Monday, 29 August 2011

Team racing round up!

The mini finals were cancelled due to a lack of wind.  All teams went swimming and Spain are crowned champions!

Couple more photos from the mountain lakes!

Last day consisted of breakfast with the Irish and Spanish teams and a quick windsurf whist waiting for the taxi!

And some final thoughts:-

Mimi: "Ledro is THE place to be - huge shifts!  And everyone should meet the Danish, Irish and Swedish and Spanish and Germans - they are awesome"

Georgia: "Wonderful event - I recommend going when there is a thunderstorm"

Dan: "Great place to sail with good breeze for team racing"

Jenny: "Lake and sky blue, trees all green; teams all amazing, lush ice cream.  Sailing and swimming are great"

Brooke: "Was a great learning event.  Team has gained in all aspects. Great team with good synergy."


Saturday, 27 August 2011

Day 3 and Gold Silver splitp

First up,how beautiful is the race course?  Doesn't compare to Pwllheli of course but ....

Today is the first day of Gold Silver split.

First two races against Slovenia and Norway were wins!

Followed by a loss against Germany.  Asked for redress as sequence started we got back to the start after the previous race - none given :(

Loss against Denmark.  Jenny was pinning a boat - Mimi cried for her to cross the line but the Denmark sneaked through!

Next up was Belgium, was looking good as Dan pinned the competitor, but confusion caused Georgia to tack not duck and .....

Final race agains Sweden was abandoned due to wind.

2 wins 3 losses - more tomorrow.

Dan forging international relations!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Day 2

After a few more losses we won against DEN.
So 2 wins and 5 losses

So today was twice as good as yesterday!

From Brooke on the course "Sailors are great and have lots of enthusiasm, and are improving with each race."

Lying in 14th overall, inline with their seeding.  Fleet splits tomorrow - goal now is to win silver fleet.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Results from day 1 and start of day 2

After 6 losses, GBR finally got a win against NOR in their final race!

This was followed up with a 1235 win against SLO in the first race today.

Next race was against SWE.  GBR winning all the way to the finish, Mimi took a penalty turn right at the end and told Jenny she should finish in 2nd.  Mimi was luffed up at the finish line and could not get across.  Very close but we lost with a 1278.

From Brooke at course side "That was so close, they are trying to coordinate the team racing with sailing fast.  They are very optimistic that they are improving!"

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Opening Ceremony

First Day

Race 1 lost against FRA.  Good start from GBR but FRA put in a excellent mark trap and took it with a 1,2,3,8.

Race 2 lost against GER.  In a winning position after Georgia put in an excellent mark trap.  But one GER and three British sailed through the finish line on the way to mark 3 and all got 10 penalty points each.  A mistake not to be repeated!

Race 3,4 to be sailed against TUR and ITL.  But wind has died an currently all group B teams swimming to keep cool.

Spirits are high and the team are working well together and really despite the results are doing some excellent team racing!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

And on to the team racing!

Our team in the Euros have done 'just' enough to qualify for the team racing competition.  Unlike the Worlds and the other Continental championships, the European championships hold the team racing as a separate event.  By coming in the top 16 European counties in the fleet racing  you qualify for the team racing which is held in Ledro Italy.  We have qualified as team no.16!

The team, Georgia, Mimi, Dan, supplemented with Jenny Cropley (Will, Murray, Jemima, and Josh having moved on to other classes), spent Sunday at Grafham Water under the expert tutorage of Peter Saxton.  This was followed up by an excellent roast dinner (many thanks Sue!) and and evening briefing.
Monday was spent punting on the Cam, visiting the American military cemetery and relaxing before an early flight Tuesday morning.

Tuesday afternoon was spent practicing and swimming (very hot). All asleep by 8:30 and looking forward to racing tomorrow!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Last Post

Team all arrived safely back at Gatwick last night with Tim and Carla being greeted with a magnum of champagne each for all their efforts, a big thank to the team for that, it is much appreciated.

Our results maybe be not what we would have liked but we have learnt lots of stuff that all of us will take forward to our next event : here are some of the things we talked about on our way home :

  • being more organised means Carla is less on your case
  • leaving watches, boat papers and rash vests  in your hotel room is a pain
  • we are good at wearing sunglasses
  • long rash vests , leggings and good suncream stop sunburn
  • buying kit at the event can be expensive
  • getting enough sleep in important
  • the food is not always what we get at home but we need to eat something
  • tracking shows what you are doing if you can remember your race
  • you dont just pay bills if you are not sure about them
  • other countries spend more time sailing than we do  
  • FRA, GRE, sent their top sailors to this event rather than Worlds and so did some other countries
  • its hard to go Portugal in July and sail an optimist when you have never done it before
  • meeting other countries is fun
We wish Georgia, Murray , Josh , Jemima and Will all the best in their new classes 420, 29er and Laser and expect to see Mimi and Dan back in their Optimists after a short break .

