by Phil Hall
In beautiful sunny conditions, Sorrento Sailing and Couta Boat Club was the venue for the 2012 RT Edgar International Optimists Victorian Championships. Sailed over three days, 68 boats challenged for the Open title and 42 boats enjoyed Green fleet racing.
Tight racing. - RT Edgar Victorian Optimist Championships
A significant boost to entries was the full Australian Worlds team with coach Rob Brewer down for the event adding plenty of competition to the already strong list. 11 interstate competitors travelled for this event from WA, Tas, QLD, and NSW.
Day one dawned, and 5-8 knots of flukey breeze greeted all competitors. After numerous false starts and course changes the Open fleet completed four races with young 11 year-old Steven Case from the home club jumping out to a three-point lead with a scorecard of 1, 4, 1, 3 over Australian Team member Jim Colley from RPAYC.
Four races were also held for Green fleet, and incredible initiation for some competing for the very first time.
Charlie Dixon from SSCBC showed the way with all sailors gaining valuable experience.
Steven Case leads on day one. - RT Edgar Victorian Optimist Championships
For day two, with little or no breeze, the 'AP' was flown and Head Juror Rob Ware conducted a 'Rule 42' discussion which was well attended. When boats hit the water, similar conditions as the day before were faced but in a building breeze. After five more races, Steven Case and Jim Colley traded places with Colley leading by two points.
Green fleet also had a successful day with the standard of racing improving rapidly. The course was quite large for green fleet allowing all young sailors to develop their skills in the ideal conditions.
The final day loomed and it could be called 'black Monday' as many competitors over the last three races took on black flag penalties, some multiple. In very light and flukey winds, Jim Colley read it best to lead the scoreboard from fellow Aussie team member Kye Evans from RQYS. Steven Case was lucky to hold off the fast finishing current National Champion Jack Graves, a black flag recipient in the final race.
Therefore, Steven Case took out the Victorian Championship from Jack Graves also from the home club SSCBC and James Grogan from BRYC finishing third.
Charlie Dixon held strong to win Green fleet after twelve races from two ladies, Jasmine Evenden DBYC and Kate Dunwoody from MCYC. This fleet was very strong and a great sign for future years.
Ashore, all competitors enjoyed daily musters where fantastic prizes were given out, BBQ’s and many handouts in what was a great atmosphere.
110 Optimists competed. - RT Edgar Victorian Optimist Championships
In an Optimist first, nearly forty young sailors participated in the OziOpti carnival comprising of the plastic training Optimists and a great deal of fun. This was an ideal introduction, with sailing, games and ice cream eating competitions. Happy faces all round and watch out Green fleet.
Full credit to Sorrento for a first class regatta both on water and ashore. It was a very smooth and enjoyable event thanks to their very dedicated team.
Full results can be viewed at http://www.sscbc.bvit.com.au/site/yachting/event/44014/default.html