It was March 2020 at the Palma Mallorca Regatta when Olympic Sailing came to a standstill, along with the rest of the World due to the Pandemic. We had never experienced a boat park pack up quite like it. By the time we got in from our training session the majority of nations had left the island. It was the start of the unknown.
Lockdown was no different for elite sportspeople. Once back in the UK our boats and teammates were landlocked for the foreseeable future. The looming fear amongst all of us was, will the Olympics be cancelled?
At the time, worrying about the status of the Olympics almost felt selfish and very much a first World problem. But as an elite athlete you know you have the responsibility to maintain a level of skill, fitness and focus in order to be ready to press play on normal preparations and training to represent Team GB at the Olympics whenever that may be…
This season has been like no other. Under more normal circumstances the coldest winter months are spent grabbing short sails in Chichester Harbour, trying to eek out some productive time on the water before hands and toes lose cooperation. Instead, 2021 started from the comfort of my home office, still fixated on boats, but the America’s Cup foiling AC75 kind. In the tedium of a winter lockdown Rob Gullan, Tom Partington and myself set about sharing our opinions and theories on the differences in systems and sailing styles of the AC teams. It turned out other people were interested too! It was a great experience, but also afforded me the opportunity to become associated with Allen, not just for the YouTube cup content, but in support of my own sailing too.
Come April it had been about five months since we had sailed; all talk no action! Probably no-one cares, but after months of dissecting other sailors’ performances, I felt some obligation to put in some decent performances of my own. I must admit to some doubt setting in and I was eager to get the 2021 season off to a good start with some solid results.
We have been supporting the lads for quite a few years now. Developing their ideas and feedback on our products to ensure they have the best possible hardware fitout, so they can spend 100% of their time and energy doing what matters – winning!
To have supported them through to the pinnacle of dinghy sailing is amazing and the team at Allen couldn’t be happier for Dyl & Stu today!
Congrats again lads, you deserve it!
2020-2021 Allen 29er Grand Prix Series – Leo Wilkinson Write Up
The Allen Grand Prix Series 2020-21 kicked off at Weymouth in September- the first 29er event since January due to Covid-19. With the biggest turnout of the series, the 74 boats were split into two fleets for some windy and choppy conditions. Elodie Edwards and Ewan Wilson, and Tom Storey and Ben Willet dominated the first day and took first and second places, with Ben Mueller and Freddie Lonsdale in a close third.
GP2 was at WPNSA again with similar conditions. Day one ended with very tight results, the top 10 only split by 11 points. With shiftier conditions on the second day, consistency was key. Leo Wilkinson and Sam Jones took the win on countback from Elodie Edwards and Ewan Wilson. Emily Mueller and Louis Johnson rounded out the podium.
On the weekend of 5/6 June, we travelled to Grafham Water to compete in the Typhoon Trophy, our first competition since December last year. A very light forecast made for concerns that there would not be much racing and we were greeted on arrival with a 3 hour postponement. However, after a few games of rugby in the dinghy park, the wind started to fill in just as predicted by the race officer, and we launched for 3 races in a shift 4-8 knots of breeze. We were really happy to win the first two races, and a 6th place in the last race left us overnight leaders.
Sunday was forecast to be even lighter and, whilst we really wanted to go sailing, we have to confess to a bit of mixed feelings! A glassy lake and no wind meant the AP over A was displayed mid morning. We were sad not to sail, but thrilled with our first Regatta win together. We hope there will be more!
We were really pleased with our recently upgraded Cunningham system, using new lightweight 20mm Allen blocks, and we look forward to testing this across the range of wind strengths.
Allen employee’s bring home the silverware
Ben Harden, Head of Marketing, and Nic Tolhurst, Warehouse Distribution Assistant at Allen, recently took part in the Blaze National Championships in the waters of Torquay.
The event was held at Paignton Sailing Club and had a record-breaking turnout of 70 boats for the 3-day event.
After the first two days of racing in a mix of light and medium wind conditions, Ben managed a score line of four firsts, a second and a fifth. Which meant with only two more scheduled races it wasn’t possible for him to be beaten and as such took the Nationals win after the second day of racing.
Nic Tolhurst finished 9th overall as well as first Master with an impressive string of top 10 results. Unfortunately, a UFD hindered his overall score and with the last day of racing being cancelled due to lack of wind he wasn’t able to make up for it.
Liz Adams, MD at Allen commenting on the results said ‘congratulations go the race officer and team at Paignton Sailing Club for putting on an excellent event, to Hartley Boats for the Blaze and it’s success in attracting so many keen sailors to the class, and to Ben and Nic for their great results’.
