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IODA Optimist Asian Championships 2012 win to Singapore

by Tracey Walters on 10 Jun 2012
Australian Optimist Asian Team - IODA Optimist Asian Championships 2012 Vibeke Bech Munk
Chaaya Blu Resort, Trincomalee on the east coast of Sri Lanka, IODA and the Yachting Association of Sri Lanka has hosted an extremely successful Asian Optimist Championships from 2-10 June.

All the teams have been overwhelmed not only with the beautiful location and the amazing food provided but by the hospitality of the organisers and friendly Sri Lankan people.


Teams from all over Asia have raced a tough windy regatta of twelve races over the past week, long days on the water in 20+ knots with 30 – 40 degree shifts, temperatures in the high 30’s. Friendships have been made and camaraderie between teams has developed enjoying the after racing socialising.

The Sri Lankan Navy have been there every day assisting competitors getting into and out of the water.

The Australian team members; Max Quirk AUS 807 QLD, Jaime Swavley AUS 1024 NSW, Harley Walters AUS 1079 NSW, Shon Mori AUS 956 QLD, Sarah Kirke AUS 769 WA and Finn Alexander AUS 932 NSW.


The Australian team coached by Tom Brewer performed well as a whole in extremely close racing, missing a shift was very costly. A highlight according to Tom was race six on day two where there were three Aussies in the top ten at the top mark. This Australian team was expected to have one of the best results at an Asians in 2012 but when two of our members missed day three of racing struck down with illness it made the task more difficult.

Of the Australians Max Quirk (RQYS) placed best in 20th place, Max has been sailing Optis for the past two years at RQ and Maroochydore and is a member of the Queensland Development Squad. Leading up to the Asians he placed 14th Australian at the 2012 Queensland National Championships winning the Peter Gilmore perpetual trophy for the most improved. He competed at the New Zealand Nationals, came second in the NSW States and third in the Queensland States providing an important confidence boost. Max commented 'This has been a great experience in shifty conditions; I’ve learnt a lot I can take back to Australia. It has been cool meeting all the Asian teams; we are different but have similar interests.'

In 24th place Finn Alexander (WSC). 'I have enjoyed the whole experience; it is hard to pick out the best part. I have really enjoyed the consistently strong South West Monsoon winds' said Finn. Finn was the best placed sailor in his first Nationals in Queensland and has continued to improve; he will be heading into a Laser 4.7 after the Asian Championships.

Shon Mori finished in 37th place when he was forced to carry two races on total points after spending a day in bed with illness. Shon will soon age out of Optis and is planning on sailing 29ers out of Southport Yacht Club. He has been sailing Optis since he was eight and is a member of the QLD Development Squad. Shon commented 'This is a great opportunity and has made me realize sailing has no language boundaries, I feel blessed to have this opportunity.'


Harley Walters (RPAYC) placed 41st overall in the regatta but achieved the best individual race result for the Aussies, a ninth place in race six. Harley along with teammates Finn and Jaime from have been in the NSW Emerging Talent Squad and trained under Tom for the past twelve months. 'I really enjoyed the great racing we had in this regatta, I was expecting a light air regatta but have liked the heavy winds' said Harley.

In 55th Jaime Swavley (DAC) was looking forward to a lighter regatta or at least one day but it didn’t happen.

Jaime commented 'I have enjoyed meeting sailors from all over the world, although they were not the conditions I was expecting I have really learnt from my mistakes and it’s been great heavy wind experience.' This regatta will set Jaime up well for her transition into 420’s at QLD Youth Week.

Sarah Kirke was the single WA representative in the Australian team. Sarah has sailed and trained at South of Perth and Freemantle Sailing Club over the summer season. It has been her first year in the open fleet. Sarah was looking forward to the experience of competing in an International Championship. Unfortunately Sarah withdrew from race seven and was taken to the medic tent, missing the following two races on day three. 'I have really enjoyed meeting all the other teams and visiting the temple on the lay day. I was looking forward to a light regatta which I prefer but by the last day I was beginning to enjoy the heavy winds' said Sarah.


Winning the regatta were favourites, Singapore Jia Yi Loh, in second place her teammate Elisa Yukie Yokoyama and third USA sailor Jack Parkin.

The teams racing was scheduled day three of the regatta and Singapore had a win over Thailand to win the teams racing title.

This regatta has provided the Australian team with International regatta experience in tactically challenging conditions. The team have got on well and made friends from all over the world, swapping shirts and contact details at the closing ceremony.

The team will make the eight hour trip back to Colombo to fly out tomorrow along with Manager Tracey Walters and Country Representative Rob Quirk.





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