Sean Kavanagh had a strong showing at the 2019 African’s held in the Seychelles. He finished 4th overall, was first under 12, won two races, never finished worse than 8th. He turned 11 years old in August and weighing in at 36kg did very well in strong wind conditions, to compete with a strong Angolan team filled with 14 and 15 year old sailors, weighing in at 50-60kgs.
1. Congrats on your result. How did you feel about your performance at the African Champs?
I was very happy with my performance, achieving my pre-regatta goal of a top 5 and contending for a medal. I left some points out there, especially on the first day. I will take the lessons onboard for future regattas.
2. It was very close heading into the last day’s racing – was it nerve-wracking or was that extra motivation?
Conditions were very tough on the last day with winds gusting up to 30 knots. The Angolan sailors are over a head taller than me and weigh 15-25kgs more, so they had a natural advantage. I gave everything I had, but it was not to be. As I said above, the dropped points on day 1 came back to haunt me.
3. What do you think gave the Angolan sailors the edge?
The Angolans were tall, heavy, fit and sailed well. In the strong wind conditions this was always going to give them an advantage. They also had depth in their squad, with 8 sailors in the top 10. In most races there were only 2 or 3 non-Angolans in the top group. As such one always seemed to be covered by an Angolan. The Angolan sailors all had the same bids, same sails and very similar sail numbers such as 603, 306 etc. When they infringed the rules at the start in some races it was very difficult to remember which Angolan to protest. Consequently they got away with a few questionable starts, particularly barging the line on port at the pin with little regard for starboard boats. Next time we need to sort this out early in the regatta.
4. What was the highlight of the event for you?
I love the warm water, challenging conditions and amazing friendliness of the Seychelles people. I will back in a shot.
5. How did you find the conditions in the Seychelles?
Conditions were challenging, with wind in the moderate to fresh range, a 1.2 knot current, oscillating breeze, perpetual pin bias, right hand favoured race course and Angolans everywhere.
6. What’s next for you now in terms of events?
We have a training camp in Cape Town during the September school holidays and then work up to the Youth Nationals in December, with all our favourite club events in between.
7. What is it that you love about sailing?
I love making friends from other countries and the opportunity that sailing provides to travel internationally. I love being the captain of my own ship, love the competition and the mental and physical challenge that competitive sailing provides. Its a great sport, you’re outdoors and with your mates all day long, what could be better?
From an interview with Karien Jonckheere from SA Sailing.
Welcome from IODA VP Ajay Narang
On behalf of the International Optimist Dinghy Association, it is a pleasure to welcome young Optimist sailors, families and friends from more than 8 countries, who are set to make Seychelles their home this week as the racing action starts at the IODA African Championship 2019.
The premier event for Africa in the 2019 IODA Calendar, has attracted top sailors from Angola, Reunion Islands (France), Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and Seychelles to compete in five days of high octane racing off west coast of Mahe Islands, Seychelles.
Many of the international sailors who will be competing for their first time at the regatta – will be looking to make it to the top as quickly as possible. One sailor will be crowned the 2019 African Champion this week, but you are all champions having earned the right to be here by qualifying in your own country to be part of your national team. Be proud of your extraordinary accomplishment. I know you will represent yourself and your nation well.
A warm welcome to the team of International Technical Officials. For Race Management, Ilker Bayinder (TUR), is the IODA Principle Race Officer. The International Jury is comprised of Alan Keen (RSA) the Jury Chairman, Chris Atkins (GBR) Chief Umpire, Antonio Matta (POR), and Iuan Grey (RSA). Curly Morris, IM (IRL) is the IODA Chief Measurer, assisted by Ann Morris. A warm welcome and thanks also to Karl James (ANT) and Millicent Keen (RSA) who are here helping the race management team.
The 2019 IODA African Championship is only possible due to the hard work of the Organising Committee, and the many volunteers. Thank you for the several months of dedication and effort that has taken place to ensure that this event will be a success. We also thank the many sponsors who have financially supported this event.
To you, the sailors, I wish you fair winds and following seas !!
IODA VP Africa, Asia & Oceania
Good Morning Everyone!
I have been trying to send all the videos and photos from the trainings but they load very very slowly with this WiFi. Today at the club I will have time to load it all with good WiFi over there.
Trainings are going well on the water, in terms of performance in the water and in all physical and theory sessions all is going well.
We had 5 training sessions of around 2h in this last 3 days, normally with winds between 15/22knots with the exception of yesterday afternoon since we stayed inside training team racing on the supposed team racing area and the wind was light 5/8knots.
The wave conditions are very demanding as we are sailing after the channel and in between islands the waves, as we get closer to the racing area after the commercial harbour, get very high and choppy making body movement and mainsheet trimming super important to keep the boat dry, flat and to go fast.
On the 5 sessions we mainly work the following concepts:
– Mainsheet work with the gusts and waves;
– Rudder work;
– Hiking position;
– Influence of apparent wind, the bow stability and the depositing of the sail by the opening of the leech;
– Transits on the waves;
– Mainsheet work and mainsheet angles;
– Boat balance;
– Distance to the mark;
– Waves apparent wind and how to react;
– Leeward/Windward situations
– Covering tactics
The kids are prepared!
However I had to be a hard on all of them on their preparation before the sessions on land. They have been very unorganized in every sense, with their gear, boats, sail trimming, drinking water, putting suncream…and they are very loud on the boat park and hotel, seems like they are possessed all the time.
Hopefully will be better from tomorrow onwards.
Will keep you posted after today’s coach/team leaders meeting!
Team RSA Coach
Hi again everyone!
So we are all tuned, I took the option of not doing the practice race for the following reasons:
– We have 3 days of sailing already and we will have another 5 potential with hiking conditions so resting is needed;
– We are the team with more time on the venue so far;
– Practice race in IODA events is a circus, people only go to the top mark, don’t respect the start time and then come back so no real feedback comes out of it;
Enjoy your day!
See you later