Pwhelli Sailing Club is preparing for next week's Optimist national championship where up to 300 competitors will take part

Pwhelli Sailing Club will host up to 300 young Optimist sailors for the Volvo Musto Optimist national championship commencing the week 4-10 August 2002.

The Optimist class is the largest junior dinghy class in the world, and has been the launch pad for many famous sailors’ careers, including Volvo Youth Sailing ambassadors and Sydney Gold Medallist’s Iain Percy and Ben Ainslie.

The young sailors will compete for the top spots in Senior and Junior fleets, with ten races planned for each fleet. Competition on the water will be high, with sailors who have recently returned from the world and European championships battling it out and the front of the fleets.

In particular, Welsh Sailor Hannah Mills, who was second girl and ninth overall at the Optimist world championship in Texas in July. Hannah’s result was the best ever performance of a British girl in the history of the event.

“We are looking forward to some exciting racing this week,” said Jan Lasko, Chairman of the Optimist Association in the UK. “Previous winners of this event include Ben Ainslie in 1992. Who after winning Gold in the Laser class at Sydney 2000 he is now campaigning in the Finn Class for the Athens Olympics in 2004, we are hoping that some of the young sailors here will be following in his foot steps in years to come.”

“Volvo are proud to be sponsor of the Optimist Class, as we feel the importance of supporting the grass roots of sailing,” said John Lefley, Director of PR and Events at Volvo Car UK. “It’s really exciting to see so many young sailors out on the water, and I’m sure that some of them will go onto much greater success in the future.”

“Musto is delighted to be on board with the Optimists,” said Nigel Musto, Deputy Managing Director of Musto Ltd and a past winner of the event himself in 1977. “At Musto we support some of the world’s top sailors and crews, but it’s also great to support the future stars of our sport.” As well as joint sponsor of the event, Nigel will also be supporting his eleven-year-old son; Ben will be competing in the Junior fleet at the event.

Due to the success of the Volvo Musto Optimist sponsorship programme over the last two years. Volvo and Musto have recently extended their sponsorship of the Optimist class for another year.

The Volvo and Musto sponsorship of the Optimist class includes the national, inland and end of season championships as well as the GB Optimist world and European championship teams.