Carla and Tim

Saturday, 9 July 2011

saturday morning

so it is our last day and the sailors have  one last race before the great pack up.. and the news is that all teams have issues some you want some you don not . ITA think their gril can win unless she has a DNE should she race and risk DNE or should she stay ashore ... the leading GRE who won last year got DNE for not doing his turns .. FIN have had their 2 sailors re instated .. FRA AUT leave tonight before or after the party .. do we ask parents to help or not.. Coaches had their night out and some were  somewhat worse for wear  this morning but you will be pleased to know our Tim was not feeling too good and was out of the clutches of the older coaches and asleep before our sailors . Our sailors also went to bed early . AUT team leader went back to her room to update her blog after 11pm and found NZL with her sailors in her room.. not happy.

We are booked fifth in line to give back our charter boats so just enough for Lukas to be less thorough but time for us to get back to our party .. the trailers have been retrieved from up the road and put in each teams space int he boat park.. a premier valet trailer  parking service ..

Carla bit worse for wear as the parents had a party two doors away from her until 2am last night unfortunately and she and Sally Burnett had to listen to it .. .. Sally was  abit brighter than Carla as she turned up her air conditioning to drown out the noise rather than just hoping it would all go away .. her mood was not helped by the organisers re opening the late payment fee debacle . GRE, CRo and GBR have all been told that the other two have paid however we all know that none of us have or intend to until the organisers proof how they made the calculation and out federations agree it . we al know if we pay we will never get it back and none of us are happy nor is IODA and next years NoR will be amended so there is no chances of misinterpretation by anyone..

its 15.01 and they have completed one race 5.00pm looks too early for being in the charter

Brooke has left for the UK , Dan is flying home home with is dad as its an easier option to go to liverpool than get him back to Wales from Gatwick ..

the witches of tavira went out for a for a last lunch and are planning their ski and shopping trips for over the winter  as tonight they will be managing organised chaos tonight hoping for damage limitation

Friday, 8 July 2011


Another similar day on the water today, with same tricky wind and current. Two more races completed.

Sailors still struggled to sail consistently throughout the whole race, resulting in some mixed results. However, for those that spotted it some port bias on the start line in race 11, led to some brilliant starts, especially by Mimi and Jemima.

Other than a few of the starts, the highlight for today has to go down as a much improved day for Murray! Well done!

Coach and team leader still in the dinghy park (waiting for protest time 1915) whilst kids are relaxing back in the hotel pool!

Final race tomorrow before the great pack up. Lots of sailors had mixed days and several of differing nationalities were seen in tears at the end of racing today, The race officer said that the second discard was making the sailors jumpy hence all the recalls and BFD's.

Some sailors from a an unnamed country caused their team leader such a problem last night that their class assoc has asked for them to be suspended from the competition . Think it might be cheaper to keep them here than book new flights to send them home.  their facebook pages rather gave them away ..

Lots of swopping going on in the hotel last night be sailors more interested in good souvenirs than their race results, no doubt there will be more tonight however Carla has eyes and ears everywhere as all the team leaders work together and a coach did ask her at breakfast whether all her sailors were in bed early last night ..

Tim and carla still in boat park writing this up because at 70 euros for the week for poor internet did not seem to be worth it to get anymore . Charles Ainsworth  arrived to day to collect some optimists from Blue Blue and has been mistaken for Carla's husband several times .. they are not sure how to take this!! Charles has joined Brooke and Graham for dinner in town.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


no news yesterday after racing because we did not leave the boat park until 7.45 as they did three races, coach then stayed until 8.15 for protest time!

the FRA of todays conditions on the water "sometimes in the middle sometimes on the left sometimes on the right between 8 and 10 knots "c'etait tres difficile"

We agree! throughout the day the current (with the wind) built up to around 1.5kts, making the beats long and challenging. It goes down as another mixed day for GBR... highlights in the very challenging conditions were a top ten for dan, and two top twenties for Mimi. Wally of the day award today is evenly split between most of the boys as when the wind dropped from 10 to 3kts in race 2, they did not change their rig set ups!

we are going to look at some of the tracking tonight, or in the morning, as Tim has already looked at it and there are some useful points to be made!

Graham Whiteley made a surprise visit today which Dan did not know about until this morning .. Our dough nut supply will be drying up tomorrow as Liz is going home ..Brooke jumped on KEA with the canadians to go and watch some racing .. carla snuck off the island over the way on the ferry for a swim in the Atlantic which was lovely .. sailors have gone home while Carla and Tim wait with all the other coaches for protest time

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

parents and trackers

The boat park has filled with a lot more parents who obviously cannot resist the pull of sun and sea in portugal and have come to join us. I am sitting writing this next to a Czech parent who like you is biting his nails while he follows his sailor  on the tracker.. however it could be less stressful or maybe more so as his daughter  won both races and we are now going for a third..

The Slovenian team leader told me today over lunch  that his coach  was so exasparated by the parents of his sailors phoning the sailors to give them tactical advice having following the tracking that he said to the team leader that unless it stopped he would leave the championship or ask the team leader to confiscate all the sailor's mobiles phones. Of course GBR parents dont do that or do they ? 

Tim will update later about the conditions on the water .. but it looks from the results as though the wind was stronger today

and Carla is happy because her daughter did ok in Flanders in the 420 her last event before coming her in ten days to compete in the 420 European champioships.. we recommned the 420's eat at the hotel ,bring industrial strength mosquito spray and suncream and long sleeve rash vests and leggings but they know all of that already havimg been in Argentina and Israel .. Capizzano the brilliant photographer will be here again.

