Record 325 at the Volvo Musto Optimist Inlands

2008 Optmist Inlands winner David Grant
Peter Newton

A record 325 optimist sailors at the Volvo Musto Optimist Inland Championship experienced two days of perfect wind conditions on Grafham Water. David Grant from Restronguet SC, in his final year in the class, winning two out of three races and securing the Overall Championship. The Regatta Fleet of younger sailors competed brilliantly over the weekend with Ross Macklay from Spinnaker YC winning.

This first day of racing saw grey skies, with variable winds and big shifts as showers passed through, all of which played a significant part in race positions with the experienced sailors in the flighted Main Fleet excelling. Tomas Pain (Cardiff Bay YC) and Zoe Parkinson (Guernsey YC) both on 9 points led the fleet.

The weather changed for the second day of racing with bright sunshine and gusts increasing to 18 knots; Grant used all his experience to take centre stage winning two out of three races and securing the Championship. Mathew Wallis (Spinnaker YC) fought his way up the leader board to finish second, whilst Zoe Parkinson lost ground in the first two races of the second day before winning the final race, eventually finishing tied on 26 points with Ollie Cooper (Wraysbury Lake SC), but taking third place on count-back.

Event Champion David Grant was quick to praise the organisers 'This is my last IOCA (UK) event, the Optimist has been a fantastic starter boat in which to learn how to sail and I can now go on to Laser 4.7 racing full of confidence. I would like to thank Grafham Water SC for the brilliant facilities, my mum for continually taking me to sailing events and also all the IOCA (UK) event organisers, without their help fun weekends like this wouldn’t be possible'.

The Regatta Fleet of younger sailors competed brilliantly over the weekend with these younger less experienced sailors completing seven races. The leader after day one was Ross Macklay (Spinnaker YC) on nine points, including two first places. Ross was closely followed by Jack Cox (Salterns SC) on 13 points.

Ross continued his dominance over the fleet on the final day and won the event by a clear 12 points. At just eight years old Milo Gill-Taylor sailed superbly giving Spinnaker YC a first and second on the podium with Emily King (Norfolk Broads YC) finishing third overall.

The officials were impressed with how the sailors faired. Principal race officer, David Campbell-James, said. 'I was really impressed with the Optimist class this weekend, the starts were good, and the racing was really competitive. I think all the sailors raced to an excellent standard'.

Ben Cooper Chairman of International Optimist Class Association UK (IOCA UK) was also very happy with the weekend: 'We had brilliant weather for sailing, with up to 18 knots of wind and a bit of sunshine, it’s fantastic that we have managed to get 6 races finished. I would like to thank all the IOCA (UK) volunteers, the race officers, and Grafham Water SC for again allowing us the use of their facilities.

The next big Optimist event will be the Volvo Musto National Championships (Pwllheli SC 9 August – 15 August); for more information go to – the International Optimist Class Association UK (IOCA) website.

A highlight video will be made available soon on the Volvo Sailing website