Helsinki Spring 2017 has certainly been a season to remember for the Zealous Coaching Team.
In Helsinki, Finland the FODA World’s Team Qualification was held in May, consisting of 12 races across two weekends. As a coach, this was my third qualification series in Finland, with the previous two years taking first overall. It was always going to be tough to back that up, but with a strong Brändö Seglare Racing Team of 18 sailors representing BS, HTPS, BSS and SaVK, combined with two months of solid build up, I was confident the team would be competitive.
With two light wind weekends the team pleasantly exceed expectations, with our top sailors places 2, 3, 4 and 10 overall, qualifying three of our sailors for the FODA World Championship Team and one for the FODA European Championship Team. Outside of the top 10 we had numerous sailors knocking on the door of the FODA European Team but just falling short. It was certainly the most difficult qualification series I have witnessed and very much reminded me of what I experienced when falling short of qualifying for the Optimist Worlds myself in 2007. For some of the older more experienced sailors in our team this is exactly what happened. Without a single race over 10 knots, there were plenty of 50kg sailors that longed to stretch their legs and make it up onto the side of the boat.
Sport certainly can be cruel like that. Conversely, this is precisely what makes this such an invaluable learning experience for young sailors. Having to deal with such adversity and disappointment, having to keep your head held high and push on. I really admire those sailors- those that never give up, can push on, and come back prepared to work harder than ever.
Regardless of individuals overall position, I’m incredibly proud of our entire Optimist team. All 18 of them.
A special thanks to fellow coaches Jacob von Koskull, Sabina von Koskull and Joackim Svinhufvud for their excellent work.
This Spring Brändö Seglare launched a 29er Academy. The Academy’s aim is to expose those sailors aged between 14 and 18 to the demands of youth sailing without the demand the sizeable straight up investment. The 29er, a two man, three sail skiff and an ISAF Youth World Class is arguably part of Worlds Sailing vision to bring young people through to the Olympic classes in a fun, fast, yet demanding youth skiff. Past gold and silver medallists in the class include America’s Cup skipper of Artemis and Olympic Gold medallist Nathan Outteride, as well as Emirates Team New Zealand foil trimmer and Olympic Gold medallist, Blair Tuke. With very little youth sailing support in Finland from a larger body, Brändö Seglare has picked up the torch, now leading the largest 29er training group in Finland, ultimately preparing for the 2018 29er European Championships, held in Helsinki, Finland.
The Academy is unique in its structure. A three month intensive programme with approximately 50 on the water training sessions. The three months is broken down into different modules, with a international regatta at the end of the second month of training. Brändö Seglare r.f now owning four 29ers, offers eight places to motivated young sailors. The programme takes the sailors on an exciting journey, where, after the three months, sailors will be encouraged to go and purchase their own 29ers, advancing to the next round performance based training.
Sailors can also take part regardless of their club or location. Sailors with their privately owned boats can also participate.
It has been a fantastic three months of training, with some impressive improvement and development. The sailors have all been a pleasure to work with - there willingness to learn, passion and coachablility has been second to none. It was great to have guest Zealous Coach, Thomas Saunders, lead the team for two weeks of coaching prior to and during the Helsinki Down Town Race. Now with our first round of academy sailors graduating, seven out of the eight participants will purchase their own boats and continue in the class.
With a new three month Academy programme beginning in August, Brändö Seglare will boast a fleet of 8-10 29ers. This has almost tripled the size of the 29er fleet in Finland from what it was in the Fall of 2016. As a result of the mixture of experience within the teams Brändö Seglare will launch its next phase of it’s youth programme in August – more on this shortly.
It’s a privileged to lead such an exciting programme. A very special tack så mycket to those who have supported this vision financially.
There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a vision come true.
Many thanks to the ongoing support of Predictwind.com