A hundred Optimist sailors took part in last weekend's Harken Lymington Youth Regatta
Light winds and spring tides made the 2004 Harken Lymington Youth Regatta a challenge for competitors and the race team last weekend. A high quality fleet of 100 sailors took part, including most of the recently-selected GBR teams for the world and European championships. Five races were sailed over two days.
Patrick Metcalfe (Port Dinorwic) took race one following positive start at the port end of the line. He managed to stay clear of the pack, which bunched at some of the downwind marks, causing several retirements.
Having missed the first race, Amelia Garnett (Seaview Yacht Club) sailed to a clean victory in the second race, and Stuart Godwin (Hayling Island Sailing Club) took the third race.
Sunday morning saw different tide/wind combinations for the two races sailed, with the competitors beating against the tide. After the fourth race, won by Claire Lasko (Bowmoor SC) a discard kicked in and the competitors were able to start to view the overall positions.
Race five was won in a tight battle by David de Boltz (Corinthian Otters) whose overall chances had suffered from retirements on Saturday. Lasko finished with the fourth place that she needed to secure the series overall, from Patrick Metcalf (second) and Sophie Weguelin (Royal Lymington Yacht Club) third.
The 32 regatta fleet sailors were aged from 6 to 13 years old. The initial challenge was negotiating the muddy shallows of Oxey Lake and several sailors needed rescuing . Once the race area had been reached, all four races ran smoothly around a short triangular course with the more experienced sailors doing 3-4 laps and the less experienced 2-3 laps. Liam Garrison aged 10, (Royal Lymington Yacht Club) won two of the four races and was the overall winner, closely followed by Izzie Allerston also aged 10 from Hayling Island Sailing Club.
The main fleet sailors were aged from 9 to 15 years old and included several 2004 world and European squad members. The event was mandatory for RYA Southern zone squad members. The sailors came from clubs as far away as Restroguet (Cornwall), Port Dinorwic (Anglesea) and West Kirby. They sailed three races on Saturday and two on Sunday. The light variable winds and strong spring tides provided challenge to some sailors who failed to cross the start line within the requisite five minutes.
Regatta Sponsors, Harken UK, donated the top prizes which went to world and European team sailors including Sophie Weguelin and Philip Sparks from Lymington. First prize was won by Claire Lasko (14) of Bowmoor.
1st Claire Lasko, Bowmoor
2nd Patrick Metcalf, Port Dinorwic
3rd Sophie Weguelin, RLYC
4th Frances Peters, HISC
5th and 1st under 12, Philip Sparks, RLYC
20th and 1st under 10, Tarra Gill-Taylor, Spinnaker