Rockfish & Sailing

At Rockfish we’re big supporters of our local sailing and watersports communities, first sponsoring young sailor Henry Bomby in 2009 in his solo sail Round Britain & continuing through to his challenges for the prize in the Solitaire de Figaro offshore racing.  We're also actively involved in providing kit & sails, boats & more to the juniors at the Royal Torbay Yacht Club & Brixham Junior Sailing Club. Inspired by these young people, their sailing and their stories, we continue our support of them, find out more about each of them here. 

Connor Myers - Brixham Junior Sailing Club

Connor approached us with an articulate and impassioned plan asking us to support his aim to represent Team GB at Tokyo 2020.  A young man with absolute determination & drive he has shown great resolve & ingenuity working with very limited resources and we wanted to be part of helping him make a success of his bid. In 2017 Rockfish have bought Connor a boat to start on that bid & support him along his way. In addition The John Merricks Sailing Trust have given Connor a grant towards some one to one training. So this could be a very exciting year for Connor. Read our interview with him below.  

Find out the latest news on what Connor is up to here >

Lauren Paton & Julia Barnes RS Feva Ladies World Champions

We started supporting Royal Torbay Yacht club juniors Lauren Paton (crew) & Julia Barnes (helm) in 2015, the year they scooped top prize at the Ladies World Championships in Santander for the Feva dinghy class. We are continuing working with them and have just bought a new Spinnaker sail for them. See our interviews with them below

Ethan Gerrell & Tom Barnes - Royal Torbay Yacht Club 

Ethan Gerrell & Tom Barnes were selected to represent Great Britain in the Endeavour Regatta at the Americas cup in Bermuda in June 2017 and won the live televised race which was run between races 3 and 4 of the main America's Cup. An amazing achievement! We are helping with kit and spreading the word about their ambitions and achievements. We've just bought a new Spinnaker sail for them too. See more about them below. See Ethan's Youtube channel for training videos >

Henry Bomby

In 2009 when local Kingswear sailor Henry Bomby was 18 we gave him a small sponsorship to help sail his Contessa 26 solo around Britain. Since then Henry has grown through the ranks of offshore sailing after being selected by the Artemis sailing academy and we continued to support him then by partnering with RTYC Joe Wood's sailing team "Red"in 3 Solitaire de Figaro circuits. The Figaro is considered one of the toughest offshore racing circuits involving multiple stop overs across the channel and out into the Bay of Biscay, it attracts some of the finest sailors in the world. In the last series Henry came in as the highest placed Brit since 1978 in one of the legs. We are proud of our association with Henry and all that he has achieved, his ambition on the water matches ours in our restaurants.  Henry is a great ambassador for sailing and the local community and is working with Connor (above) to help guide and advise him where he can. See Mitch and Henry talk about Henry's experiences here. 

 

Interview with Connor Myers

When and where did you start sailing?  
I started at Brixham Junior Sailing Club at the beginning of 2013.

Why did you start sailing?  
My friend Tom got a place in the Sailing club and got asked to bring someone else and I joined him.

Which club do you belong to?  
Brixham Junior Sailing Club

How long have you been at the current club?  
4 Years

Do you have a history of sailing in your family?
Yes my Dad and his Dad have always had boats and done a lot of sailing.

What do you actually do? 
A dinghy differs to a yacht as they are closer to the water where you are sat and there is no downstairs area or space to sleep while on a yacht you are raised above the water and generally have a space to sleep. In a dinghy you almost always have to wear a wet suit  as the boat is a lot easier to capsize (turn upside down) than a yacht is as yachts have weights on the bottom (Keel) to stop them from capsizing. A yacht's mast (Vertical part that the sail goes on) is always up unless it is on a trailer whilst in a dinghy the mast comes up and down easily especially in a Laser as after every use it has to be de-rigged (put down). Most sailing dinghies are made for racing especially a Laser as they were invented solely for competition whilst yachts are generally made for leisure but lots are made for racing as well. Dinghies sails are a lot smaller than a yachts but tend to go faster than yachts as they are lighter. Sailing dinghies are more maneuverable than yachts as yachts are heavier and therefore harder to turn. Dinghies are made for less people such as the Laser is a 1 man boat whilst most yachts are made for multiple people and require good teamwork. Most dinghies are a lot more physical than most yachts as you have to hike out (lean out of the boat) to keep it up right in strong winds and you have to move quickly to compensate for both wind and waves that would slow you down or give you a speed advantage.

