It’s been an action packed 18 days on the road for Zealous Sailing!
Lake Garda Optimist Clinic + Regatta Coaching [22 March – 1 April]
Cavalaire-sur-Mer 29er Training + EuroCup Event [27 March – 2 April]
IODAI Irish Optimist Trials [4 – 8 April]
Beginning 22 March, Zealous Sailing held its largest Optimist clinic outside of New Zealand with 19 sailors across 4 countries. Sam McKenzie, Tom Brewer and Elias Odrischinsky led the international coaching event. The four day training clinic consisted of a moderate-strong Ora breeze, providing an awesome training ground for the sailing team to build on technique and speed. “I’m glad we had four excellent days of training,” said McKenzie. “We seemed to arrive a day earlier than everyone else. This allowed us to avoid the pandemonium, set up early and make the most of our time out on the water.”
The four day clinic was followed by the Lake Garda Optimist Meeting, famously positioned as the world’s largest one design sailing regatta. The conditions for the regatta were far from typical. Low cloud, rain and light winds made it a difficult event. Despite the tough conditions the sailors posted some fantastic individual top 10 results, and undoubtedly took away some invaluable lessons. “It was nice to see the sailors stay motivated despite the difficult conditions and long days – it was definitely not an easy event for the sailors.” said Odrischinksy.
The Zealous Sailing Team was lucky to have coaches Brewer and Odrischinsky lead the regatta, while McKenzie shifted to the French Rivera. Both very accomplished dinghy sailors in their own right, the coaches added greatly value all week long. “I had a great time working with Zealous Sailing’s athletes during our time together in Lake Garda” said coach Tom Brewer. “It’s always a pleasure to meet and work with talented sailors from around the world.”
Simultaneously to the Lake Garda Meeting, 29er sailors gathered in the French Rivera to take part in one of the seasons most notable regatta’s. 30 March – 2 April was the 10th anniversary of the Cavalaire-sur-Mer 29er EuroCup, which attracted 110 29ers. The regatta signalled the start of the season for the team of five (crews), as a part of Brändö Seglare Performance Programme, developed & managed by Zealous Sailing. With the exception of the last day the regatta consisted primarily of moderate to strong winds. “It was perfect to have all the conditions that we need to improve on”, said Sailing Team Korhonen/Berner, who finished 10th in the event.
“This regatta was a great way to start the season. The challenging sea state is something that all our teams really need to build on.” said McKenzie. “The lessons learnt in Cavalaire serve as an excellent platform for the season ahead. All our teams either have the ISAF Youth Worlds or Helsinki European Championships as their KPI [Key Performance Indicator] for the season. The sailors know there is plenty of work to do… both on and off the water.”
Following on from Cavalaire-sur-Mer head coach McKenzie flew to Dublin to coach a group of up and coming Optimist sailors in the Irish Optimist Trails. Held out of Dún Laoghaire’s Royal St. George Yacht Club, the four day event served as the national qualification for IODA Worlds and European Championship events. As a part of an ongoing project over the European winter, the sailors were motivated to put their training into practise with the goal of representing Ireland at the highest level of Junior sailing. Across the 10 races, the sailors finished in 2nd, 3rd and 8th overall qualifying two of the sailors to represent Ireland at the IODA World Championships in Cyprus and one of the sailors to represent Ireland at the IODA European Championships in the Netherlands.
“The sailors achieved their goals!” said McKenzie. “Nothing makes me happier than seeing these young talents train hard all through the winter, in the snow; the rain; and the wind; and come out over four days, in a high pressure environment and deliver outstanding results. It’s very impressive, and is a great stepping stone for what these young guys want to achieve in the future… this is only the start!”
It has been a memorable 18 days for the Zealous Sailing Team and boasts well for the future. “We’ve [Zealous] worked with some great sailors over the past few weeks across our different events.” said McKenzie. “It’s going to be a busy season ahead with some very exciting projects across different classes and events. I said at the beginning of the season that one of our focuses for 2018 was to deliver a more refined and focused service to our top sailors, whilst maintaining a fun, yet competitive training environment where sailors are motivated to improve. To date, I think we are hitting that target. To continue, it’s going to require good management, clear communication and group of enthusiastic coaches.”