by Elena Giolai
Garda Optimist Meeting, organised by Fraglia Vela Riva with the support of Kinder+Sport, starts with the opening ceremony on Wednesday 4th April and ends on Sunday 8th April.
Garda Optimist Meeting 2012
A lively, colourful, multi-national invasion has been taking place on Trentino Garda over the last few days with the arrival of the participants.
On-line pre-registration closed on Sunday 1st April with a record number of entrants - 1166.We will know the official number when the validation of entrants closes at 9-30 on Thursday morning. The young sailors will be racing in two categories: the juniors (12-14 years) and the cadets (9-11); they will then be divided further into smaller groups five for the juniors and two for the cadets distinguishable by coloured ribbons tied to the masts ( the tallest part of the boat).
Garda Optimist Meeting 2012
The organisational staff is ready on-hand to ensure that the participants and their families have a wonderful stay with days filled with sport and fun. The event, which this year celebrates its 30th edition, opens with a procession from the clubhouse winding through the streets of the historic centre of Riva del Garda at 18-30 Wednesday, 4th April. Olympian and sailing legend Alessandra Sensini will be at Fraglia Vela Riva from early afternoon. Only last week she took the bronze medal on the Olympic RS:X at the World Championships - an important result with the London Olympics practically round the corner. This will be Alessandra's sixth Olympics with four medals won so far. Ms Sensini, who is also the vice-president of The Italian Sailing Federation, will meet with the children participating at the Optimist Meeting and will take part in the opening ceremony which will see the presentation of the flag-bearers on stage at the Palameeting (the original site was to have been in the main square in Riva but with rain in the forecast, a change of programme had to be made). Marco Mammone, architect and former international racing judge, will also be at the opening. It was his idea to hold The Garda Optimist Meeting during Easter week every year. An idea that has turned out to be a real winner!
'All the organisational staff is up and ready and there is much enthusiasm from both the participants and the citizens of Riva del Garda who have been welcoming the arrivals with open arms. Even the shop windows in town are decorated around the event showing that everyone is getting into the spirit of things'- commented Mauro Stanga, President of Fraglia Vela Riva- ' We are confident that the weather will be on our side and even if there is an occasional shower, it will certainly not spoil this wonderful event.'
For Fraglia Vela Riva The Garda Optimist Meeting remains an event of great importance as it represents, most of all, a joyous occasion where people can get together and be part of this unique, world experience for very young sailors.
If we take a look at the Gold Medal Board, compiled for the 30th edition, we can see some interesting racing data. No less than seven past winners have gone on to become Olympic sailors and athletes, among them gold medallist at Athens 2004, Siren Soot Sundby of Norway, Europa class. Gold medallist at the Juvenile World Championships ISAF, Risto Tapper of Norway also took part in the newly formed Juvenile Olympics. Tapper, who was the winner of one of the first editions in 1985, is here at Riva now this time as parent -coach to his own son! Among the most recent winners in 2009 was Cecilia Zorzi wearing the Fraglia colours and who last year won the Laser 4.7 World Championships.
Programme of Events
Deadline for validation of entrants is 9:30 am. Thursday, April 5th.
Opening Ceremony: 18:30 -19:30 procession of participants finishing at The Palameeting (adjacent to Fraglia Vela Riva). Official opening with Alessandra Sensini and Mayor Mosaner of Riva del Garda.
Regattas: first races scheduled for 12:00 Thursday, 5th April. Schedule for the following days will be announced the night before. All announcements will be posted on our website.
Other Events: pasta and hot chocolate will be served daily.
Nutella party Friday, April 6th at 19:30
Award Ceremony: Sunday, April 8th at 17:30
Download the official programme here.
Garda Optimist Meeting Guinness World Record
On Friday, April 6th a judge from the London commission of The Guinness World Records will certify our record by checking the number of participants who have completed at least one race. It will then be certified as 'The Largest Sailing Regatta (Single Class). Details on the schedule will follow.