How many times a week do you train on the water?  And off the water?
In Brixham I train twice a week with the club and sometimes by myself but I will be training more soon when I get my new boat and I am soon joining The Royal Torquay Yacht Club but I am awaiting my new boat to join them. Once I get my new boat I will be sailing most days during both the week and weekends. Off the water I go to the gym, go for runs and go to tae-kwon-do where I am a Black Belt.

What are your ambitions, what are you trying to achieve, in 1 year, 5 years?  
In the next 1 year I hope to place well in the European championships and in many other races but this year is more of a training year for me to get used to the big league. I also want to get some professional coaching to move to the next level.In the next 5 years  I also hope to get in the National squad and then the British Sailing team. I hope to have been in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and to have won the world championship multiple times. 

Who is your role model/s? in the sailing world, other?
My main role model is Ben Ainslie as he has done extremely well in his sailing career, Nick Thompson as he is the current world champion for laser sailing and he is also in the British Sailing Team.

What’s your favorite fish?
Salmon and Cod.

Any mishaps or funny stories from sailing/ on the boat?
In my 2nd year of sailing I was sailing an RS Feva and my friend unexpectedly capsized and I got trapped under the sail and couldn't find my way out for around 30 seconds. Also in my 3rd year of sailing I was sailing an RS Feva with the same friend and he undid one of the front bungs and didn't put it back on properly and when we capsized the bung fell off and the boat was flooded with water and when we finally got it back up the boat was fully submerged apart from the sail and we had to get towed back in and when we got back in and undid the bung it was like a water fountain. In 2016 summer I went on a sailing trip on an old traditional sailing trawler and on the first night we set sail and there was 4 meter waves and everyone was scared and wanted to go back in but I wanted to stay out but we ended up going back in. During a recent professional coaching in some video feedback there was a clip of me flicking my hair back and a comment was made that I should be sponsored by a certain hair product because "I'm worth it".

Competition stats, info, what have you entered, won, achieved?  
I have won joint Best overall sailor of 2014 with my friend in Brixham Junior sailing club, Best overall sailor 2016 in Brixham Junior sailing club. Joint 1st place in Peter Bartlett regatta in 2016, 2nd place in Brixham Regatta in 2016 and 71st place out of all Laser Radials in Bart's Bash 2016 against adults and professional sailors.

Currently studying in what year at which school?
Year 10 at Churston Ferrers Grammar School

What will you do next in school (eg A’levels? Where?)
I hope to do my A Levels at Churston Ferrers Grammar School and then I hope to pursue my career in sailing.

Your sailing club website
http://www.brixhamjsc.co.uk/

Who is your coach?
Tim Corbett and Tim Hulse

What competitions and training are coming up over the next 4 months?
Ladder 5 event at Dracote next weekend, National training at WPNSA (Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy) January and March, European Championships in April, I would also like to get some professional coaching if possible.

If someone wanted to see you training could they? Where/how?
Yes they could from April on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Brixham during the evening with the sailing club, some weekends either at Torquay, Exmouth, Brixham or Dartmouth or contact Rockfish and I can train in a certain place if needed.

What are your social media handles?
I have an instagram @sailing_connor which I use to promote my sailing, I am starting a Twitter and a Facebook soon but do not yet have that and will soon hopefully have my own website and blog.

Why did you approach Mitch?
Because I really enjoy his restaurant Rockfish and I heard he enjoyed sailing so I was hoping he could help me on my journey to the Olympics and more.  I knew Mitch and Rockfish do a lot for the local community and Rockfish was first on my list when we started to write letters looking for a sponsor.

