This is an annual event that represents the conclusion of the RYA Zone Squad winter training programme. Each Zone from around the country sends its strongest sailors to compete for the overall championship held at Rutland Water.
Otters represented 50% of this year's selected Optimist Eric Twiname squad having been selected for their results from each weekend's winter sailing which in itself was a great achievement and sets us up well for a good future for optimist sailing.
Charles Bacon (10), Ben Hutton-Penman (11), Ella Phelps (12) and William Taylor (13) arrived at Rutland Water only to sit on the shore on Saturday as constant winds well into the late 20 knots with regular gusts hitting over 30 knots prevented any sailing.
The wind first thing Sunday morning looked a little more modest but not much and the forecast was set for it to rise, which it duly did just as the Optimists launched and Rutland Water became a sea of white horses once again. Ella, along with others, decided discretion was the better part of valour and stayed ashore; however spurred on, she launched for Race 3 and, in the worst conditions of the day, proved to herself she can do it by finishing an excellent 17th.
Charles, our youngest squad member, did not falter and charged out, almost completing Race 1 before deciding the conditions were just too windy - no disgrace there, Charles, because conditions were terrible...
Ben and William fought it out, finished all three races and after 1 discard were positioned 6th and 4th overall respectively out of 70, which were tremendous results. In fact had there been no discards both would have moved up positions demonstrating their consistency in conditions on the limit for optimists.
The team event went to the South East but the East squad were third and only two points behind.
Well done team East and our Otter members!
Good luck to all at the Optimist Inlands this weekend at Grafham Water!