RSA Second Overall

Team RSA sail away with two seconds – Matt Ashwell 2nd overall and Chiara Fruet 2nd girl in the African Optimist Championships 2016 which concluded last night with the closing ceremony and prize giving in Luanda, Angola.


Congratulations are in order to the entire team, coach Claire Walker and manager Shellee Nel. You have made South Africa proud.


Final Overall Results here

Updates from Angola

Day Two of racing at the Optimist African Championships 2016

Conditions were lighter than day one with a steady 5 to 8 knots from the SW. The sea state flattened off with the conditions very different from the previous day. The fleet was a lot less spread out after the start. The fleet split in two groups, one on the left and one on the right.

The weather mark rounding saw Matt in 2nd and Chiara 4th. Both worked very hard on the downwind. Finishing positions ANG, TAN, ANG, with Matt finishing 4th and Chiara 6th.

Race 5. The bridge used the U flag from the on set. After the first general went straight to the black flag. The sailors that followed the shifts up the middle came out ahead with the left group gaining towards the end.

Race 6 saw the breeze dropping with the shift to the right to follow the rain squall that formed over the city. Very difficult varying conditions saw the first boat finish 3 minutes ahead of the next boat. More than 15 boats were out of the time limit.

Team racing was held in the harbour along the waterfront in the downtown CBD. Great for spectators the racing was within 50m of the shore.


South Africa’s first match was against Algeria 1. The conditions were super light and patchy. Algeria are very aggressive sailors and our team did well to hold them off for two legs but the Algerians got through at the end.

Match 2 was against the Seychelles and RSA dominated from the onset.

Our 3rd match was against Angola team 2 and our sailors struggled in the messy conditions and Angola dominated to the end.

The final match between Algeria and Angola was a spectacle with the sailors fighting for every metre. Algeria made gains but Angola pulled back at the end. Angola were ecstatic with their victory.

Day Three

Race 7 was postponed as the race committee waited for the breeze to turn from the north back to its prevailing SW, which it did on cue. Our sailors were once again motivated to tackle the lumpy sea in the lighter air after a relaxing outing on the lay-day.

Everyone was more aggressive on the start and our sailors upped their game with everyone else as the regatta progresses. The fleet wasn’t split in gold and silver because there was only one fleet.

The fleet favoured the left of the course as the breeze continued clocking. Chiara had the best weather mark rounding of the South Africans followed by Matt and then Tristan and Keagan. The wind was still light in the long down wind and gradually built on the second upwind. Chiara finished 5th and Matt 19th.


By the start of the second race the wind had settled from the SW and was building. Matt found his form again with a top 10 rounding finishing 7th. Chiara got caught in a bunch and had to fight her way to 15th. Tristan and Keagan are struggling around 25th, where there never seems to be any clear air just a lot of boats on opposite tacks. Duncan is in the mid 30’s, Helen and Alex alternating around 40th.

At the end of today Matt is 2nd, Chiara 13th, Tristan 28th, Keagan 32nd, Duncan 36th, Helen 43rd and Alex 44th.

Overall Results here

Shellee Nel
Manager – Team RSA

Angola leads after second day

After the second day of competition, the team of Angola leads the general classification of the African Championship of Sailing Optimist in Luanda, with 7 sailors in the first 10 places.

Osvaldo da Gama, Angolan athlete, won the three races of the day. Second position appears Lawrence Simon, also of the Angolan team and third, Matt Ashwell of South Africa.

Moisés Camota, coach of the Angolan team, believes in the victory: “we have worked a lot to win. If we have wind, we’re going to win the Championship”. The female competition is led by Denise Parruque Mozambican, followed by Chiara Fruet of South Africa and Algeria Rym Isra Day.

The coaches like the wind and sea conditions, at the races. Cesar Sanchez, coach of Mozambique, hopes to keep the titles achieved in previous years: “We want to lead the women’s classification. As for the racing field, is a fair field”. View shared by Claire Walker, coach of South Africa: “We’ve had strong wind and weaker, which is good for all the sailors”.

The second day of competition with less wind than the first, vary between 7 and 8 knots and with some rain, the last of three races held.

At the African Championship of Sailing Optimist are 47 participating athletes, of which 11 are female. In addition to the national team, there are Mozambique, Algeria, Tanzania, South Africa, Seychelles, and Zimbabwe.

The Organization of the race is in charge of the Naval Club of Luanda and the Angolan Water Sports Federation.