What does the sponsorship with us mean to you? ie what real difference will it make? (you can work less and put more effort into training, you can show off your boat…etc!)  
My family, whilst they can support me by giving me their time, encouragement, believing in me, and taking me to events etc, they could not help me achieve my dream financially.  Having sponsorship will mean with my new boat I can get more professional training, enter more competitions and take my sailing to the next level.  This I could not do on my own and with my old boat.  Having Rockfish and Mitch believe in me and giving me this opportunity means the world to me.  Having their support, help and other contacts I may need along the way. I can now make my dream a reality.

What’s your motto?
Work hard and let your success speak for itself, nothing comes easy in this world and everything feels better when you earn it the hard way.

Anything else?  
I am extremely grateful for Rockfish giving me this opportunity and words aren't enough to express how I feel and for my family for the sacrifices they are making for me to take me around both the country and the world for both competitions and training.  I am really excited about the future, I will work hard, I am fully committed to my sailing, it is something I love.  I am looking forward to being part of The Rockfish Red Sailing Team and the Rockfish Family.

In addition to Rockfish's support Connor received a grant from The John Merricks Sailing Trust in 2017 towards training. 

 

 

Lauren Paton Interview

When and where did you start sailing?  
Starcross at age 11 years old.

Why did you start sailing?  
Enjoyed it and had family friends who sailed

Which club do you belong to?
Royal Torbay Yacht Club

How long have you been at the current club?  
3 years

Do you have a history of sailing in your family?
Yes. Grandad is a Master Mariner, Great Uncle has a yacht, mother dinghy sailed.

What do you actually do?
I crew an RS Feva which is junior 2 man asymmetric dinghy. I am in charge on the jib (small sail at front, pointy end of the boat), the spinnaker (big balloon sailed use on some legs of the race, makes the boat planed (go really fast, float on the water), advise the helm on the race course, hike out to balance the boat (hang on of the boat on the toe straps).  

How many times a week do you train on the water?  And off the water?
During winter most weekends, during summer 3 times a week.

What are your ambitions, what are you trying to achieve, in 1 year, 5 years?  
1 year: retain world championship title.
5 years: become a yacht sailor and compete in yacht racing, develop skills as a dinghy coach.

Who is your role model/s? in the sailing world, other?
Saskia Clark - Olympic Gold Medallist 470, Sailor of the Year 2016

What’s your favorite fish?
Calamari

Any mishaps or funny stories from sailing/ on the boat?
Relay racing in boats - I sailed up to Julia in the RIB, I was supposed to jump out and Julia jump in. I jumped out but she didn't jump in and the boot sailed off by itself, she had to swim after it!

Competition stats, info, what have you entered, won, achieved?  
RS Feva Ladies World Champion 2016

Currently studying in what year at which school?
Year 11, Torquay Girls Grammar School

What will you do next in school (eg A’levels? Where?)
A Levels - Maths,Geography,Economics, Physics. The Maynard School, Exeter

Your sailing club website
Royal Torbay Yacht Club – (RTYC) Sailing in Torquay

Who is your coach? 
Pete Perera

What competitions and training are coming up over the next 4 months?
RS Feva Nationals, May, Torbay. RS Feva Class National Squad training at Weymouth (Feb), Draycote (March), Club racing every Saturday from April.

If someone wanted to see you training could they? Where/how?
Come down to RTYC on a Saturday afternoon from April.

What’s your motto?
Train like you race and race like you train.

 

Julia Barnes Interview

When and where did you start sailing?
I started sailing by sailing my family's yacht which was fun but most of the time I would just go into one of the bedrooms and sleep, not actually sail. I first sailed a dinghy when we went on a holiday to Greece. As we were staying in a big resort, we got booked into the dreaded kids club, which I eventually ended up really enjoying. One part of the club was sailing and even though I was just sat in the boat clinging on to the mast it was my first experience of dinghy sailing.

Why did you start sailing?
I am pretty sure I started because my twin brother Tom was doing it. Tom and I are naturally quite competitive and I would never let him experience something I hadn't as well!