Tuesday late news

So after my breakfast meeting I caught the ferry and went over to the Club to buy Will a new rash vest having spent 18 Euros the day before on two protest flags as they are mandatory here ! 

We had some hanging about and then they launched, the Team leaders and country reps are not given sandwiches but a proper lunch under the shade we can all meet up and exchange views. The  intention was then to update the blog but once the racing starts it is not possible to access a computer because all the parents are using them  to follow the racing . I was about to use Tim’s laptop at the club when I was offered the chance to go out to the race course on a 1973 Moody 44 ( for robert weg customised in the clyde in 1974 with a doghouse ) with some of the other team leaders . It was good to see what the conditions are like out there for the sailors and a rare occurrence for Carla to go on the water. 

After being collected from the yacht "KEA" by Tim after racing we then found Will in a protest which kept us at the club until 8.30pm. He got 3 points added to his score for being outside  the holding area the start of racing  five other sailors got the same penalty but only Will and one other went through the protest as the other s did not bother to turn up. For Will it is another thing off the list . He has now been in a protest . Some other sailors incurred points for being out of their spaces in the boat park before their flight had been called . BUL girl  got a DNE on the first day under rule 2 but nobody seems to know exactly what for but obviously serious.
 Josh got his first ever yellow flag yesterday, Jemima did get off the line. Georgia is trying to hide her sunburn from Carla but she spotted it this morning so it will be white leggings and no sympathy for Georgia  today .. For our sailors this is a hard event. FRA , GRE and IRL and some other countries have their worlds teams here as they are not going to NZ.  GRE  sailors are sailing a minimum of 15 hours a week  and we would be lucky to get that in two weekends and they are used to these conditions while we are not.
Brooke ( Mimi’s mum ) has arrived and has promised Carla and Tim an evening off as she is taking the team out to supper in town tonight . Tim was in a coaches meeting last night to talk about future race management and Carla was in the bar being plied with cocktails by the French , all the interests of Anglo French relations  of course but not sure her head thinks it was worth it this morning .. and she has a  team leaders meeting at lunchtime to discuss the worlds bids  .. more politics. The lunch was more popular yesterday but Liz Hampshire was mobbed when she arrived in the boat park after racing with the Portuguese version  of chocolate dough nuts yesterday. Now Liz is here the Bar has had to produce tea for these English people . they have every sort , green tea, white tea raspberry tea everything but ordinary English tea.. we have all our swop shirts and so Dan has started wearing one to promote them today
It is bright and sunny an the sea breeze is coming .


Yesterday Carla’s day started with a breakfast meeting with the European vice president of IODA Johanmi from Finland wanting to discuss the late entry charges as several countries were asked for these at this event and the possibility of getting the Worlds back to Europe.  The decision on where 2013 worlds will be is decided at the AGM  in New Zealand in December. All countries have a vote and the European countries make up the biggest group however because of the costs of getting there, lots of European nations are not going, France and Greece and many of the smaller nations Monaco, Malta, San Marino, the Baltic states and old eastern block countries such as Czech republic  etc are all not going so will not be there to vote. Vagelis , the Greek coach  told me that one of his parents had worked out it would cost 5000 Euros to just get the parent  and his sailor to New Zealand before including  the costs of sending the coach.

The issue is how to get the votes of those not attending to the meeting and to be sure that not more than one European country  bids for the worlds as that could split the vote and we could be all having to find yet more money to go to South America or Asia again. None of those countries will be easily persuaded to vote for Europe because for them it is  expensive in flights and living costs, the  same issue as for us going to them.  Many countries have raised the issue of the costs of going to NZ with IODA but the answer is the countries voted for it.

Some European countries are finding the entry fees for this event high as traditionally all the sailors stay together in one hotel and such hotels are more  expensive.  It also hard for the event organizers to find sponsors to help with the running costs of the event and the organizers are dependant on their club volunteers to do all the event management. Its not the number of sailors which is an issue because 230 is quite small by our standards its all the complexities of providing lunch , transport full measurement, international PRO , juries etc and dealing with all the different nationalities.

There is nothing like being here to remind you that we live on a small damp grey island off northern Europe and drink bad coffee ( apologies to  Tarek, Mimi’s dad who is a coffee trader and trying to change that ) and only speak English and some poor French . 

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Tough day on the water today... we had a sea breeze but it was less predictable than before, and a fairly strong westerly current also complicated tactics! Generally the brits struggled to combine all of these factors throughout a race, and the phrase "i was doing well at one point in the race" was certainly over used! Conditions were such that even the top sailors made a lot of mistakes.

We are expecting similar tough racing and conditions tomorrow, with the possibility of an third race as well. Main focuses will be learning from todays lessons, and how to turn promising parts of races into good scores across the finishing line!

Today's champagne moment was without doubt a brilliant port end start by Murray, whilst the wally of the day award also clearly goes to Will who was penalised after a protest for being out of the waiting area, however, after preparing and handling himself very well in the room the penalty was only 5%, so 3 points!

