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Ola from Palamós and the Optimist Nations Trophy

“I just want to follow up on the plans for a clinic and event support at Palamós Optimist regatta, as the planning of this is coming close to a point where we may be asking sailors to commit (e.g. if Matt (RSA), Magnus (BER) and Sebastian (BER) want to come the clinic is full). The plan is as follows: 1) to run a clinic with Robbie Burns for a few days before the event. There would be eight sailors in the clinic and they are all good sailors that have been in team GBR (and it would be so good to have Matt, Seb, Magnus in the mix). 2) to stay in a house together which has 18 beds so sailors can either stay with or without parent(s) (there is support on and off the water from parents if the sailor want to travel by themselves, we also have a couple of 7 seater cars and we would collect from the airport etc or fly from London with the others if that is easier), 3) we are putting boat transport on the road from the UK with a RIB which will go to two events Torrevieja and Palamós. At the moment there are three boats on that trailer that are not used at Palamós and they would be available to the three of you I believe. They are good boats (nearly new winner team boats etc) and it would cost a lot less than a commercial charter arrangement. The other advantage is that the boats are available from the date we start our training with Robbie. Conclusion, Palamós would require very little organisation from you with boats, coach, and accommodation in place. It is also designed to keep the cost down. The regatta itself is from 16-19 Feb 2017. We would start the training on the 12th perhaps (arrive on the Saturday if this suits people, but is flexible). Palamós is about 1 ½ hrs north east of Barcelona, Spain. What do you think?”

This was the invitation that got Matt Ashwell to Spain to participate in this annual International Regatta for Optimists. He left on the weekend and now finds himself as an entrant in a 550-strong fleet represented by 25 nations from across the globe. (550 Optimists at a regatta is simply mind boggling!)

Gavin (Matt’s Dad) reports that no sooner had Matt got to Palamós, he was out training in waves 4 times the size of what he is used to sailing out of Granger Bay! It’s chilly but there is good breeze, picking up to 20 knots later in the day.

There is a practice race on the afternoon of the 16th, followed by racing from the 17th to the 19th. Ian Walker (ex SA now living in Spain), a friend of Matt’s who came 3rd in the SA Nationals in December, is also participating. Matt fortunately will not be the ‘only lonely’ sailor representing South Africa, as he has many friends whom he met whilst sailing in the British Nationals last year.

Matt is in his element and having a blast (besides getting a rash today!) and is really looking forward to this, the biggest event he has yet participated in.

Way to go Matt!

The event can be followed here: http://www.palamosoptimisttrophy.org/en/default/races/race

Optimist Coaching at Pretoria Sailing Club

Claire Walker (SA Optimist team coach) will be running a full weekend of Optimist Coaching at Pretoria Sailing Club on Saturday the 25th and Sunday the 26th March from 8:30 am to 5 pm.


This is a great opportunity for sailors who are already competing in Grand Slams and/or have participated in Provincial/National championships or about to enter these events this year to train with Claire.

Free Camping facilities available at PSC for the weekend. Open Galley and Bar.

For registration, please contact Jeanne Stanley on jeannestanley@hotmail.fr. Please confirm attendance as soon as possible.

Cost: R200 per day or R400 for the weekend – lunch pack included. More details to follow, upon registration.