Which club do you belong to?
I belong to RTYC, Royal Torbay Yacht Club.

How long have you been at the current club?
I've been at this club as long as I have been sailing.

Do you have a history of sailing in your family?
Kind of, but it’s not as if my family really went anywhere with sailing. My mum’s side of the family often had summer trips up to the Lake District, where they would mess around with boats. My grandpa was probably the biggest sailor, he did a few competitions in Enterprises. 

What do you actually do? (tell me as if I’m from out of space and have no idea of the difference between a dinghy and a yacht)
I sail a reasonably small plastic dinghy for two people called a RS Feva. It comes out of the water every time we sail, me and Lauren pull it up the slipway. The mast goes up and down in about 20 minutes so that we can tow it around the country. It has 3 sails, the main, the large triangle furthest back in the boat, the jib, the slightly smaller triangle at the front, and the spinnaker, the huge multi coloured sail that pops out the front on a pole.

How many times a week do you train on the water?  
In the summer, I sail every Saturday, Wednesday and some Fridays and Sundays. In the winter I try where we can to sail at the weekend.

And off the water?
I try to train most days doing fitness, and I do extra fitness in a lunchtime in school.

What are your ambitions, what are you trying to achieve, in 1 year, 5 years
This summer I would like to be top 15 at the Nationals and Worlds, and top three girls if not ‘first girls’ as well. In 5 years I hope to have started sailing a 49er FX, an Olympic class boat.

Who is your role model/s? in the sailing world, other?
For sailing probably someone like Ben Ainsley, but my biggest role model for as long as i can remember is Jessica Ennis-Hill. I think she tries really hard to get what she wants out of life, I really respect that and it is something I am trying to do.

What’s your favourite fish? 
Calamari. 

Any mishaps or funny stories from sailing/ on the boat?
I am normally a relatively clumsy person, so if you put me in a boat I am likely to go swimming! One of the funniest was definitely when I first sailed with Lauren. Neither of us were great at the time and we didn't really know what we were doing. It got a bit blowy, so we both started hiking, Lauren had missed the toe straps and got caught in the spinnaker halliard. She was hanging in the water by her ankle for a good 2 minutes before we managed to get her back in the boat. I don't think we had ever laughed so much in our lives. We have been sailing together ever since.

Competition stats, info, what have you entered, won, achieved?
We are currently holding first ladies boat in the world at the moment. We had a good squad qualifiers and are now in the Class National Squad.

Currently studying in what year at which school?
I am in year 9 at school, the third year of secondary.

What will you do next in school (eg A’levels? Where?)
I am currently choosing my GCSEs ready to take them in two year’s time.

Your sailing club website?
royaltorbayyc.org.uk

Who is your coach?
Pete Perera

What competitions and training are coming up over the next 4 months?
Nationals, Worlds, Inlands, potentially Europeans.

If someone wanted to see you training could they? Where/how? 
You could potentially see us training at RTYC most weekends, 

How did you meet Mitch?
My mum and uncle were friends with him. He showed us how to make courgette crisps at the Seahorse.

What does the sponsorship with us mean to you? ie what real difference will it make? (you can work less and put more effort into training, you can show off your boat…etc!)
It definitely means that we don't have to worry as much about financial things, and it means that we have something to be proud of.

What’s your motto?
Hahaha, I'm not really sure maybe something like, Live life- it’s the only one you've got...

 

Tom Barnes Interview

When and where did you start sailing?
I started sailing competitively 3 years ago. But before then went up through the ranks of the RYA courses achieving levels 1-4. 

Why did you start sailing?
I started dinghy sailing as we owned a yacht and I wanted to try dinghy sailing as well for fun. I never expected it to become this big.

Which club do you belong to?
I sail out of the Royal Torbay Yacht Club. But I also sail out of Queen Mary when I train with Ethan in London.

How long have you been at the current club?
I have sailed at The Royal Torbay since I stated sailing so for about 41/2 years.

