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Optimists States Final - World champion’s sons win Tasmanian title

by Peter Campbell on 6 Mar 2011
New Tasmanian champion in Optimists, Hugo Hamilton - © Andrea Francolini Photography http://www.afrancolini.com/
Optimists States Final - Two sons of former Fireball class world sailing champion Stewart Hamilton today followed in their father’s illustrious wake by each winning a Tasmanian State championship on Hobart’s River Derwent.

Sailing in the Optimist dinghy class, 11-year-old Hugo Hamilton won the Open division championship while his 8-year-old brother took out the Green championship for beginners.

Their father, with David Connor as crew, won the world championship in the high performance Fireball class on Lake Garda, Italy, in the early 1980s, with both men’s children joining them as members of the Sandy Bay Sailing Club.


The active off-the-beach club on Nutgrove Beach this weekend conducted the Optimist and the International 420 Tasmanian championships, with 55 young sailors taking part. Of these, 14 sailed in the double-handed 420s and 41 sailed the single-handed Optimists, the fastest growing sailing class in the State, with entries from Tamar Yacht Club, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and the Sandy Bay Sailing Club.

'The Optimist fleet has grown from just two boats two years ago to more than 50 and within a year they will be the biggest dinghy fleet in the State,’ predicted SBSC member Nick Connor.

In the Optimist Open class, Hugo Hamilton won from Damien Messmer and Hugh Hickling, while in the Green division Rupert Hamilton won from Sam King and Harry Dwyer. All except King, from the RYCT, are members of SBSC.

Only one point separated the two top crews in the 420s at the end of nine heats, with former International Cadet national champion Alec Bailey and his crew, Henry Goodfellow, winning from sister and brother crew, Lucy and Doug Shephard.

Third place went to Jonny Cooper and James McIndoe, an impressive effort by Cooper who with his brother, Tom, will be among the Australian team contesting the International Cadet world championships in Germany later this year.

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