It started at the RYA Dinghy Show for which I had to prepare my new International Moth – an Aardvark Rocket – to be displayed on the Zest Boatworks stand, completely bare, to highlight the fantastic paint job they did. Once the show had finished it was a quick pack down to get the boat back to the shed and fully fitted out with its new Allen hardware. Some of the hardware includes the anodised XHL blocks and through deck bushes, which I feel really make the paintwork pop, and adds another layer of personalisation that i really relish. I take a lot of pride in how my boats look, a good looking boat is a fast boat!
Once she was ready and rigged in the workshop, well, we all know what happened, so she was parked in my front garden for a while teasing me to go sailing.
Being released onto the water after such a wait made it all worth it. I managed 2 weeks of training prior to the UK Moth Nationals, which as a class we were very fortunate to be able to run. What a week!! Finished on a little high by leading to the top mark in the last race. An awesome 3 weeks of intense racing and training with some top guys and girls.
I’ve been actively looking for a new team-mate in the 49er after going sperate ways from Nick, with whom I had a successful 4-year sailing partnership. Fortunately, while talking to fellow Team Allen sailor, Dan Budden, it came to light that Jack Lewis was looking to start 49er sailing. Jack and I have sailed together in the past, right at the beginning of my journey with Allen – Back when the maybe unknown custom ‘Alien’ stickers donned our RSFeva in 2013 for a couple of events.
Fast forward a month, a couple of sails and a new old team was formed. We’ve been extremely fortunate to be able to sail over winter getting in as many hours as possible, We look forward to the summer events once we are all allowed to travel a bit more. – Billy Vennis-Ozanne
Allen renewed as official hardware supplier to the Swedish Sailing Team.
The Swedish Sailing Team has confirmed Allen as their official hardware supplier for another year.
The partnership between Allen and the Swedish Sailing Team was officially announced at the 2020 RYA Dinghy Show, and this extension of the supplier status will further enhance the relationship between the elite athletes and the performance hardware manufacturing company.
Allen manufacture many of the specialised parts for the one-design classes that will be used in the sailing events at Tokyo. The Swedish Sailing Team boasts an impressive 35 sailing medals with 4 teams selected to represent their country in the Finn, 470 men, ILCA Standard and ILCA Radial classes in Tokyo. So, it comes as no surprise that the Swedish team chose Allen as its hardware of choice before the games.
Managing Director of Allen, Liz Adams, commented proudly “We are delighted that the Swedish Sailing Team has extended its partnership with us as their official hardware supplier. By working closely with the elite athletes in the team we are able to further develop our products and ensure that their sailors get the best possible performance hardware to help them win a gold medal!”
Thomas Hansson-Mild of the Swedish Sailing Team stated “It is great to work with Allen and benefit from the 60 years of competitive sailing heritage that they bring to the table. We too have a proud heritage. We won our most recent Olympic medals in London 2012 when Fredrik Lööf and Max Salminen won the gold in the Star and Rasmus Myrgren a bronze in the Laser. We aim for more medals in Tokyo and the cooperation with Allen will greatly improve our chances.”
In late 2019 I moved from helming 420s to crewing and teamed up with Kuba Staite as my helm. After only a couple of weekends training together we went to our first 420 event, the Christmas Race in Palamos. The event was 4 days long with 3 days of training beforehand. Palamos is an awesome venue and it was a great experience having 4 solid days training and then being able to test ourselves against other crews from other countries. Having 8 solid days sailing and racing was a great start to our sailing partnership
After Christmas, we were straight back into training and preparing for the Spring championships in March. After lots of training and getting used to each other in the boat we arrived at Rutland with high hopes. We had two good days in light to medium conditions and managed to finish in 8th out of 30 boats. Unfortunately, this was the last time we were able to sail together until the summer as we were put into lockdown the week after.
A short report from Allen academy sailor Nick Evans about his weekend at the Allen sponsored 29er GP 2.
Sam and I did our first national event last weekend (10 and 11 October). This was the second GP of the season. It was held at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy and sponsored by Allen.
The event itself was held over two contrasting days. The first day was one of strong winds, gusting over 25 knots at times. This was challenging as we are on the light side. Gybing in those conditions was a real test of our boat handling skills and unfortunately a couple of times we fell over. The capsizes were costly and meant we missed out on Gold Fleet by a point. It didn’t matter too much as we had an awesome time.