Whilst the team and coach were working very hard in tricky conditions, Carla continued with her 'politics', going for a lovely sail on a large 1970's yacht with the Italian, Austrian and Belgian team leaders and country representatives!

Early bed for the sailors tonight, some of whom were feeling fairly tired! More info tomorrow...

Monday, 4 July 2011

Todays race track

Today produced a surprisingly good sea breeze. By race time, we had a 13-5kt breeze oscillating around 15 degrees. One of the main challenges was a 5 boat length a minute current with the wind, which along with the consistent quality of the fleet meant that starting was more of a struggle than many of the team  are used to. This was a main focus of the debrief and should hopefully improve tomorrow, certainly the sailors themselves saw how useful a good start was from today's racing!

Highlights from the racing included top ten's for Josh and Dan, and a consistent set of results for Mimi, and some good starting by Georgia.

Two more races are scheduled for tomorrow, so lets hope for a good sea breeze again! Same timings as today, all boats will have trackers - and we hope they will all be working and there are also some great photos of the team taken by the official photographer Capizzano... Murray may have a future as a pin up !! and the boys also got a top photo last night .. Boys also learnt that Tim was not born yesterday after trying to help themsleves to his tv cable when theirs had already been confiscated by him.. Will won wally of the day and the penalty was being driven by Carla in the RIB back across the river to the hotel pontoon . that could have been more risky than racing with out a watch .Jemima is starting over tomorrow with starting of course being her focus.. we know she can do it because we have all seen her do so..

Carla was out to lunch again to day ( politics politics) working hard to see if the Worlds can come back to Europe and supplying Sally Burnett who is tied to the tracking system with ice cream. Liz Hampshire arrived to day and brought our swop shirts and  welcome supply of cakes to the boat park after racing.


Updates from the UK back up team ..

Marcus Lawson  has sent us the tracking microsite
Nick Voller the event photographer  Capizzano is the most brilliant photographer and he was at the opening cermeony last night ..

Fiona Rainback has unravelled the late entry fees so we are now all legit and ready to race.

Its good to know we have a good support team in the UK.

Flags are just moving so it could be a long day here and its cool enough for Tim to be wearing a fleece  

SWE are siitng next to me already to race with a litre of water each in front of them . HUN are issuing information about a Worlds in Ballaton for 2013 a rival bid to ITA 's proposal for Garda . The 420's went there fairly recently .  

Race Day 1

Today is the first day of racing so last night the sailors were all quite jumpy… with their routines disrupted by the opening ceremony and all of them being in the dining room at the same time.. Teams usually have their own times for meals and their own particular table in the dining room. Our sailors were not immune to this and the boys had their television cable confiscated when they were found no where near ready for bed when checked on. This was to be followed by iPods etc if no improvement 15 minutes later.

It must make for an interesting holiday if you booked yourself into a nice quiet hotel to find 150 children staying in the same place. The sailors tend to go around the complex in packs  the CZE coach who is actually Portuguese said if he could not find his girls he only had to find the GER boys. (Lots of countries have different nationality coaches AUT have a Croatian coach, IRL a French one)  I think our boys are feeling rather pale and interesting and playing on their British reserve in the hope that the girls might come to them.

Last night at the opening ceremony we wore our new team shirts care of Henri Lloyd. The boys looked fine but us girls were not so sure about the sleeves or the fit on the shoulders but you can see for yourselves on the photos but we are at a sailing regatta not Ascot so maybe it should not matter. In the parade there was this dark patch where we were in navy next to GER and GRE both in black, POR were also in navy. ESP were in red as were DEN and AUT; BEL and ITA went for a lovely bright blue. I can never understand why with red green and white flag Italian sporting colour is blue perhaps I will ask them today. For years ITA have worn Slam kit but the ITA federation has lost them as a clothing sponsor.

The event lunches were not a great success yesterday cheese and ham sandwiches with lettuce and tomatoes wrapped in foil with a prawn canapĂ© thing, a cereal bar an apple and small water each.. so the sandwiches were sort of eaten as were most of the cereal bars , the prawns in this heat we gave a miss to and I had eight apples left. So for us it’s back to breakfast rolls with provided lunch as back up. Murray and Will make lunch with an additional number of rolls, as growing boys they are always hungry and never refuse food.

. Liz Hampshire arrives today hopefully with our swop T shirts. Mimi’s family arrive tomorrow but she is not exactly sure who is coming but is looking forward to them getting here. Dan has lost all communication with north wales after his phone got blocked, something Will and Josh deny all knowledge of …. Martin has been doing great work re engineering our gazebo with bamboo poles and rocks so it does not blow itself to pieces, IRL gave up on theirs yesterday and we snuck under FIN’s  to eat our lunch before their arrived in the boat park yesterday.

We have heard that the Flanders guys spent eight hours on the water for one race. Not fun but that could be us today as it is overcast , was raining in Lisbon yesterday and no promises of a sea breeze today …Alan our  CRO race officer affectionately known as Mr Teflon because nothing sticks to him will no doubt do his best .

