresh fish which were delicious!

Hugh Andrews

I loved every second of the Euros this year in Cadiz. The wind was perfect in all of the races kicking in about midday everyday with the thermal breeze. There were two predominant winds- a south easterly from north Africa which was hot and dry bringing lots of wind on the third and fourth day of the regatta although shifty conditions as it comes off the land. The other and main wind direction in Cadiz was a breeze off the Atlantic bringing massive rolling waves and a steady breeze of 10-20 knots.

I loved trading at the event, acquiring many things from many different countries. The racing was really hard. It was very hard to keep a good position in the races. For me personally I would be doing well at the first beat mark but then I would slip down some places by the finish.

So, I need to practice that to improve. I loved Cadiz and would love to come back.

Noa Moskovitch

I loved my time at the Europeans as the wide variety of conditions enabled us to have great and challenging racing, especially at the starts. I loved the experience of meeting people from different countries as well as the scenery and weather that made the event even more enjoyable. It was great to have been able to be a part of this incredible experience with my friends in my last year in the Optimist class.

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