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My Sailing Summer, Nick Evans – Allen Academy

My summer of sailing kicked off with a fun and relaxing time in a Feva during Cadet week at my home club, the Blackwater Sailing Club.

Immediately after Cadet Week, I travelled up to Pwllheli in North Wales to compete in the Optimist British National Championships. It was a tough event with mixed wind speeds and directions. My best results were 6th and 10th in senior gold I finished 37th overall and 15th Brit.

Nick At the Nationals, Pwllheli

Not only was there good fleet racing at the Nationals, but also team racing was featured on the schedule for the first time. It took place on the lay day and around 30 sailors took part to practice their boat handling and team racing manoeuvres. My team managed to win 6 out of the 7 races, so we came first.

I then hurried back to the Blackwater Sailing Club to compete in Club week, a social event for sailors of all ages. I sailed in my optimist and won both main and second series. A tradition at the BSC is for all the series winners to compete together to see who is the ‘Cock of the Club’. I managed to win this beating my sister who was a close second.

Next up was the Europeans Team Racing in Lago di Ledro. This was the highlight of my summer. 30 degrees heat every day with a steady 7 knots, perfect team racing conditions. Our 4-person team took to the water wearing board shorts and rash vests, even in the 2 storms where it was still 25 degrees. We completed 17 races and won just under half, winning all our races on the first day so we had a really good start.

Nick team racing Lago Di Ledro

The penultimate event of my summer was the IOCA Late Summer Championships in Poole Harbour. It was 10 knots all weekend, gusty, shifty and sunny, champagne sailing. My first race was a respectable 13th. My 2nd race saw a big right shift kick in, and unfortunately, I was on the left-hand side of the beat so I was 50th around the windward mark, a good downwind and final beat saw me into 20th. The final race was my best one of the day with a hard-fought 2nd to the winner of the event Santi Sesto Cosby. We were tacking on each other constantly up the final beat. Day 2 started with a bang as I took the first bullet of the day! Race 2 was similar with a 5th and I got a 7th in the final race of the event. Overall I came 7th out of 180 sailors (5th senior) and the worst bit was I didn’t even get a prize!


Nick at Poole

My final event of the summer was an Optimist open at my home club on Saturday. It was a one-day event with 4 tightly contested races. I managed to win 3 out of the 4 races so won the Open. I tried out a North R2 radial demo sail for North which was fun.

Home Water, Nick Sailing at BSC


Thank you Allen Sailing for helping me throughout the summer with the new auto ratchet block, spars and sails, I’ve had an absolutely brilliant summer.

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Nick Evans Euros Blog

In May at the Optimist Selection Trials, I qualified to compete at the 2018 European Optimist Championships at Scheveningen in the Netherlands, alongside six other British sailors – three girls and three other boys.

The racing started on the 25th June but to get used to the conditions, check rigs, go through measurement and registration, the team went out five days ahead.

Measurement was an entirely new experience. All boats were weighed while there was nothing in them, even the buoyancy bags had to be deflated! Sails weren’t allowed to have sail ties on while they were measured, foils were weighed, checked for size and width/length. My rudder was 12 grams too light, nothing that my coach Robbie Burns couldn’t fix.

Unfortunately, we lost two training days because of too much wind. Instead, we did lots of theory and fitness training, including a 5km run, stretches/yoga and swimming. We did go out on the last day of training and tried to get used to the wavy, choppy and tidal conditions. The waves were especially big that day, following the storms of the previous days. Not only was it hard to get good boat speed but there was lots of tide.

The next day (Sunday) was one of the best, even though we didn’t sail. We saw the finish of the Volvo Ocean Race and Dongfeng winning by a tight margin. We could see the boats from miles away as they were huge. Later in the week, we were lucky enough to sail beside some of the VOR boats while we launched and came back in.

And now to the racing: it was really, really tough! Every boat there had incredible speed and tactics.  On the first day, the lightest day, I got a 30th and 50th, so a solid start. On the next day which was the longest day (we got back in at 7.30pm having launched at 10 am) we did three races and I got 52nd, 19th and 37th, which I was pleased with. On the third day, the final day of qualifying racing I got a 38th and a 14th, a good finish to the series putting me in 66th overall (out of 150 boats) and in Gold, so I was really pleased.

