2014 Australian Championships in the Optimist Dinghy Class commences this weekend at Mornington Yacht Club. Victoria, and Mornington in particular, is set to host one of the most significant sailing events in recent history. In what is thought to be a record anywhere in Australia 350 same style boats will compete in the one regatta.
Mornington Yacht Club will welcome visitors from every Australian state and territory, as well as from Norway, Finland, England, Hong Kong and New Zealand for the 2014 Australian Championships in the Optimist Dinghy class. The Optimist Dinghy (Opti) is an increasingly popular junior class internationally and is experiencing great growth here in Australia. The class has been no doubt buoyed by Australia’s recent success in the 2012 London Olympics where sailing was Australia’s most successful sport and Australia the most successful sailing nation.
With the majority of competitors in the 10-14 age group the event is expected to attract not only the sailors, but 350 families to Mornington and surrounds for what is expected to be a major sailing, social and fun event. An amazing spectacle is anticipated each day of the event, which runs from January 4th-11th, with the 350 sails out on the magnificent Port Phillip in race formation, just off the beach at Mornington.
Event Chairman and Mornington Club Captain Chris Jackson is excited, and a little daunted by the prospect of the arrival of the 350 excited sailors, families and the 350 boats. 'It’s going to be an amazing event for our club and for sailing in Victoria' Jackson said 'We are feeling ready and can’t wait until it is all underway and we have those 350 kids out on the water having a great time and doing some great sailing' he added.
Victoria is in the midst of a bumper sailing season with the recently completed ISAF Sailing World Cup event off Sandringham attracting a 50% entry increase on the previous year and with this event complementing other national events around the Bay. This includes the Australian Youth Nationals which is being jointly hosted by Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club and Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron from January 6th-10th.
A couple of the best Victorians to look out for in the Opti Nationals are Steven Case, Lachlan Evendon and Campbell Richard, as well as Sophie Jackson from the host Mornington club who is Victoria’s leading female sailor in the class.
Event website: click here
by Elisha Keating
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1:51 PM Thu 2 Jan 2014GMT
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