497 sailors entered the UK Optimist National championships which were held in superb sailing conditions at Weymouth Harbour over the 25th-30th of July. Congratulations to Robert Dickson (8th overall), Fergus Flood (15th), Richard Hogan (25th) and Aoife Hopkins (34th) in the Junior Fleet and to Sean Waddilove (34th) in the Senior Fleet.
Plenty of sunshine and winds that generally tended to build from 8 to 12-15 knots each day made for fantastic sailing. Only on the last day, Friday with 1 race left to sail did the wind fail to materialize on time. Racing was postponed before a breeze of 5-8 knots established itself.
39 Irish sailors travelled to Weymouth to sail at the 2012 Olympic sailing venue. Indeed the facilities for the event are already at an advanced stage and many Olympic sailors were to be seen already in training. Although Ben Ainslie must have spent as much time signing autographs as he did sailing as he signed something for everyone over the 3 days he was present.
The 497 sailors were spit between into 3 fleets: Senior 164, Junior 154 and Regatta 179.
In total 9 countries participated in what is fast becoming a truly international event -UK, IRL, ESP, UAE, FRA, BER, JAP, USA and SUI. Race management was impeccable and everything ashore ran very smoothly. The Senior and Junior event began with a 6 race qualifying series before each fleet was evenly split into Gold and Silver. All HYC sailors qualified for the Gold fleet and is a credit to their time and effort spent on the water over the past 12 months.
The Junior Fleet was won by Freddie Grogono (GBR) with 6 wins from Jack Parkin (GBR) 3 points adrift also with 6 wins. Daire Cournane from RCYC, who has won all the Irish regional championships this year, was 3rd.
Our own HYC sailors in the Junior fleet had some terrific results with Robert Dickson (8th) enjoying 5 top 10 results, Fergus Flood (15th) with 5 top 10 finishes and Richard Hogan (25th) with 3 top 10's. Aoife Hopkins (34th) distinguished herself with a 4th in the practice race and a 2nd in Race 9.
The UK Nationals was a fantastic event for our sailors where they got to engage with other countries on and off the water. Congratulations again.
Full results can be found at:
The Senior Fleet was won convincingly by Silvia Mas Depares (ESP) who also won 6 races from Callum Airlie (GBR). Peter McCann (6th) and Patrick Crosbie (11th) both from RCYC performed extremely well in a very competitive fleet as some of the international teams used the event to prepare for the World championships later in the year.