Braassemermeer Easter Optimist Regatta 2009
Author: David Delamer Posted on: 6/5/09 Print Version

Team Ireland including Tara, Xander, Craig, Robert and Alex
relaxing en route to the race course
Seventeen Irish Optimist sailors, accompanied by 2 coaches and a host of parents, were invited to sail in Braassemermeer, Holland at the Annual International Easter Regatta. A strong contingent of five HYC sailors were included and a highlight of the arrival procedure for Tara Flood, Xander Morrison, Craig Campbell, Robert Ferris and Alex Delamer was the presentation of the Viking Marine sponsored Team Ireland jackets and hoodies.
The event consists of 3 days training followed by 4 days of racing. With 11 countries represented, the USA provided the largest overseas contingent outside of the Benelux.

Typical weather for the event ushered in the first day of training, a strong breeze gusting 25 knots. The sailors comfortably handled the conditions under the direction of their coaches Thomas Chaix and David White. Before the Regatta commenced, the Irish sailors combined with the GB, Dutch and Belgian sailors for some practice races to get up to speed.

After the below zero temperatures and snow at the event last year, snow suits and winter training gear had been packed but stayed in the suitcases as most of the racing was sailed under blue skies in medium to light airs. Sun block was in high demand.

Thatched Windmill
near Braassemermeer

Light airs with 3 fleets going in 3 directions
Following three days of racing the 220 boat fleet was divided into new flights of Gold Silver and Bronze to decide the prizes on the last day. Tara competed well in the Gold Fleet and was the top Irish girl coming in 80th (13th girl) overall. Xander sailed the last day in the Silver Fleet finishing 50th (140th overall). Craig, Robert, and Alex were all among the younger sailors at the event and can be credited with good performances in finishing out the event in the Bronze Fleet.

The hard work put in during the week in Braassemermeer is clearly reflected by the great results in the first leg of the Irish Team Trials in Crosshaven the week after their return.

Overall it was a well organized trip which meant the sailors could concentrate on their sailing easily and wind down quickly after racing. Our hotel was 40 minutes by canal from Braassemermeer

Loading up the RIB and 14 Oppies Trailer to go home
The geography of the location has a significant impact on logistics for the event. Braassemermeer is a dyked lake fed by two canals, with most of the surrounding land 8 meters below the lake. Car access to the venue is limited, so daily transfer from the hotel to the race area was by a 15 meter motor cruiser which doubled up for use for sailor briefings and changing rooms, food preparation for all sailors and parents, and keeping sailors happy between racing.

It also proved to be the best viewing point on Braassemermeer to follow all 17 sailors going in 17 different directions on the race course.

It is said that a few years ago Brian Tyrrell set up this concept of chartering a motor cruiser to and from the hotel via the canals. It is the envy of every other country attending and none have yet been able to replicate it. Sailors and their parents got a great opportunity to interact and work together to help ensure all the sailors left Braassemermeer wanting to do it again after an enjoyable week on the water.