The next generation of Britain’s sailors competed at the annual Volvo Gill Optimist Inland Championships last weekend (19th-20th May). Once again Grafham Water Sailing Club played host to over 300 Optimist sailors, split between the Main (10-15 years) and Regatta fleet (8+years).
The first day opened with light winds and cold conditions, testing the young Optimist Sailors as they were greeted with only 5-7 knots of breeze, a complete contrast to the strong winds ruling the 2011 event. There were a record number of black flags as the sailors were tested by the light conditions. By race two, 8 knots covered the race track and had built by the third and final race of the day to a steady 12 knots, much to the fleet’s delight. Sunday saw slightly breezier conditions less black flags and some very close racing.
There were 224 boats in this fleet. We had four sailors from the Otters in this fleet. Thomas Johnson, Arthur Brown, Colette Bacon and Matthew Jayasekara. Tom got his bullet in the first race!. He was 25th overall which against the UK's best is no mean feat. Next was Arthur Brown who returned a 55th with a 14th being his best result. Well done “Sharkey”. Colette Bacon was our only girl competitor and returned an overall result of 77th (26th girl) with an inspired 11th being her best result. Matt J (who has not been sailing Oppies over the winter) was 104th all three improving their results and overall rankings from last year.
We had a record entry of sailors from the Corinthian Otters in the Regatta Fleet. Our best placed sailor was Ben Hutton Penman who came 5th overall. That is out of 70 boats. His best result was a 2nd – Ben is still only 9yrs old.William Taylor finished 14thoverall with a 3rd place in race 5. Sophie Johnson (10) was our first girl finishing 18 and a 7th being her best result. Freddie Pitcher (9) was next coming in with a 20th, followed by his brother James (10) well done to you both. Felix Wallis (11) returned a credible 34th – a mid fleet result for his first event away from home was very good. Similarly for Luke Beuvink (10) 35th with a 12th as his best place.. Charles Bacon was our youngest sailor at still only 8. This was his first event too and he came 37th which was an excellent result – best result 11th. Dominic Moon (12) was 46 but got the second highest individual race placing with a fantastic 3rd in the last race – by then he had warmed up! Arthur Connolly our newest Otter returned a fantastic 51st – he had only bought the boat the week before and this was his second weekend out! Abigail Jayasekara (9) was 59 which again is a wonderful result and for me Abbie gets the “happy prize” for her ears hat and continual smile. Sailing is all about having fun and Abbie is our best reminder of that. Scott Ellis(11) was unable to sail the last day through illness and so to come in 66th overall was very encouraging.
Overall guys you did really well. Many thanks for the mums and dads for taking them and for helping out. It is important that the Otters are seen to be at these events and there is no doubt the work we all put in is paying off.