Szymon Matyjaszczuk Crewing Tips

There is no one way of crewing, and the roles a crew must deliver from boat to boat differ but some fundamentals remain the same whether its sailing a 49er or the GP14. Now before I start I do not claim to be the expert on crewing as my journey and development is still growing, also I don’t expect everything I will write in this article to work for everyone. But, nevertheless here are some of my views on how to improve your crew work in and out of a GP.

My first tip would be to practice manoeuvres.

This may be quite a generic tip, but it is so key as it needs to be done properly. This should be done by talking to your helm about each step of every possible manoeuvre. For example, coming up to the windward will look out for the next leg driver which will influence how the upcoming manoeuvre will play if its straight hoist the crew should prep the pole, twin and pull the guy so that the kite can clear the genoa or jib, then the crew should ease the kicker  and put the board up to ease the bear away and helm should put the kite up as soon as possible and it’s the crews job to get the pole out as quickly as possible, if it’s a reach hoist the helm and crew need to communicate to hoist the kite at the same time as there is a moment where putting the pole on is quite easy with this method. Now the reason I believe practicing manoeuvres is so crucial is first it will improve your sailing dramatically if you can have near perfect manoeuvres it also gives you confidents within the boat and gives you more options on the racecourse.

My second tip is to sail as many boats as possible with the best people you can find

This is the one tip that has improved my sailing the most, as I believe this has given me the most experience. Which in my opinion shapes a good crew as they are able to foresee different situations that may not happen so often within a class. For example on the start line 420s are extremely manoeuvrable meaning there are many different manoeuvres that can help out with holding a good position on the line. But to contrast this when I jumped into a merlin which is the complete opposite where doing a double tack is extremely risky/ near impossible in the last moments pre start, The merlin taught me to pick my spot on the line carefully and how to have accurate jib work.

My third tip is to have confidence in your controllables

This one is sometimes forgotten but keeping fit will help you make better decisions throughout any race day. Keeping your equipment working and too your preference will improve your ability to perform manoeuvres to your best ability, one addition that has made the biggest difference within the GP has to be adding an Allen ratchet to the genoa as it means I can play the sheet up wind easily reducing my fatigue during the day, This also lets you achieve the right leach tension in strong winds with ease. Also make your systems within your boat easily fixable as within the GP class we don’t have coach boats and support boats that are going to carry all your spares.

Fourth tip is comms

Comms are so important but are very different within each boat, they are very dependent on who does what within each partnership. The main comms that a crew should be feeding into the helm are your position in comparison to others, shifts, pressure and speed compared to other boats as this will help you with your decisions on the course and what mode to sail in.

In my opinion time in the boat and experience is the best way to improve your crewing and playing around with different techniques will take you the furthest. Don’t be afraid to explore and ask other sailors why they do things in the way they do. But if you try a wide range of techniques and methods, then you will realise what works for you or the boat your sailing.

Pascoe Takes Another World Title

Team Allen sailor Megan Pascoe has claimed another 2.4 World Championship title! Read about her time at the event below


Nearly 80 boats arrived in Genoa at the Yacht Club Italiano for the 2.4mR World Championships last week. Multiple world champions were within the fleet with only a handful of the top sailors absent. Registration and measurement were easy and we all left for the practice race. We had an offshore breeze and a nice 7 knots. By the time we had got halfway up the beat the wind disappeared. If this was a sign of things to come we were in for a long week.


Turning up on Tuesday we looked out to sea to big waves and big breeze. When even the tug boats were going underwater staying on dry land seemed safer. After a thoroughly entertaining day of putting the world to rights we hoped Wednesday would be better. It was and the fleet left the dock in what we thought was a nice 8 knots, or that’s what the forecast let us believe. What we really had was 16 knots and big waves. 3 races were sailed. Having not been in those conditions for a few years it was nice that I seemed to have a bit of pace. I finished the day with a 1,1,2. With a few of the top sailors already collecting letters and the chance of 2 discards being slim, it was going to be an interesting series. The usual players were at the top with Marko Dahlberg from Finland putting in a 2,2,1 showing that he is still one of the fastest in the breeze. Stellan Berlin from Sweden with a UFD and two other results in the top 4 was showing why he is a multiple world champion. Paralympians Heiko Kroger and Bjornar Erikstad were going well but both with a UFD a DNF, they were going to struggle to get to the top.


By Thursday no one believed the forecast and after a delay we went out in 12 knots with slightly fewer waves. Stellan left us all in his wake with Marko and fellow Fin Rikard Bjorstrom making the top 3. As we crossed the line we found that Stellan had a UFD making it look like it was going to be a two horse race between Marko and I. We tried a start for race 5 under a black flag but with a 90 degree wind shift and a large black cloud the race was abandoned up the first beat and we went home. It was difficult to see if we were ever going to get a series in. After the cloud passed we left the dock again and had the 5th race in a nice breeze. Heiko took the race win, I finished second and Fia Fjelddahl in third cementing her place inside the top 3. Marko made a rare result outside the top 3 setting up an exciting last day.


