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.       

mixed day

we have had mixed day with better results for most of the team.. A win for Dan so we can have icecream again and we were planning an expedition in the RIB down the canals around Wokum but Dan is now in measurement protest .. his ties were out of bands when he was checked after finishing second in the second race.. muppet of the day was Josh who headed for the reach mark instead of the windward mark, Will and Josh also got black flags.. Jemima and Murray got into their strides today, both got better as the day wore on and finished with  top tens,, singapore 22 still going strong with two more wins today.. Arran Holman also here had the best day with three top ten results.. Benno Marstaller is in the Benjamin fleet..

more later after the protest


We now have some preliminary results from the noticeboard .. First days results 


Coaches briefing is at 8am and Tim has just left on his bike, the sailors have ten minutes left before we follow. Wind has increased and the windmills are going faster this morning, weather forcast says 17 knots.  Suncream mandatory . More clothes for most sailors today as Jemima and Murray felt the cold yesterday. Three races planned . No results posted yet but will try and get some for later . We have a range of rolls for lunch from cheese and pickle and salami to plain jam. Tim nagging all sailors about hydration and so bottles have been filled and are ready. More later

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Thursday news

So the biggest worry for the sailors this morning was a shortage of loo paper..   the biggest worry for Tim and Carla was that it is a bank holiday here today so everything is shut except the campsite Spa shop..could we feed nine from the Spa shop.. or would we have to blow the budget on going out for dinner ..

We arrived in the boat park to sort ourselves out and find that there was an hours postponement after start time .

We had a short opening ceremony over 20 countries are here , and flags were run down the marque by willing Dutch youngsters .. Big cheers for the teams from Japan and Singapore

We then had to hang around until launch time . The organisers gave us and hour and half to  get to the start line.

Dan got us ice cream today with his two top tens and we have a plentiful supply of loo paper and you can feed nine from the Spa shop..

First Days Racing

Daniel coming down wind
After a one hour postponement all fleets went afloat (700 boats, 900 competitors). Conditions to begin with were a 6kt sea breeze, before veering and building to around 12kts as per the forecast.

The sailors raced in their own coloured fleets for todays two races, so four starts for each race! GBR picked up no black flags, and highlights included a 3rd for Dan, and a 8th for Mimi, so ice cream all round. Top 20's were also scored by Josh, Jemima Will and Georgia.

Three boats (Mimi, Dan and Murray) had trackers on, so you can re-live their racing on the website (

Racing is the very top level, with a number of top nations world's teams here! Particularly impressive were the Singaporian's (SIN 33 won both her races, one by significantly over a minute)

Flights all get resorted tomorrow!

More to follow....

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


So after a very much needed siesta the rest of the team hit the boat park at 4pm and came back at 8pm . So what were we doing for 4 hours ?
measurement queue
 Measurement.. because this is a Selector and final selector for some countries the Organsisers are being pretty strict on measurement.. we needed to produce full boat papers, passports to prove the team were still in age to  sail an Optimist and of course boat insurance. You had to register before measurement and then come back if you had to check things. Two of our sailors did not have even copies of their boat papers but one of the measurers was somewhat  frustrated with the chaotic way things were  not organised and so he signed off our boat without papers in return for the promise on a scanned  copy of Rya certificate. Good thing carla has been to so many events .... the Volvo/Gill stickers all had to come off..whistles were inspected and all the safety stuff but nobody could tell us what was being checked before we started ..

it took Carla over an hour in the queue to get to registration and the sailors waited for measurement even longer .. in fact Tim went home to cook supper as promised.. chicken casserole very good even if the kitchen looks like a bomb site 

Tim and Mimi, Jemima Murray and Dan went for a sail and the others did a quick orientation in the RIB ..
conditions on the water today were challenging, very light and patchy to begin with. Then, when the wind did build (to around 7kts) there was quite a chop with it. Something very typical of the Ijslmeer (and Tavira) but not something we've had much practice in! However, the sailors learnt to adapt to it quickly and techniques and speed developed quickly! Bring on the racing tomorrow! From what we can see, the competition will be tough too... top sailors from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Singapore, Austria, France, Switzerland, Kenya, Hungary and Greece have all been seen around the dinghy park, as have some "old" oppie sailors including Carlos Robles in a 29er and Serbian Lukka (last years African Champion) in a Laser.
Note the size of the chop approaching Murray's boat, despite him not even sitting on the side yet!
Opening ceremony is at 11am tomorrow and first race at 1pm. Some sailors have made their sandwiches tonight and there is a game of badminton going on before bed..
Retrieving boats

PS we know the spelling is not grate but its a dutch spellchecker


The team are now all in Workum.. After a time mix up by Tim and Carla ( they were on british summer time not Dutch time !!) Carla eventually arrived not quite an hour late to collect the sailors.. Tim, Murray and Dan did sterling work while she was away.. they unpacked all the boats for everyone and then found the supermarket and bought lunch and supper for today. Tim offered to cook .They also sorted the vehicle passes for the team so we can get in and out of the campsite where the regatta is being held.  Dan and Murray are excused washing up for the next few days . One sailor said that they did not know how to wash up but without a dishwasher they should get plenty of practice before they get home .

We all had lunch on our terrace , its sunny here , and Georgia, Mimi, Dan and Murray have gone off to set up their boats and check out the sailing area.. Josh , Jemima and Will have been packed off to bed to catch up on some of the sleep they have missed. They got back from the Feva nationals after having to stay  for prize giving at 1.30am last night and had to leave for the airport at 5.00 am so we thought sleep was probably their biggest priority today . Jemima with Jenny Cropley won the top junior and top junior girls prize, Josh who was crewing for Matilda Dolin finished 12th and the reason we could not find Will was he crashed into the Silver fleet literaly as his helm had a head injury..but finished second while he was there . We heard our Matt did not hold onto his lead something to do with black flags and "I " flag.

We are going down to the boat park to register later. Arran Holmans Gul stickers were spotted on his boat in the boat park but we have not met up with him yet. Its definitely shorts and sun cream weather here but not much wind. Over a thousand boats are expected at this event 300 optimists. More later and maybe some sailing pictures ,
Our house
Bottom of the garden