More later

Sunday, 3 July 2011


Practice race today in a very shifty and variable Northerly breeze. This, along with very poor start discipline and the prospect of the ever approaching opening ceremony made it hard to learn much about the racing. Good hours on the water gearing up for first race day tomorrow though!

Some exciting revelations today too... including that peas are in fact vegetables and another which may result in one sailor going quicker tomorrow!

Racing proper from 1pm tomorrow, so expecting to launch around 1130. All sailors will have trackers for the duration of the event, so the seriously keen (bored) amongst you can watch the racing real time! Photos from the opening ceremony  etc will go up tomorrow hopefully!

The organisers sent the team leader's lunch out on the water today by mistake so they all got treated to a meal at the local restaurant CZE, GBR , BRA, ITA , IRL all sat down to octopus chips and salad, Carla would not know how good the octopus was as she never eats fish or sea food but she did learn that ITA are bidding for the Worlds in Garda 2013 and the Czech Republic used to have 2000 oppy sailors and now have only 200.

The Portuguese had great plans for the opening ceremony ,, teams leaving at 5.30pm and not getting back until nearly 10pm for dinner at our hotel . it seemed ok but fortunately portuguese Mimi made them see that it would be better to shorten it and after a quick march around the town and a juggler we were on the bus home by 8pm .. photos tomorrow

PS prizes for guessing what the change is!

Sunday Morning

Its much cooler today and we are now in the official event so we get event lunch , not sure how well that will go down but will see how light the cool bag is at the end of the day . Tim and the USA coach are on a fuel run. Does Tavira open on Sunday morning for fuelling ? Tim forgot it was Sunday today . That is what happens at these events when you dont see the TV or newspapers ..

We are linked up with the USA blog which will give a different perspective to ours.. we heard from Flanders that they had a mixed day and something about tide .. we have a coach and team leaders meeting today and then the Greeks want to go training. They had to get all their sails measured yesterday at 30 euros a go becuase their official class measurer did not have time to do it before they left.. RUS and Bulgaria have not yet arrived but are expected today .. ISR are here and have high security as they always do and are escorted in and out of training by the police. GRE and some other counties are in a different hotel to us the one on the other side of the river where the Booth's are staying just in town . That suits us becuase we can use the RIB and they can get to their hotel in their van. ITA arrived yesterday with another new coach but as always the president of the Italian Class association is with them .

Mosquitoes had a real feast on Carla last night but the seem to ignore the sailors so that is good.

Some photos from the boat park and our visist to town last night

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Good day on the water today! Around 4 hours in the normal sea breeze direction, and a mixture of wind strengths so some very useful lessons learnt, including how much food to take!

Went into Tavira town before dinner this evening, needed a change of scenery!! Got a lift there and back with a very helpful hotel bus driver!

Tomorrow is the practice race, but the biggest challenge may well be finding RIB fuel before sailing!

Also Tim and Carla's photography may have been out done today... Capizzano, the official event photographer was out there snapping today!


Much hotter today 34C and the Greeks have lent us the RIB while they go through measurement and so team are on the water . Tim and Carla went for a little trip up the river to Tavira to refuel the charter RIB and collect some water and Mimi a new toothbrush.

We tried to register but there is some discussion about late payment fees of over 2000 euros that we are not convinced we need to pay so until they are more convincing Carla and Tim are denying any knowledge of this.. apparently quite a lot of teams are having the same issues. something to do with the time the money spends in the system once it leaves our UK bank account . The Italians arrived today and the FRA 20 hours in a minibus two adults and seven sailors and their boats  .

They are issuing all competitors with wrist bands and we think they are going to close the boat park something they  have not done at a Europeans for several years. They are thinking of also trying to tell the team leaders that they cant go on the coach to the opening ceremony with the sailors and coaches.. not sure how well that will go down. Team leaders can be a vocal lot usually complaining about the lunches, the litter and the toilets and then the race management.

More photos later ..

Friday, 1 July 2011

Friday's Sailing

Well first of all, Tim has completely lost track of what day of the week it is after his travels, so apologies if there are mistakes there!

Unfortunately there was some cloud this morning, which I hasten to add cleared by 11am. However, a thick haze remained over the land and to the East so no sea breeze.

We were among the few nations who took to the water to sail, however the wind was patchy and under 5kts so there were several breaks to the session. Still learnt some useful lessons about technique and the venue!

On a lighter note, the sailors also demonstrated that taking video is not always as simple as the coaches make it look, and Dan learnt that Tim could still remember how to sail an Oppy, despite being 75+ Kilos, and had to concentrate hard to out pace him!

Hoping for more wind tomorrow with the typical sea breeze, as would like to get more practice in this as it is what we expect most of the racing to take place in!

Friday afternoon

It started out not so hot today but has now warmed up.. We are trying to protect everyone from sunburn so Georgia was sent back for her long sleeved rash vest . Tim and Carla waited for her with the RIB while the rest of the team got a lift on the ferry.  When the sun czar arrived in the boat park Dan was  in only a short sleeved rash vest and with some excuse about his  only long sleeved one wet being so he  was marched to the shop to buy a second one. Will could be the next one as he has confessed to only having his hoodie rash vest and no others with long sleeves. All the sailors left their white leggings in their hotel room and so the sun czar will be demanding those be worn tomorrow especially by those whose knees caught some sun yesterday. Mimi said she did not have  enough lead time to get her leggings long does a girl need to order white leggings !!