Do you have a history of sailing in your family?
My granddad on my mum’s side did a lot of sailing so he taught my mum in the lake district. This led to her love of sailing. And my dad sailed in the Menai Straights when he was a boy.

What do you actually do? (tell me as if I’m from out of space and have no idea of the difference between a dinghy and a yacht)
I sail an RS Feva. Which is a small two man Junior Dinghy. A dinghy is a small boat that has a dagger board not a keel. This gives it the ability to capsize. We compete in national events and train all around the country. We also compete in an international event a year.

How many times a week do you train on the water?  And off the water?
Due to the problems of location me and Ethan aim to sail together once or twice a month. We train with the RS Feva Class Squad with a training every other month or so. I am trying to do other sports like Hockey or rowing in my cellar to up my fitness.

What are your ambitions, what are you trying to achieve, in 1 year, 5 years?
In one year we aim to be training in the National Junior Squad (NJS) and in five years be sailing a 29er.

Who is your role model/s? in the sailing world, other?
I think my role models in sailing would be Ben Ainslie as he won the Olympic games, and that is what I strive to do in the future if all goes to plan.

What’s your favourite fish?
My favourite fish is probably cod but I also like crab, mussels and prawns.

Any mishaps or funny stories from sailing/ on the boat?
I have been pushed out of the boat a few times. I also sailed in my first nationals with a broken hand. In that same event we snapped the mast.

Competition stats, info, what have you entered, won, achieved?
We qualified for RS Feva Class Squad. But due to our fairly new partnership we haven’t competed in many events. We did however win Torbays Autumn Regatta.  And came fourth in Torbay Week regatta.

Currently studying in what year at which school?
I’m in year 9.

What will you do next in school (eg A’levels? Where?)
I’m about to chose my GCSEs at Torquay Boys Grammar School. However sailing is no longer a valid choice for part of your PE GCSE.

Your sailing club website
http://www.royaltorbayyc.org.uk/      www.queenmary.org.uk               

Who is your coach?
My squad coach is Pete Perera but we also sometimes have private training with Charlie and Jess.

What competitions and training are coming up over the next 4 months
We have training in Draycote and Spring Championships in Hayling Island 

If someone wanted to see you training could they? Where/how?
If the weather is exciting you watch mine and Ethan’s youtube channel àhttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZgBm25mpA9C5s2rblfT6IQ  or if we were sailing locally you could watch from shore or maybe come on a rib.

What are your social media handles?
Instagram @tomb1123 however there isn’t much sailing content on there. And youtube  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZgBm25mpA9C5s2rblfT6IQ  

How did you meet Mitch?
We met Mitch because my parents and uncle were good friends with them. I first met Mitch at the Henry Bomby Event at Rockfish. Henry encouraged us to ask Mitch for sponsorship.

What does the sponsorship with us mean to you? ie what real difference will it make?
Your sponsorship means so means so much to us. It means we can spend more money on kit and the boat than we would ever have been able to. This boosts our performance hugely.

What’s your motto?
Race like you train. Train like you race.
It just means that if you give 100% when you train you will be able to perform 100% when you race.

 

Ethan Gerrell

When and where did you start sailing?
I started Sailing when I was 9 at a local very tiny reservoir in Hackney, Central London (Its called West Reservoir)

Why did you start sailing?
A friend from primary school was doing a week’s multi water sports course and thought I might be interested. I sailed a Bahia for the first time and loved it. I then started going every week and then twice a week until I got all my levels. I then discovered racing and started sailing in an RS Feva with a friend.

Which club do you belong to?
I now belong to a bigger club in London called Queen Mary. website - http://www.queenmary.org.uk/home.aspx

Do you have a history of sailing in your family?
There is no History of Sailing in my Family, although my dad is from a seaside town. My dad has since I started, learnt how to sail and has done powerboat courses he prefers to single-hand in a Laser..

How many times a week do you train on the water?  And off the water?
I would like to sail every week, but It tends to now be about twice a month.In the Summer I try and Sail as much as possible.

