It’s been a positive start to the year for the Zealous Sailing Team. Starting the New Year in Brisbane at the AIODA Optimist Nationals, Head Coach Sam McKenzie and a team of 6 ZSL sailors took on the Australian Championship. 4 days of training followed by the 5 day regatta, the Kiwi and Thailand team kept the Australian’s honest, posting 5th,6th and 11th overall in the regatta. “We always have a good time over in Australian. All the states are running comprehensive sailing programmes and you can see that in the level of sailing out on the water,” said Head Coach Sam McKenzie.
It was a commendable start to what seems to be an exciting season ahead for Zealous Sailing Limited. New sailors and coaches are on board for both ZSL’s Optimist Winter Tour and 29er Squads. Zealous Sailing winter events, Palamos Trophy Coaching + Clinic (14-22 February 2018), Lake Garda Optimist Meeting Clinic + Regatta (23 March – 1 April 2018), Cavalaire Sur Mur 29er Regatta (27 March – 2 April 2018) will bring together over 45 sailors between the age of 11-18 years of age from Australia, Finland, Ireland and Latvia.
2017 was a noteworthy year for the ZSL Team, delivering the best results since establishment in 2014. “Both Optimist and 29er sailors had fantastic results on an international level. I think the success signalled to both sailors and clubs that if the right level of effort, commitment and investment is in place, sailors can develop at a fast pace and achieve great results,” said McKenzie. In Finland, with three sailors qualifying for the Optimist Worlds Team, and 29er team Korhonen/Berner taking 6th in the European Championship and 5th at the ISAF Youth Worlds it will require a further shift up in gear to improve on these results in 2018. 2017 also saw the continuation of working with sailors, clubs and associations in New Zealand (NZIODA) and Latvia (RYC), whilst a new project began with Howth Yacht Club in Dublin, Ireland.
“One of the areas I want to focus on this year is delivering a more refined and focused service to our top sailors,” said McKenzie. “Educating sailors to build a training programme that encompasses both on and off the water elements. Educating sailors to understand KPIs and how to adequately prepare and have the ability to perform at their best. For our Optimist sailors, it’s a little different - we need to continue to create a fun yet competitive training environment where young sailors are motivated to learn and improve. We can do this by surrounding the sailors with enthusiastic coaches that expose them to the awesome opportunity sailing has to offer.”
With high demand across ZSL Optimist winter tours and 29er programmes, a set of new experienced coaches have been brought on board to expand ZSL’s reach across a range of sailors. Scott McKenzie, Tom Brewer and Elias Odrischinsky all offer ZSL something new in an effort to diversify their services and improve the overall level of coaching.
Scott McKenzie (NZL) is a past New Zealand Optimist National Champion and current 29er National Champion. Placing 5th in 29er Worlds in 2017 and 2018 (7th in 2016) Scott has a wealth of international racing experience. Scott will take part in ZSL Palamos coaching event.
Tom Brewer (AUS) is a past Australian Optimist National Champion. Tom has a wealth of sailing experience, including the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. He is a regular out on Sydney harbour in a variety of race yachts. Tom will take part in ZSL’s Lake Garda event.
Elias Odrischinsky (FIN) has attended the IODA World and European Championship (11th) and recently finished 3rd overall in the 29er EuroCup Series 2017. Elias will take part in ZSL’s Lake Garda event and 29er Academy programme.
“Constantly developing our coaching services is important. We have worked hard to create a strong platform built on a passion for sailing and coaching. Bringing on Scott, Tom and Elias adds tremendous value to our winter events, season programmes and to achieving our long-term goals. I’m really happy to welcome them into the Zealous Sailing Team, and I am looking forward to welcoming both familiar and new sailors to our programme in 2018.” said McKenzie.