Friday was 16 – 20 knots with the waves as big as usual. It was going to be a big day to end it all. I was having a good race with Heiko and Antonio from Italy in a building breeze and I managed to beat Heiko up the last beat. With Marko in 4th, I had one hand on the trophy. The wind dropped enough to encourage the race committee to run another race. It was getting windier and windier as we went up the first beat. A rain cloud came in and a few of us headed to the spreader mark instead of the windward mark. Antonio went the right way and walked away with the race. With the wind on the fleet’s limit, we went home and that was the end to a very entertaining series. I was very happy to win my second world title. It was great to do it with my parents watching and so many British and Irish around. The 2.4 fleet is a great fleet to be part of with a varied group of people. The top 4 were from 4 different countries, a mix of female and male competitors, able-bodied and disabled, 3 different sailmakers and 2 different mast makers.


An Aussie asked me what the secret of the week was. Some suggest it might have been the longer keel but with most of the other boats on standard keels I’m unsure of that. With sail set up I set up with more twist to get through the waves. Depowering more to get the boat balanced so you can steer through the waves. Then it is just concentrating on the steering to keep the boat going. Finding the windward mark is always useful as is being able to see the flags! An electric pump that is reliable is a simple win but an important one that can save you from joining the submarine core. The last point is sending it downwind. Learning to steer around the waves and getting the pump in the right place.

But most importantly is having reliable kit! So a thanks must go to Allen for ensuring my boat is fully sorted.


All in all a great way to end 2019.


Photos courtesy of Yacht Club Italiano.


Sailing the Allen Academy Optimist – Patrick Bromilow

I picked up the Allen Academy optimist on my way home from the Magic Marine Easter Regatta in Braassemermeer. I was very excited and super happy to have been picked to sail the optimist this season.

As soon as we got home, I went sailing in it at my local club and it felt great. I went to a few local travellers’ events to get used to the boat before getting ready to sail in the first ranking event of the season, which was the Inland Championships at Grafham Water. I decided that I wanted a new sail for my weight, as I had been sailing with OneSails before I got the Allen boat, so was very happy to receive a OneSail Light from OneSails UK. I was excited to be going to race in a big fleet with the new sail and boat. Unfortunately, when we got there, there was no wind for the entire weekend, so no races were sailed at all! Everyone was very disappointed, especially me!

Next chance for big fleet racing was the Oppi Nationals at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. I was looking forward to this whole week of racing. I was a bit disappointed with my results overall for the Nationals. I made gold fleet, but I felt that I wasn’t sailing as fast as usual. It was very windy most days, and I struggled to flatten my boat in the gusts, and the boat kept stalling in the choppy conditions. This regatta left me wondering what was wrong with my sailing, and I had lots of chats with other sailors, parents and coaches about what could have been the problem.

Next up was the Irish Optimist Nationals in Howth, which I travelled to as part of the junior GBR team. I decided to take my old boat to this event, just to see if there was a difference in my boat speed. This was another very windy regatta, with a couple of days spent ashore due to the high winds. However, the days that I did sail, I felt a bit better than at the British Nationals, but I still struggled in the heavy gusts to keep my boat flat.

When we came home, after more discussions with lots of oppi parents and sailors, we decided that a new flexible rig in the Allen boat would be a good thing to try. So, I was very lucky to be able to get a BlackGold Flexi rig from Xtremity. It arrived just in time for the Late Summer Championships at Draycote Water Sailing Club, the second ranker of the season.

Another windy regatta! I felt really confident and good about going sailing on the first day, even though it was very windy with big gusts coming through. The first day I sailed really well and managed to keep my boat flat in the gusts, I could see my rig flexing as I kept on sailing. I managed to get a 3rd and a 6th on the first day, but I also got a black flag which meant my discard was gone. The second day didn’t go as well, I started with a 13th and then the race after that I capsized, then in the final race I was still thinking about my capsize so wasn’t concentrating and ended up with a 33rd. I knew that I could sail fast and do well with the new set up on the boat, so I focussed on those positives.

The final ranking event of the season was End of Seasons at Weymouth. I had left myself with a lot of hard work to do. I needed to do really well at this event so that I made one of the Winter squads. I had been in IOCA squad last winter, so I wanted to go into a higher squad for this winter.