What do you actually do?
I am The helm, I steer the boat and operate the mainsail. We work as a team to decide what course to take in a race and where to start on the line. Tom operates the Jib and the Spinnaker. We constantly talk to each other on the boat about what is happening with the wind and where we need to be. An RS Feva is a really exciting boat to sail.

Who is your role model/s? in the sailing world, other?
I am not sure who my role model is, but I think Paul Childs would be up there. He was my coach in Zone squad in SE England and was in the Olympic development squad. He works really hard and is a brilliant coach as well as an excellent sailor.

Competition stats, info, what have you entered, won, achieved?
In the last year we have sailed in lots of Regattas and GPs and won a few of them - including the Autumn Torbay youth regatta and Queen Mary Autumn regatta. We also came second in Silver Fleet at last year’s National Championships in Weymouth. The year before, me and my crew at the time won the London Youth games and the London Traveller circuit.

I missed out on the World Championships last summer, because I broke my arm a few days before it started. We still went as a family and I filmed a couple of days of it from a RIB.

Ambitions are
To sail really well this season and Qualify for the National squad in the Autumn. Me and Tom would like to transition into a 29er (The next big boat in the youth sailing pathway) as soon as possible , hopefully starting next season .We would like to spend the next season  practicing in a 29er whilst still competing in a Feva. We would then like to start competing in a 29er after that.

Any mishaps or funny stories from sailing/ on the boat?
Last summer I sailed in the Salcombe regatta only 3 weeks after I broke my arm. I was still in plaster so we had to find a way of stopping my cast getting wet- the best solution was Cling film and Ducktape! Another funny moment was at the Nationals two years ago when I jibed in front of the 'Rutland Belle' at Rutland Water during a race and nearly crashed into it.

Currently studying in what year at which school?
I am currently in year 9 in secondary school and my next big exams will be my GCSEs in two years.

Social media
I often use  a gopro on the boat and edit the films I made for my You tube channel- You can see Me and Tom sailing if you look on my site:-   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZgBm25mpA9C5s2rblfT6IQ

The Autumn Torbay Regatta is the last one I published there.
We have a really busy few months ahead. Tom and me qualified for RS Feva Class squad in October and we have monthly training until May in different venues all over the country. Our first competition of the season is at Hayling in March at the Spring Championships. There are also various GPs ( Grand Prix races) around the country which are two day weekend competitions- good practices for big events. We have the Nationals in Torbay in May and the World Championships in Holland in July, we hope to be in the top 20 at the Nationals and Gold fleet for the worlds. More excitingly we have been selected to sail in the Endeavour Regatta at the Americas cup in Bermuda in June, Its an awesome opportunity for us to sail for Great Britain and we feel really lucky- only 3 british boats are going out there and we want to sail our best. We have lots of work to do!

Who is your coach?
Our Coach this season is Pete Periera- he is really inspirational.

What’s your favourite fish?
My favourite fish is Cod ( And Clown Fish!)

How did you meet Mitch?
I haven't met Mitch in person yet, but hope so soon. Tom my crew has met him several times as he lives in Torquay.

What does the sponsorship with us mean to you?
Sponsorship would mean the world to me. If we can get new equipment / sails etc on the boat, it can only help improve our sailing- New sails would help us sail faster. Sponsorship also means that people are taking us seriously and have faith in us to do well this season, they would see us as having potential - and that is a real confidence boost. It would give us something to work for, to show everyone and our sponsors what we are capable of and give us a chance to really progress and hopefully win competitions!

What’s your motto?
I don't really have a Motto.

Sailing has given me the Opportunity to meet lots of people all around the world and make new friends - I wouldn't have met Tom Barnes, my crew, if I didn't sail. I get a chance to travel abroad a lot and have sailed at Lake Garda, Carnac and Travemunde in Germany. I have met Olympic Sailors amazingly interesting people and had the opportunity to sail in all weathers on the sea and on huge lakes and in beautiful places.  I am also lucky that I have the kind of Parents who have the time and dedication to take me to all the events and training I need to go to. I hope this continues for a long time.

 

Rockfish & Sailing