The sailors have gone out with Tim  as they would on race day and should be back about 4.30pm. Angela and Martin brought some peaches with them today for the sailors to have out on the water.

Vagelis the Greek coach has arrived he left Greece on the 27th June catching the ferry to Italy and then driving on his own with the RIB and the Greek boats, 1500kms . He has eight sailors this year as one of his sailors won the championships las t year  and as not over age gets asked back as reigning champion.  Apparently the Russians drove 7000 kms to get here. Vagelis said he was overtaken by the Italians and the two Austrians , Brigitte and the house mum who drove  36 hours non stop to get here. Makes our journey seem very straightforward. 

Its seems to be quite relaxed here as measurement started two days before the official race days . Nuno started early this year, he likes to go at a gentle pace.

Lots of sailors are now heading out for practice but the Greeks will be sorting themselves out for measurement tomorrow morning.. The Greek sailors flew to Lisbon and then caught the train here as that seemed the simplest way to travel.

The Club only has one till and so they have decided that to get round this problem you have to go to the main  till and buy 50 cent vouchers which can then be changed for food  or drink at the bar except ice creams which have to be paid for in euros. I think they are going to set up a second bar in the measurement tent when the measurers have gone. Apparently when they were setting it up last week it was 48C in the tent.


So after a busy day yesterdy we decided to move to regatta time and move the sailors to a later start time, fitness was 8.30am followed by 9am breakfast and then a break before leaving for the boat park to go sailing at midday .. but of course the last few hours have not been without incident .. Tim and Carla were attacked by vicious mosquitos when uploading the photos in the hotel lobby last night .. Dan managed to grab a glass bottle of water with wet hands and dropped it on the ground in spectacular fashion but only managed a slight mark on his ankle.. not even a graze..

after a quick room inspection everyone decided to go for a swim this morning.. it is overcast today and cooler than it has been and not much hope of a sea breeze so it will be that wonderful mediterrean slop us Brits so love ..

Breakfast was entertaining as the hotel has got wise to all  sailors making their sandwiches for lunch from the buffet .. quince jelly makes an interesting substitute for branston pickle.. but the sailors are too canny for them but they have interesting T shirts and shorts  when they leave the dining room.. 

we are waiting for Vagelis and the greeks to arrive . Tim has already been approached by the Dutch coach to share a RIB as he was uncertain about his prospective eastern european coach with little english .. but we are staying loyal to the greeks ..the Irish have arrived and two of the boys from the last year's europeans have shaken hands with Carla and agreed they  have all grown up moved on since the rocket they got from her last year

we will try and get some photos up of the hotel later

PS the spell check is now in portuguese so the spelling is likely to be worse than when we were in Holland

Thursday, 30 June 2011

On the water at last

So first day on the water, probably the best way of describing the conditions is “Glamour Sailing”, but as expected not particularly what we’re used to, so lots to learn!!!!

Launched around 3pm, so towards the end of the normal sea breeze. As a result wind was a little unsettled, and got less stable as the afternoon became evening. There was also a variable, but large, slightly side-on chop for the sailors to contend with. We needed lots of practice in this, so spent most of the session working on upwind technique!

Also managed to work out a few more boat prep things to do, including daggerboard tie in’s and using our own “nice” bailers.

Sunburn avoided so far, largely due to Tim and Carla’s repetitive nagging. That is except for Tim who got burnt this weekend out in Newport, Rhode Island!

Lots more work to do… so planning a long afternoon session at normal race time tomorrow! 

Photos up !!

Arrival and Thursday's Shenanigans

We arrived on time with out incident, with our sails, in time for dinner at our hotel about 9pm last night. Unless you count Dan having all his wash bag being confiscated at the airport ( for the second time when travelling with Carla and Tim!) and Mr Voller leaving the swop T shirts on the sofa at his house … and Mimi leaving her toothbrush behind..

Today after an early start we found the ferry and crossed the river from our hotel to the sailing club on the otherside.. We found our Blue Blue charter boats and set about getting through measurement. We got the 12 noon slot and as Josh had left the boat papers for his new sail in his hotel room we needed all of the two hours. Blue Blue wanted a v large amount of cash for the deposit but on hearing the name Stanley and Saxton decided that it was not as critical as it might be to have all the money before handing over the boats.

We got through all except Georgia’s rudder 20 gms too light and I shan’t explain how optiparts sorted it with stones and sikaflex but they did and the three light boats which Blue Blue added another layer of paint to the daggerboard cases.No problems with sails, numbers or taking off stickers this year.

Tim and Carla secured the RIB still with no damage deposit and were able to return to the hotel so the sailors could get changed to go sailing...

It was very hot today up to 30C and Georgia’s parents Angela and Martin successfully found us a gazebo at the first supermarket that they went to and 12 litres of water as well. The Hotel they are is in a sister hotel to ours and there is a bus between the two and the ferries that run from town. We were able to prepare our boats in the shade of the measurement tent the only shade

After a return from sailing the sailors came back for a swim and debrief before supper. There seemed to be every type of food anyone could want and plenty of it though we note that the free soft drinks have disappeared since last night and its water only for sailors.

