More than 260 Optimists descended on Rutland Water for the annual End of Season Championships over the weekend of the 13th and 14th October. This is one the three most competitive Optimist events of the season in which rankings for squads are calculated with combined results from the Inlands and National Championships. It is our last big event of the season.
Competitors were split as is usual into Main and Regatta fleets. There were 201 boats in the Main Fleet and 63 boats in the Regatta Fleet (8-13 years).
Conditions were challenging. On Saturday the wind was very shifty and light. Little sunshine left a damp and cold air hanging over Rutland Water. The main fleet was postponed for some hours and in the end spent six hours on the water before returning to the club having raced just two races. Many of you will not realise how tough the Main Fleet is. They go out early and stay out. They take their lunch on their Oppies and, unlike the Regatta Fleet, have to spend the day on the water without returning to shore. When it is cold and wet that can be tough for the younger ones.
Sunday was much brighter and warmer. The wind gently built during the day to provide a fantastic morning and afternoon of really close racing.
Having helped train our young group of sailors from a very young age, I could not be more proud than to report that we had three boats in the top ten at the end of a ten race series.
Ben Hutton-Penman (IOCA 9) was first overall. His three bullets over the weekend were enough to fend off the competition. Freddie Pitcher (IOCA 9) was third overall. With two firsts he was leading the regatta on the Saturday but was pipped to the post on Sunday. A brilliant result 3rd overall. Charles Bacon (IOCA 8) was 7th overall with two 2nds on the Sunday securing a top 10 position. A fantastic achievement for someone who, unlike his rivals, was only sailing in the regatta coaching fleet at the Nationals.
James Pitcher (IOCA 10) was 20th overall, with an overall best result of 9th – to see the huge smile of James as he looked back at the 50 boats behind him was wonderful and it makes it all worth while. Sophie Johnson (IOCA 10) secured an overall 24th with some impressive consistent results all weekend. Luke Beuvink was close behind at 27th. He pulled a 13th out of the bag on the Sunday to bring him well above the mid fleet overall. Felix Wallis (IOCA 11) was 41st and Abigail Jayasekara was 55th.
So, overall a wonderful set of results and it's great to see that nationally we are up there with the best of them!
We had a number of sailors in the Main Fleet this year. Arthur Brown was 13th overall. This will secure him a position in the National Squad with a top 24 National Ranking - he is ranked 11th in the country. Colette Bacon was 62nd overall, her best result in Main Fleet to date, with a top 10 position on the Sunday and 19th girl overall.
Matt J was given a prize for this being his last event. But it wasnt his last event! He was 100th overall highest non zone squad sailor from the club.
Arthur Connolly, Bethany Taylor and William Taylor migrated from the Regatta Fleet for the first time this year. William Taylor was 104th overall, beating members of the East Zone Squad and, with an IOCA age of 11, did remarkably well. Bethany surprised herself on the Saturday with a 50th in the first race, beating her brother, not having sailed in anything like such a large fleet of boats before. Arthur secured a very credible 71st in the first race. Margins are so tight in the fleet that despite that result he was 187th overall having to count a 97th.
Well done to you all. Any many thanks to Mums and Dads for taking the sailors to the event. Really good for us to have such a heavy presence at these events.