Hong Kong 5th and 12th at UK Optimist Nationals

Calum Gregor (HKG)
Yann Vincent ©
The 2012 Volvo Gill Optimist British Nationals took place at Pwllheli, Wales, from 11-17 August and attracted over 500 entries including over 100 from overseas. The event consisted of three fleets; Regatta (coached), Junior (9-12yrs) and Senior (13-15yrs). The Senior and Junior fleet regattas comprised of a qualifier series held over the first three days after which the fleets were split into Gold and Silver series for the last couple of days. The forecast was for a lot of wind!

Hong Kong Sailor Calum Gregor (RHKYC) and ex-Hong Kong sailor Jim Vincent (now sailing for France) joined the fleet of 139 boats in the Senior fleet. This is the second year that the boys have joined this regatta; last year Calum finishing 15th in the Junior Gold series and Jim finishing a remarkable sixth in the Senior Gold series.

This year both boys sailed consistently well in the qualifying rounds and easily qualified into the Gold series. Then the weather took over, the wind blew and the waves grew – racing was cancelled for a day and a half mid week, with two races being snuck in late Thursday. Despite all efforts racing was cancelled again on the last day.

Jim Vincent (FRA)
Yann Vincent ©

Final results saw the Senior Gold fleet being won by British sailor Martin Wrigley, Jim Vincent finishing fifth overall and Calum Gregor finished 12th overall (and fourth in the Under 14 category). Fantastic results in a fleet of this size and calibre. Results can be viewed at: http://www.kbsuk.com/data/OptimistIOCAEvents/data/results/2012natsengoldnh.html

Other Asia representatives attending the event were a squad of five Indians, being coached by Thomas Chaix, with best results going to Mahesh Balachander (age 11), 47th in the Junior Gold series and Vishnu Sujeesh (age13), 45th in the Senior Gold series.

Special thanks to IOCA for running a professional and enjoyable event despite very trying conditions; to RHKYC for their support, to Ross Vaughan who under the auspices of Thomas Chaix coached both boys for the week; and to the Irish for being such fun! Roll on the 2013 event in Largs, Scotland!

The first Ranking Regatta of the season for the Hong Kong Optimist Dinghy Association (HKODA) will be the ABC Sunseeker Opening Regatta 2012 being held on first & 2nd September . http://www.abclubhk.com/race/OR2012/OR2012_EntryForm_Dinghy.pdf

Pwllheli beach
Yann Vincent ©