Tomorrow we are moving continental time and have a later breakfast and going to the boat park at 12 noon for a 1pm start. We can’t register until Saturday although Mimi, the Portuguese chairman is trying to bring it forward so there is no queue.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

European Team prepare to leave

Tomorrow the British Optimist Team 2011 to fly to Portugal for their pre-event preparation . We have been warned that it is very hot and there are lots of mosquitoes. We hope to keep all our followers updated with our news on this blog as much as we can .

Monday, 6 June 2011

Finish up

The team is all now home... we had a long frustrating day yesterday... On arrival at the boat park the AP was up because of thunderstorms. After a lot of hanging about in the marquee where we grabbed a table and did a big debrief on what the team members had learnt form the event including Carla and Tim and things they needed to bring/work on for Portugal before the race committee cancelled the racing for the day. Tim and Carla made a dash for the Rib to get it put only to find a log jam in a funnel to the slipway similar to the measurement queue we experienced on our first day and lots of frustrated and shouting coaches... There were two slipways and a rib driver decided to back his trailer down the slip then get out and lock his car so it could not be moved and insist his RIB at the back of the log jam came out first. He was not popular and he held up one slip way for forty minutes because various RIB drivers had tied their Ribs to each other while they went to get their trailers and he could not get through. We now understand how hostilities break out . The best was the French woman who would not co-operate with Tim because she said she could not understand him so Tim turned around and repeated everything to her in perfect not so polite French!!

By the time we got the RIB out an hour and half later Georgia and Jemima arrived to the slipway to pack their boats on the RIB. We then went back to pretty deserted boat park to find the rest of the team struggling to pack the trailer... Although they had the keys they took quite a long time to open it and then work out where everything went so only two boats had been loaded in two hours and the van needed to be loaded and Dans boat got on the roof..We think we needed Josh to sort it out.  Tim and Carla were a bit short with the team because they were already soaked and cross about the RIB fiasco and then it started to really rain. Sailors were still in the sailing kit but Carla and Tim's waterproofs were defeated by the Dutch rain. In fact Carla had only just dried out by the time she reached Calais. Then there was an announcement about a Dyke flooding and we had to check is not the way we were going home.

In the end we left in convoy it had taken us two and half hours in the pouring rain to do what should have taken an hour.  It took six hours to Calais and we arrived to have just missed the earlier Ferry so we sorted out the van and the paperwork and Carla read more of Dan's book. We had our only meal out on the ferry and the sailors were shocked at the cost. Carla gave them the Euros so they could get their own. A captive market...

After reaching Dover at 11.15 we had a slow hour and half's drive in the pouring rain to Murray's house to unload Will, Mimi. Georgia, Jemima and Murray and some boats and kit and Dan and Carla finally reached Oxford at 3am to find the night shift painter still finishing off quietly in the peace of the early hours before the builders came today. Not sure who was more surprised?  At 8.15 Dan and Carla swopped the van for a car and set off to get Dan on the fast train from Milton Keynes to Bangor a first train trip for him. At the same time Brooke was driving Georgia and hour and half across London to St |Pancras to get her train to Yorkshire...

It was a worthwhile trip as things these things always are best summed up by Will on the ferry  ”I have learnt more on this trip than I would have in four national squad weekends" We recommend it to all.

We leave for Portugal in just over three weeks and there are lots of things to be practiced, bought and sorted out before then ..

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Saturday's Racing

Sailing today felt a little like yesterday, same great sunshine, same direction wind, similar strength (11-16kts). Lessons learnt on the earlier days were certainly useful! However by no means was it easy! The wind was shifting backwards and forwards, so a good start and a clear plan were essential to keep your options open, and be able to take the shifts! This is perhaps why results were still fairly mixed up!

Apologies for the lack of tracker devices today, Georgia, Josh, Mimi and Jemima were scheduled to have them, but the officials were running late, so they were not used!

So... to bring you up to speed, GBR’s highlights of today included two second places for Dan, two top ten’s for Josh, and several top twenties shared between Murray, Will and Mimi.

Tomorrow morning, fleets are split into Gold, Silver, Bronze and Emerald for the day’s two races. However the extremely high quality of racing has meant that racing will be hard in all of these fleets, and each will contain top sailors from a wide range of countries! We will update you further when we know which fleets our sailors are in... But you will not see any more of Josh, he has flown home early for a GCSE Maths exam on Monday! Good luck to him!

Tomorrow evening will be somewhat of a mad scramble to catch the ferry in Calais for Carla and the sailors, so apologies in advance for the potential lack of blogging after racing tomorrow!

tonights challenge

can we get our trailer out of here tonight to  load Josh's boat without upsetting anyone ?

more news

Gone sailing 
No trackers today .. the fleets are redrawn every day and the organisers did not give the tracking people enough time to label all the trackers and get them out before launchingso they abandoned them today
ET the IOCA RIB as Tim and Carla discovered has no funnel to fill the inbuilt fuel tank.. a cut off drinks bottle works quite well but both of them are avoiding anyone with a cigarette for a few hours.

