South East Area Coaching

Open Coaching Days Explained

To support sailors who wish to progress their sailing ability we hold Open Coaching events throughout the year.  We also ensure that we inlcude both tidal and lakes so that sailors can increase their experience of different sailing conditions.  In order to take part in these training events all you need to be able to do is safely sail a triangular course and you will be put in a group with other sailors of similar sailing skill.

Open coaching can be booked via the enter events tab on the ITCA website.

Open Coaching Dates

 Date  Venue Booking Info

Coaching Day Information

 10 February 2018 Bough Beech Sailing Club Booking to open shortly

Colin Bristow

Melissa Meredith

Emma Crane

17 February 2018

Island Barn Reservoir Sailing Club 

SE Topper Winter Regatta Barnstormer

Enter on the day at IBRSC

Andy Kerr and Emma Crane will be providing coaching support during the Barnstormer regatta

 7 April 2018 Crawley Mariners Yacht Club Booking to open shortly

Lead coach: Andy Kerr

Assistant coach: Melissa Meredith

21 April 2018 Island Barn Reservoir Sailing Club Booking to open shortly

Lead coach: Andy Kerr

Assistant coach: Melissa Meredith

1 September 2018 Medway Yacht Club Booking to open shortly

 Lead coach: Andy Kerr

Assistant coach: Melissa Meredith

Booking Information

16 places are initially made available and can be booked online using the link at the top of this page.  An additional eight places may be made available if there is sufficient demand and coaches/RIBs are available at least two weeks prior to the event.  Generally places will not exceed 24 in total.

Booking will close 1 week before the event or earlier if fully booked

Cancellations: A full refund will be given if SE Toppers cancel and event.  If sailor cancels two weeks prior to an event we will be able to transfer booking to another event.  After that a refund will only be possible if the event is oversubscribed and a waiting list is in operation and your place can be filled.

The cost of Open Coaching is generally £25 per day.

The Coaches

Lead coach - Andy Kerr:

Andy grew up racing Toppers, when the mainsheet was aft rigged, before progressing onto Lasers. Andy started instructing sailing in 2001 and worked full time at centres for eight years before becoming a freelance coach. Over the last eight years, Andy has visited most of the clubs in the South East and he thoroughly enjoys coaching, as well as learning so much from the sailors.

Assistant coach - Melissa Meredith:

Melissa started sailing Toppers at Papercourt SC before moving onto Lasers. Melissa did some Open and Zone Coaching for SE Toppers during 2016. She achieved her Race Coach Level 2 and went to Minorca to coach sailing at all levels. Melissa then took a gap year to focus on Laser sailing, including coaching the Laser Squad at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, as well as doing some of her own Laser training with them. Upon returning from Australia, Melissa went to Malta with SailCoach for three months to train in the Laser full time. Melissa has spent part of summer 2017 competing in the Laser at the Nationals, European and World Qualifiers. 

Open Coaching Information

Open Coaching is run locally by the SE ITCA team at clubs across the South East Area and supported by a grant from the RYA.  The Topper is an RYA 'pathway' class, which means it is recognised as developing the technical, physical and racing skills necessary to succeed at Youth and Olympic level.  Our training days are open to all Topper sailors, from improvers to advanced racers so long as sailors are competent to sail a triangular course.  Non ITCA members can attend one open coaching event.  If you enjoy the training we'd like you to join ITCA for additional coaching and racing.

We aim to have a ratio no higher than 1 coach to 8 sailors, often less, but please book early so that we can confirm the correct number of coaches as early as possible. 

Typical training day timetable

  • Arrival from 8.30am (check event details)
  • Registration is available from 9.00am
  • Coaching begins in club house at 9.30am (with boats rigged and sailors in fitness clothing including trainers).  On the water about 10.30-11.00am (weather permitting).
  • Lunch at 1.00pm
  • On water 2.00pm
  • Debrief 4.00pm
  • Finish 4.30pm but this may vary dependant on the weather conditions and amount of daylight.

Essential Equipment and Advice for the Coaching Day

  • All sailors and on-water helpers are expected to be properly equipped for the day so please check the conditions ahead of time.  It is essential that all sailors are dressed appropriately for the winter sailing conditions.  Some of the sessions take place at the coldest points of the winter, so to take advantage of the coaching you need to be warm enough.  Ideally sailors should be wearing drysuits and layers of thermals, plus proper winter gloves and woolly hats.  If you wear a wetsuit it needs to be a 5.3mm steamer or layering system with termals and an acqua fleece.
  • Attached is a link to an interesting article by Dave Cockerill, ex Topper National Coach, about keeping warm on the water which covers more than just clothing.
  • The day begins with a warm up exercise so remember to bring your fitness clothing and trainers.
  • Sailors should bring a pen and notebook to briefings and debriefings because it is impossible to remember even half of the information you will receive, so if its written down you can refer back to it.  Please also have a drink in all briefings and out on the water with you to make sure you stay hydrated.


  • For all sailors under 18 there must be an adult responsible for the sailor during the event, ie. someone who will be at or in the immediate vicinity of the club.
  • Parents will be asked in advance to volunteer as crews for the coach boats and for on shore duties so make sure you also are appropriately dressed and please ask if you need to borrow a buoyancy aid.  All parents need to help launch their sailors so waterproof/non slip footwear is essential.

James Wiliamson, SE Topper Open Coaching Co-ordinator


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