Some event statistics

In numbers:
Number of volunteers: 40 (26 ashore, 14 on the water)
Average age of the volunteers: 16 years old
Number of Ambulances on site: 2
Number of police on site: 51 (traffic, safe and rescue, navy)
Number of RC boats on the water: 14
Number of Coach boats on the water: 5
Number of Police boats on the water: 2
Number of fire department boats on the water: 1
Liter of fuel used a day: 1005 liters
Number of TV channels directly covering the event: 7
Number of “Drones” shooting images of the event: 2
Number of reporters present in the venue: 6
Number of persons cooking for the event: 11
Number of sandwiches served per day: 364
Number of pieces of fruit served per day: 364
Number of COLD drinks served per day: 182 energy drinks and 549 bottles of water.

On the move:

Minutes spent from the Optimist boat park to the beach: 7
Minutes spent to launch all sailors: 11 minutes
Minutes from the beach to race course area: 6 minutes

Report by Clube Naval de Luanda

Report on Day One

Day one of the course racing at the African Optimist Championships 2016 is done and dusted, with 3 races completed in the building SW. The course was the IODA regulation trapezoid with a second beat on the outside loop and the finish at the top of the second beat.

The start of the first race was postponed while RC waited for the breeze to fill in. It is IODA policy to use the U flag from the onset and go straight to black flag should they require it. This doesn’t deter eager sailors.

Even though the line was almost even, the pin-end starters had a challenge to go around the big pin boat. Needless to say the pin-end is mayhem. For the small 47 boat fleet the line was more then adequate, but the sailors nervousness was evident with them all making a lot of basic mistakes. In the 2nd row there is excessive tacking and the list goes on . . .


The first beat was long, about 16 minutes. The fleet was clearly split with one group on either side of the course. The left group only made gains towards the end of the beat. Matt rounded the weather mark in 4th. Angola 1st, Angola 2nd and Mozambique 3rd.

Keagan rounded 15th as the second South African, the others followed in close succession.

At the finish: Matt 2nd, Keagan 15th, Chiara 25th, Tristan 27th, Duncan 34th, Helen 44th, Alex 46th.

Race 2 started in about 12 knots with the sea state picking up to a steep chop and a small ground swell. Almost no current with the wind over water continuously pushing the boats back on the start. At the first rounding Matt rounded 2nd and Chiara 8th. The others were further down the fleet. Downwind proved to be a lot of fun with the steep chop.

Matt finished 1st and Chiara 9th.


Race 3 the breeze built to 14 knots at the start and shifted another ten degrees to the left. Everyone’s start was better but some of sailors were forced to the right with the majority of the fleet favouring the left. In the stronger breeze the top rounding proved tricky, with a lot of sailors under laying and having to put in multiple tacks to get up to the starboard lay-line. Matt rounded 4th after touching the mark and had to do a turn.

Chiara was the next South African followed by Keagan and Tristan. The breeze kept building and the downwind became quite challenging. No capsizes in our team but a lot of tired bodies.

Finishing positions were Matt 6th, Chiara 34th, Keagan 28th, Tristan 25th, Duncan 31st, Helen 36th and Alex 41st.

Shellee Nel
Manager – Team RSA

Angola are proud hosts

African Optimist Championships 2016

In the set of three races held on the first day of individual competition, Lourenço Simão, Angolan National Team, leads the overall standings, having obtained a third place and two seconds. Also the Angolan selection, Osvaldo da Gama is the runner-up, having won two of the races of the day. In third place is Matt Ashwell of South Africa.

Teams in the race field of Luanda, had favorable sea with the wind blowing from the southwest at an average speed of 15 knots.


The official opening of the African Optimist Championship sailing took place on the island of Luanda, with all teams represented. Symbolically, a mixture of waters from 7 countries participating, was deposited in the sea. A symbolic gesture of unity between the African continent.


Ana Paula da Silva Neto, Secretary of State for Sport of the Republic of Angola, used the ceremony to talk about the importance of the event: “Angola is the capital of the African Championship. In addition to increasing the spirit of children, draws the attention of the adults to the sport. It’s a great way to show Angola to Africa and the world. A good way to do diplomacy”.


Nations represented in the competition are Angola, Mozambique, Algeria, Tanzania, South Africa, Seychelles and Zimbabwe, with a total of 47 athletes. The Organization of the race is in charge of the Naval Club of Luanda and the Angolan Water Sports Federation.

Report by Clube Naval de Luanda