Mimi had to replace her worn frayed mainsheet yesterday at a cost of 45 euros I am not sure how much they are in the UK now but it is a pretty yellow colour.
Dan ready for launching

The great DSQ debate :after the Jury decided that the SI's gave them no choice but to DSQ Dan for his measurement infringement he went for redress on an action of the race committee for not stating what infringements could be penalised and what the penalty would be. Still they could not bring themselves to change the SI's although they have already done so for the Benjamin fleet and then had to cancel a race because of it. . The chief measurer is not very happy as he can only DSQ sailors for measurement infringments and he would liketo have a variety of options and asked for an amendment a month ago.   Apparently its up to the Dutch Optimist class and they have not done anything about it or maybe they have not been asked . The general Dutch view is that measurement is measurement.. We told Dan it was a little like the Emperor's new clothes , small english boy tells Dutch organsing committee they have made a mistake .

Benno our only Benjamin has put in an request about his DNS as it was 13th and will push him up quite a bit. 

Wind had dropped a bit but is now picking up and Carla is going to the supermaket.. Murray got his 5 euros flipflops which were cheaper and less flowery and girly than anything he had seen in the UK.. Real men obviously wear flipflops here,

Happy Birthday Jemima

Today is Jemima's birthday and she had apple strudel and scrambled eggs for breakfast cooked by Murray ! and now has some smart new freisland socks to wear..

Georgia missed writing up the blog yesterday because she decided  to have an early night and get up early enough for her routine . One sailor has discovered that your roosters dont dry out side overnight in Holland and sneaked them into the tumble drier this morning the one thing the landlady asked us not to use.. in the past sailors had racked up large electricity bills without her knowing ..

Will is supervising us having supper tonight and has chosen meatballs. Tim and Carla  have put in a request for potatoes after a week of pasta and rice .

Wind is is 15 knots and building but still sunny , Josh has to be organised as he is flying out tonight ,, a maths GCSE on Monday .. we are eating all the leftovers but it was jam rather than pickle with the cheese today which suited Tim..

Three races today with the discard kicking and going gold and silver .. without the discard its a bit hard to see where the sailors are

Leaving for Club now

Friday, 3 June 2011

Team view

Tim and Carla  think its time you heard from the sailors !!
Josh (Muppet of the race) – My day started off ok, with a 7th in the first race, but went downhill from there! In the 2nd race of the day, I thought I had done quite, finishing 12th, well until Tim told me that I had been black flagged, unusual for me! Then the last race was a bit of a nightmare, I thought the reach mark was the windward mark, so ended up doing the reach twice, and was 3nd from last in front of one capsized boat and another, at the windward mark; but managed to pull back a few places to 20th from last.
Mimi (the weather girl) -   My sailing is not worth talking about today... it ended with a black flag and two 30ths.  So I’m just going to talk about the sailing conditions. I got the worst tan line on my legs due to the sunny weather; everyone seemed to have gotten a tan! (Even though Georgia used about half a bottle of 50 UV sun screams!) Wind was from 12 knots in the morning, easterly and increased to 16 knots in the afternoon, shifting to north easterly. The thermal kicked in 11 am, starting with some cumulus clouds: big fluffy clouds and shifting the gradient to the left. It was about 17 degrees so warm enough for hikers!
Jemima “okay girl”  , I discovered today, that if you get a good start and you are in the top ten, it is SOOOOOOO much easier to keep in phase with the shifts (Tim hasn’t been chatting rubbish after all)... I improved throughout the day starting with a not very good race and then ending with a 9th.
Head Chef Will – Food is difficult because there are very few shops nearby, there is an Aldi but Carla found a better supermarket next door which Tim thought was Homebase. Apparently the chicken casserole was good but I was unable to eat due my allergy so I had chicken which wasn’t bad. Today we had lasagne unfortunately I couldn’t have that either so I cooked fried salami with German sausage and pasta which was really nice. When everyone gets Ice Cream for a race win I get Cola so I’m not complaining. Looking forward to some more windy racing tomorrow.
Murray (erm...)- After a better day than yesterday, I felt I was getting to grips with what was going on and the sea state (which I struggled with). The boat park felt a lot more comfortable, and I was able to settle into my routine, which helped a lot. I’m hoping to be dropped off at spar tomorrow to buy some flip- flops, which are badly needed to solve my ankle tan line.
Daniel (Muppet of the day) Today’s races were good and then I got protested. It should have been 2nd 1st and a 24th which I got because like Josh I got the wrong mark. My 2nd turned out to be a DSQ because I was out of bands, how stupid? By the end of the protest, which I lost because the jury decided they could not change the sailing instructions to give me a points penalty, we arrived back at the house and we ate dinner. Earlier on the day as I was pulling the boat up onto the  trailer I noticed that the boy that was helping me had a hole in his dry suit, I tried to tell him but he did not understand so I pointed to where the hole was forgetting that I still had my boat in my hand. Along with the trailer the boat went tumbling into the canal and I unwilling jumped in too.