by Pip Holloway
On the opening day of the 2012 Volvo Gill Optimist National Championships, eager sailors were welcomed with tricky conditions. The morning opened with strong winds and rain, bringing with it a choppy 3-5ft sea state. The main fleet attempted to brave the conditions but promptly returned to shore to let the 20 knots of breeze pass.
Optimist Nationals 2012
This afternoon was far more promising with the senior and junior fleet sailing three races, fantastic sailing conditions finally arrived; which made for a late finish for day one with sailors returning to shore at 2030.
Worlds Team member Martin Wrigley (CBYC) is currently leading with 2-1-1 posted on day one. He will be looking to maintain this lead but does have French sailor Jim Vincent scoring 1-1-4 only 2 points behind. The competition is already building with four visiting nations featuring in the top ten.
Peter Saxton; Main Fleet PRO was impressed with the sailors commitment on day one; ‘the forecast was 19-27knots to start with today so we postponed for an hour. On attempting to get going in what looked like a drop in wind strength it promptly went back up to 28 knots so we sent them in again! The fleet were patient though, and we managed three great races this afternoon in great conditions. The rest of the week looks challenging weather wise so we were keen to get these three in!’
In the junior fleet Arthur Brown (Royal Burnham YC) is leading the fleet with five points with a strong 1-1-3 result for day one with Gill Race Team member Milo Gill Taylor (Spinnaker SC/ Royal Lymington YC) hot on his heels only two points behind. Milo will be looking to keep this up to defend his 2011 title.
Regatta Race fleet racing saw 2012 Volvo Gill Optimist Inland Champion, Haydn Swell (Royal Victoria Yacht Club) give a strong performance for the start of the week with a 2- 3-1 and has established an early six point lead over current second place Emma Williams (Royal St George).
Dai Thomas, Regatta Fleet Coach reported 'It was a fantastic day for the Regatta fleet, three great races and we beat the main fleet in!'
The Regatta Coach fleet also completed two races this afternoon with Bettine Harris (BCYC) just staying ahead of USA sailor Noah Runciman The Mini Racers sailed two races this afternoon in a steady eight knots, with Emsworth sailors dominating; Sam Thomson in first and Sophie Dennis in third after day one.
More than 500 British and International competitors, including sailors from France, Finland, Dubai, Hong Kong and the USA have descended on Pwllheli Sailing Club to battle it out for the 2012 Championship titles.
Racing is scheduled to resume tomorrow (Tuesday 14th August) at 11.00 am. The event will see a maximum of 12 races for the Senior and Junior fleets.
Optimist Sailing website