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Kit Guide

Iona and Callum : Optimist sailing in France

By 30th September 2020
Hello from Southern France, We’re optimist sailors based in Antibes. Iona will tell you a little about her sailing first. ‘’I starting sailing when I was 7 years old, and in the last 2 years I’ve been sailing in the Optimist “Benjamin” Fleet in Southern France. The “Benjamin” fleet is for the younger sailors (up to 11 years old), and the “Minime” fleet is for the older optimist sailors. This summer I sailed at the CIE – Coupe International d’été. Through my regional results last season I had qualified to sail in the “Benjamin Qualified’’ fleet, and my goal for the event was to finish in the top 20. In the CIP – Coupe International de Printemps I finished 21st overall and was 4th girl, so I wanted to improve on this. During CIE we did 4 days of sailing. After the first day I was 12th overall in my fleet. The second day I did really badly. I went back to 21st. Mummy tried to encourage me after the racing that evening. In my fleet we kept doing general recalls so in 4 days of racing we only got 7 races in. I finished 13th overall and 1st girl. I was very happy about finishing 1st girl, and being selected to go to Martinique for the International Sailing Week of Schoelcher. For those of you who don’t know Martinique is one of the overseas French departments in the Caribbean. They generally have very good winds in February, and the water is warm – I can’t wait to go this year. It will be my second trip, as I was selected last year too, but last year I was the smallest on the team, and this year two of the team will be a year younger than me. Here’s a link to the host club in case anyone else is looking to escape cold winter weather for some wind and sunshine : Before February, I will sail in the regional regattas in the S.E France league for Optimists. I have just moved up to the minime fleet this September, and at my first minime regatta last weekend we had 20 knots. I finished 25th overall – I was so tired at the end of the day! Here’s a photo of the minime fleet starting one of the races.
Optimist Minimes start Les Sablettes,   28 September 2014 Optimist Minimes start
Les Sablettes,
28 September 2014
I’ll pass you over to my brother now who is nine years old.” “ This is Callum. I sailed in the Benjamin open fleet at CIE this summer – it was my first regatta in such a big fleet. There were 120 boats in the open fleet. At the beginning of the week, the fleet was split into 3 groups of 40 boats, and we changed groups each day. Half way through, we were split into gold, silver and bronze fleets. I was very happy when I found out that I had just made the cut for the gold fleet. One of my friends made the gold fleet too, and another one was in the silver fleet. In the gold fleet we had lots of races and it was quite hard. In the last race of the day, I finished 6th and my friend finished close to me. We were very happy as we sailed home that evening! Here’s a photo of our start :
Optimist Benjamin Open Gold fleet start, CIE Biscarrosse, July 2014 Optimist Benjamin Open Gold fleet start,
CIE Biscarrosse, July 2014
On Wednesday we did a race called a “raid” which was separate from the main race series. The “raid’’ is a longer race and it took all afternoon. I got a good start and finished 5th in it. Overall I finished 35th in the Benjamin open fleet. After the prize giving we visited Dune du Pyla, the biggest sand dune in Europe. It is huge and very steep to climb up. We had lots of fun running down it!'' Iona and Callum Wyper

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