by Elena Giolai
On the final day of the Garda Optimist Meeting, Italy took the top two positions in the cadets with Spagnolli and Salvetta (Fraglia Vela Riva). Omar Isik of Turkey won the juniors and second place went to Patrick Zeni of Italy. Francesca Bergamo was first among the girls.
Garda Optimist Meeting 2012
Easter was rich in achievement at the 30th Garda Optimist Meeting which started on Wednesday, 4th of April with the opening ceremony presided over by Olympian Alessandra Sensini, and finished today after four days of racing. Six races were completed for the cadets, nine for the juniors and ten for the 'Gold' fleet. Organizers, Fraglia Vela Riva, are very pleased with this edition, which broke more than one record.
On one hand, breaking through the 'wall' of 1000 participants (the highest number so far had been 998 in 2008), and on the other, achieving a Guinness World Record™ as the largest single-class sailing regatta in the world.
Including today's participants, the total reached 1055 (out of 1073), who had completed at least one race. This record is especially sweet, since it was achieved with a regatta dedicated to very young sailors, an area in which Fraglia Vela Riva invests much of its resources in both instruction and racing, believing in the policy of dedicating much of its energy on new recruits.
A policy which in this occasion of the 30th Garda Optimist Meeting, has paid off. Fraglia Vela Riva can boast of the top two positions in the cadet category (9-11 years), with Andrea Spagnolli and Tommaso Salvetta (the same positions as in the PrimaVela 2010).
They were able to dominate everyone on the last day, leaving the bronze medal to Brit Heathcote Vita, first in the girls. Both showed steady form throughout the races, which was lacking in the rest of the field. In the cadet top 10, 7 countries are represented with Italy, Great Britain, Germany, Finland, Bermuda, Turkey and Spain.
Classification Cadets: The juniors – 805 total – had several races in challenging conditions, with wind gusts from the south reaching 25 knots for yesterday and today's last races.
As predicted, the battle for the podium came down to the last race with final victory slipping away from Patrick Zeni (Fraglia Vela Malcesine) as happened in 2009. Yesterday he had been in the lead after eight races. There was a comeback, instead, for Isik of Turkey (fourth yesterday), who jumped ahead of Zeni by just one point, by taking a first on the last race. In third place, four points behind, was Lamay of Germany.
Among the girls, victory went to European Optimist Champion 2011 Francesca Bergamo (CN Alto Adriatico), who came in 8th overall. The top ten of this category is also multi-national with Italy taking four of the positions together with Turkey, Germany, The U.S.A., Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland.
Classification Gold Junior: 'We were lucky with the weather and wind conditions – commented Mauro Stanga, President of Fraglia Vela Riva, at the closure of the event – considering that the weather was mostly unsettled, and the winds were of mixed intensity, from four to eight knots ideal for the cadets, to 20 to 15 knots, recorded in some of the junior races. I would like to thank all the staff who took part in the organization of this record edition, as well as all the sectors of law enforcement and 185 coaches.
Let's not forget all the mums and dads who allowed their children to take part in this exceptional experience. I'm also happy to have shared the success of this event with partners who believe and invest in sport and in its diffusion among young people, Kinder+Sport and our institutional sponsors Trentino, inGarda and Fiere Congressi.
The sense of satisfaction of having closed this event in the best possible way, energizes us for the next edition of the Garda Optimist Meeting, and above all for the World Championships in 2013!' - concluded Stanga.