I thought it would be a good idea to do the IOCA pre-event training the week before at Weymouth to give me a good chance of doing well for the End of Seasons. It was a super windy weekend again, but I had a great weekend of training and really got used to the new set up on the boat. I was feeling ok about the following week – apart from the 6-hour drive both ways to get there!

The first day of End of Seasons was raining like crazy, so we all rigged up in the hanger and put our rigs in the rig stands to wait for launch. I was feeling really good about my BlackGold lite spars and my OneSail light, and spent quite a bit of time setting up my rig. We launched in quite light wind, with the race area in about 3 and 12 knots of breeze. The first race I finished 11th, which was ok, but not good enough – I needed to do better! So, I made some adjustments and set up my rig again before the next races. I got a 3rd and then a 5th, so it ended up as a great day on the water.

The forecast for the second day was for too much wind, so we were postponed for a bit to start with, but then we were told to get ready to launch, so we went sailing whilst the wind was about 25 knots. It must have got up to about 35 knots when we were sailing out to the race area – it was so windy! Just before the start, it dropped to about 15-26 knots. I was still feeling great about my BlackGold lite spars and OneSail light, and I could see my rig flexing in the gusts. I had also depowered by de-spriting my rig which helped a lot. We only managed 1 race before the wind really picked up and we were sent to shore. I got a 9th in that race, which I was really happy with. I finished 8th overall and 2nd junior.

I was really hoping from my great EoS results, and my not so good LSC result, that I would get a squad invitation. So, I was really happy when I got the invite to join National Squad for the Winter!

I’m looking forward to a great Winter of training with my new squad, with some of my friends. The pressure is off now for a while. The next event is the Winter Championships at Datchet, which is always great fun and I’m excited to race, now that I’ve got the boat really sailing fast for me and the set up is really great!

Endeavour Trophy 2019

Saxton and Lewis made it an incredible 5 in a row this weekend at the 2019 Endeavour Trophy. Highlight videos and full report below.

Full Report

Endeavour Trophy 2019

The Endeavour Trophy Championship is one of the most prestigious sailing events in the UK calendar and dates back to 1961. This invitation-only event was created to pick out the “Champion of Champion’s” by gathering the winner’s of various National classes and pitting them against each other in predetermined boats over a weekend of racing in October.

Stakes are high at this year’s Endeavour as last year’s winner Ben Saxton is hoping to improve on his tally of wins and make it five in a row, and six in total. Nick Craig, who currently holds the most wins, will also be competing and looking to take home the trophy for the seventh time.

Liz Adams, Managing director of Allen Brothers, Said “The Endeavour Trophy is such a special event, not only for the sailors good enough to be invited but also for the sailing community of the River Crouch. Having such a historical race taking part on local waters is great for aspiring future generations. Allen has been supporting the event for many years with Tony Allen repairing the trophy and Kim Allen being highly involved as PRO. We are proud to continue our support of this prestigious competition.”

This year the Endeavour Trophy will have live tracking. All available online for anyone to watch HERE. Spread the news and cheers on your class teammate!

See the 2019 entry list here. 

Endeavour History

The history of this event starts at the challenge for the America’s Cup in 1934 by Tommy Sopwith’s J Class “Endeavour”.  After a dispute found him crewless and needing to find a replacement crew at short notice Sopwith contacted ‘Tiny’ Mitchell, the Commodore of the RCYC at the time, he rounded up a bunch of eager members – all of them amateurs – and sent them off to battle the prestigious “Rainbow”.

The series of races between the American defenders sailing “Rainbow” and the Amateur British challengers on “Endeavour” went on to be full of controversy. Endeavour won the first two races but lost the series, the closest the British have ever got to winning the coveted America’s Cup. Some years after the Americas Cup Challenge Robin Judah, RCYC member and GB representative in the International Dragon Class at the Acapulco Olympics had a conversation with Beecher Moore who was part of the Endeavour crew.

Together they worked to establish a series of races for dinghy sailors so that a “Champion of Champions” could be crowned. They agreed that a suitable trophy would be required and after a visit to London Silver Vaults Beecher purchased a replica of the J class Endeavour in silver and donated it to the RCYC. After several years of a victor claiming the trophy and a lack of appreciation from the value of the Silver J Class Replica it fell into a sorry state – sometimes going home rolling around the boot of a car under respective sailing equipment – Tony Allen, Co-founder of Allen Brothers, was tasked with the job of restoring the desirable trophy, and so he built the necessary tools to undertake the refit. The Endeavour trophy now stays in its display cabinet at the entrance of the RCYC clubhouse and the winner takes home a half model instead.


X2 AutoRatchet Review


Thanks to our Team Allen sailor, Nathan Edwards, for this fantastic review of the A2360 – X2 AutoRatchet.