On the fourth day of racing there was 14 knots and sun, perfect sailing conditions. I got a 44th and 69th an okay start to Gold fleet. We only did one race on the final day of racing and I finished 60th which I was disappointed with, as at one stage I was coming 40th but then I missed a shift and lost 20 places so quickly.  At the end of the event, I finished 67th – and 55th European!!

Overall the team did really well. Six of us made it to Gold fleet which everyone says is a great achievement. It was an amazing experience. Tough but exciting racing in which I learnt a lot. I also met loads of sailors from some of the 44 countries represented at the event. I want to thank Allen for the great blocks, especially the new AutoRatchet, my parents for giving me the opportunity and my head teacher for giving me the time off school.

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Allen Academy Sailor Nick Evans At The Optimist Selections

I competed at the Optimist Selections Trials on the 4 to 7 May. It’s an invitational event held each year at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. The top 80 Optimist sailors in the UK compete to represent Team GB at the Optimist Worlds, Europeans, the Flanders Regatta and, this year, the North American Championships. The catch is that just a limited number of places are available. The weather was glorious but the wind not so. It was very light for all four days, never exceeding the 10-knot mark and sometimes zero, gusting zero!

PRO, Adrian Stoggall, managed to get four races off on the first day. I sailed consistently which left me in the top 10.  Unfortunately, the wind died on the next two days – which meant a lot of sitting around and waiting; something that I am not very good at. On the last day, just as everyone thought the event would be abandoned, the signal was given to launch. One last race was sailed in light and shifty conditions. I managed to end up in ninth spot overall, securing a place in the European Team. This means I go to the European Championship to be held at Scheveningen in Holland next month. I am really pleased as I achieved my goal but disappointed for some of my friends who missed out, some by just a few points.


I used the new Allen X2 AutoRatchet – A2360 – on the mainsheet for the first time. It worked a treat – holding fast on the upwind and giving the ability to play the sail on the downwind legs.  I was also chuffed that fellow Team Allen member – and 49er World Champion – Dylan Fletcher was on hand to present the trophies. I chatted with him afterwards. It was very interesting to hear about his plans for the year. One day I hope to sail a 49er and I hope Dylan can give me a few tips once I am big enough!!!

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Allen Academy Optimist Sailor Nick Evans Easter Blog

Over Easter I went to Holland to compete at two regattas – the Magic Marine Easter Regatta held each year on Lake Braassemermeer near Amsterdam and then the Optisprings held at Port Zelande in southern Holland.

We had two days of training before the event which was important as I needed to get use to the very choppy, shifty and gusty lake. The first day of training brought light winds and rain – a horrid combination – so we struggled to do many exercises. The next day however was much better even if it was only 2 degrees because there was a solid 10 knots of wind.

We did three races on the first day where I got a 22nd a 12th and a 24th. I was disappointed in my last race as I was coming 12th before I got caught out by a big right wind-shift.

The next day was much like the first training day with 5 knots and big wind-shifts, so only one race, instead of the scheduled four, was completed. On that day I got a 21st which was a good result as I was last around the top mark due to a poor start in the middle of the line.

The third day is normally the start of the final series but as all the flytes had not completed at least five races, there was another day of qualifying. My results were 29th, 33rd (which was my discard) and an 11th which was a good finish to an otherwise disappointing day.

I was very happy as I made it into Gold Fleet which was one of my goals coming into this event. Gold fleet was definitely a step-up and I realise how much more improvement is needed.

My next stop was the Optisprings. I did two days of training before the event which was great as it was gusting and 15 degrees, almost Spring like. The wind, however, didn’t hold out for the Regatta, with just 10 knots on the first day and 6 knots on the second.

On the first day there were four races and four bad starts for me which was disappointing.  However I managed to stay consistent with a 30th (discard), a 15th, an 11th and a 13th. The second day was lighter, so light that a race was abandoned half way down the penultimate leg. This was annoying as I was coming 5th which would have been my best race. On the race that we did complete, I won the committee end and tacked out left into pressure. I was eighth around the windward mark but due to a long run I lost 10 boats on the downwind as a huge gust came down on the other side of the course.

I think my time abroad was a very good experience as it has shown me how much improvement I need to make to be at the top of the fleet.

I want to thank Allen again for the boat and their great blocks and support and my parents for taking me.