A record entry of 268 young Optimist sailors competed at the Volvo Musto Optimist Inland Championship last weekend
A record entry of 268 young Optimist sailors competed at the Volvo Musto Optimist Inland Championship at Grafham Water Sailing Club last weekend (17-18 May).
The Junior and Senior sailors raced as one fleet, which was then divided into two flights. They raced on trapezoid course with the first flight racing on the inner loop and the second flight racing the outer loop.
It was trying conditions over the whole weekend for all the sailors competing in the six-race series. Saturday brought a gusty southerly Force 4-5. This meant the more experienced and larger senior sailors fared better than the younger and smaller junior sailors. There was no respite on Sunday, with the winds again gusting Force 4-5.
The competition on the water was tough, with the sailors who had recently been selected for the World and European Optimist Championships battling it out at the front of the fleets. Those sailing well, included twin brothers’ Ben and Tim Saxton, (13, Baldock) Hannah Mills, (15, Dinas Powys) now ranked Number 1 in the UK. But going into the final race, it was Greg Carey (14, Lymington) who led the regatta, with just four points after one discard. He was closely followed by defending champion Richard Mason (15, Lymington) two points adrift of the lead.
In the end however, it was Richard Mason who held his nerve to win the final race, with Greg finishing fourth. This meant Richard regained his title of Volvo Musto Optimist Inland Champion for the second year, winning the regatta and beating Greg into second place by just one point.
Hannah Mills, who was sailing in her last Optimist National Championship before moving into the 420 class after the Optimist World Championship in July, finished as first girl and in fourth place overall. Claire Lasko (13, Oxon) finished second girl, and in tenth place overall.
Forty brave young sailors, new to the Optimist class, competed over the weekend in the regatta fleet, including joint sponsor, Nigel Musto’s daughter, Anna Musto.
Overall Results 1st Richard Mason, Royal Lymington
2nd Greg Carey Royal Lymington
3rd Robert Claridge Royal Lymington
4th Hannah Mills Corus Sailing Club
5th Ben Saxton, Grafham Water SC
6th James Murdock, Bowmoor SC
7th Andrew Conn, Derwent Reservoir
8th Tim Saxton, Grafham Water SC
9th William Atkinson, Royal St Georges (IRL)
10th Claire Lasko, Bowmoor SC