The “X2” pawl system incorporates two pawls into the mechanism for the AutoRatchet block and allows the load to be evenly shared between both, this allows the block to withstand higher working loads while also increasing both the reliability and longevity of the block when compared to the older AutoRatchet designs.

Billy Vennis-Ozanne Catch Up

Team Allen’s Billy Vennis-Ozanne was at the Allen supported J70 Worlds, so we had a quick catch up. Check out what Billy’s been up to and what he thinks of the A2020Tii blocks

Monique Vennis-Ozanne 29er Summer

After four weeks of exams throughout May and June I finally finished school and my summer of sailing in my 29er could began. I usually sail with John Mather, but, I also had the chance to sail with my brother Billy, who is also a member of Team Allen.


Summer started off in Kiel for the 29er Eurocup as part of Kiel Week. This week is always a good one, especially as a treat from finishing school a week beforehand. We were treated even more with sunny weather and wind all week. It was a week of many general recalls, the most I’ve ever experienced, and lots of black flags. Despite this, John and myself sailed a consistent series in 10-18knots most of the time to round up Kiel Week 18th out of 118, so a good start to the summer.


Next up was the Hayling 29er GP. There was a brief postponement leaving us sailors waiting in anticipation to get out onto the classic Hayling summer water; sunny, breezy and wavy. We had a slow start with a 9th and 10th then found our pace with two 2nds. The streak of 2nds continued onto Sunday with two more 2nds followed by a 1st and 5th. This left us happily 2nd overall in the 55-boat fleet.


Following the Hayling island event, my brother, dad and I drove the 1100 miles to Gydnia, Poland for the 29er World Championships. We had the van fully loaded to the brim with four 29ers, a Rib and plenty of spare parts. We arrived a few days early so we could do a cheeky bit of practising as Billy and I hadn’t sailed together since April. This would also be our second event together. I also needed some time to get used to having someone 20kgs heavier than John upfront again. We had a bit of breeze throughout the practice days and qualifying, Billy was loving the Allen 50mm pro-ratchets for the kite sheets as they reduced the load of the kite for his softy’s hands!



We had what could’ve been a very good qualifying series, scoring a 3rd, 2nd, UFD, 35th, 3rd and 2nd. The 35th came after a frustrating pitchpole, nevertheless I’m still super pleased to have got some great results at my first World Championships. The final series was lighter, and Billy and I struggled a bit more due to our weight. We finally finished 36th out of 175 at my first Worlds, Which I am really pleased with.


The last event for me this summer was the Europeans, held in another amazing location.  Arco, Lake Garda, Italy. Nothing beats racing with the Garda mountains as your backdrop. Our qualifying was average apart from a 2nd and 3rd when the wind eased off briefly. Silver fleet was still a high standard with two world number ones amongst us and pretty windy conditions all week. Fortunately, there were no complications or breakages due to our reliable Allen hardware. We were able to really crank the Kicker and Cunningham on to depower us and not have to worry.


After the long week, with far too many 7am starts, we ended the event placed 13th Silver and 73rd overall out of 210 boats.


I have thoroughly enjoyed my first summer of sailing the 29er and I am looking forward to the next one as the Worlds is on our home waters of Weymouth.


Thanks again to Allen for supporting me with the most reliable kit!

Jamie Harris Sailing Summer 2019

My summer started with the OK Europeans as part of Kiel week, my first major international OK event which I really enjoyed, competing against the top OK sailors was inspiring and the event ended on a high as I won the Junior (first under 23) title. With the World Championships coming to the UK in 2022 there is much hard training to be had in order to make the team and challenge the old-guard!


The next event on the calendar was 470 Junior Europeans in Vilagarcia De Arousa, Galicia Spain, crewing for Tom Collyer. An epic drive out and a week’s training on the shifty Atlantic estuary was followed by a week’s racing which threw up some surprising gain features, it was a brilliant experience and a steep learning curve.


After returning back to England my sister Bettine and I set straight off to Torquay for the RS200 National Championships. After a gruelling week of heavy winds, we managed to defend our First Junior Boat Trophy against tough competition. And we are very much looking forward to returning to the event next year.


Following my A-Level results day, I travelled to Weymouth for the 470 Nationals, two days training in roughly 20 knots, crewing for Rhys Lewis was followed by brilliant racing beneath Portland Bill, against many of the British Sailing Team. We finished 10th and were pleased with our result in such a talented fleet and exciting conditions.


Next event is the Ok Nationals in Aberscoh before I set off to Southampton University this autumn, where I plan to study Engineering and sail the Solent as much as possible.


I would like to thank everyone who has supported my sailing this year, in particular TS5C Charity, Allen Brothers and my local sailing club Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club.

Catch Up With Team Allen’s Chris & James Taylor