Some of Britain’s potential future Olympic sailors competed in the Volvo Gill Optimist Inland Championships last weekend (14th-15th May). Once again Grafham Water Sailing Club played host to over 300 Optimist sailors, 216 aged between 10-15 in the Main Fleet and 99 in the Regatta Fleet (8 years and older) who battled it out to be crowned Optimist Inland Champions.
The weather on the Saturday was challenging. Force 5 gusting 6/7 at times proved too demanding for the Regatta Fleet and racing was cancelled. It also proved too demanding for the junior end of the Main Fleet. However, conditions were perfect for some of our Otters. Thomas Johnson got a brilliant 7th in the first race. James Hutton-Penman with a similarly excellent 10th.
The second day saw a full day’s racing. The Corinthian Otters again excelled. Overall, out of 209 boats Thomas Johnson was 15th, James HP 28th and rising star Arthur Brown 80th (4th Oppie age 11 sailor).
We had one competitor in the Regatta Fleet, Ben Hutton-Penman. His sailing improved throughout the day on the Sunday. In his last race he got a 12th out of 91 boats. He was 67th overall. Well done to all of our younger sailors for going out and having a go!
Well done also to Colette Bacon (our youngest Otter entrant in the Main Fleet), Louis Brand and Kathryn Hutton-Penman who, whilst they found the conditions challenging, deserve equal mention to all others for (a) representing the Otters with such great Otter spirit and (b) because of their own individual achievements in the Regatta. That includes both Jayasekara boys who showed their 100% love of the sport by getting round the course - for Tom, that meant doing so with a broken tiller.
A particular thanks to Kathryn who helped and encouraged the younger members of the group. A very well done to you all.