by Gail Willows
Volvo Gill Optimist National and Open Championship 2011 is being hosted by Pwllheli Sailing Club, North Wales from 29th July until 5th August. 450 young Optimist sailors will be attending the event.
Volvo Gill Optimist Championship 2010
This year the annual sailing event is celebrating its 50th anniversary and racing is expected to be as fierce as ever for the young sailors. Since the first Optimist National Championships in 1961 the class has become the largest youth class in the UK and impressively has over 150,000 young sailors competing across the globe. British sailing greats, including triple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie and London 2012 hopeful Hannah Mills, are among the previous winners, proving the value of this event in giving young people the skills to move into a career in sailing and become our next generation of Olympic stars.
'The Optimist National Championships was the first major event I ever won and it really was a stepping stone for me. It is amazing that after winning the Optimist event 9 years ago I am now getting ready to compete at the Pre-Olympic Test Event. The National Championships are a fantastic event for young sailors to compete in and it is such an achievement for the class to celebrate its 50th anniversary. It is a great that year on year the class is growing in popularity and size' said Hannah Mills who was the first female to ever win the Nationals, and currently sails a 470 with Saskia Clark.
This year the event will welcome competitors from 15 nations including, France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Finland, USA, UAE, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Kenya, Bermuda - a mouth watering prospect for some great racing during the week.
It is the eleventh year that Volvo Car UK has sponsored the Optimist Sailing class in the UK and they are excited to be working with new joint title sponsor and sailing clothing specialist, Gill.
'We are looking forward to being involved in our first Volvo Gill Optimist National Championships. A fleet of 450 young sailors together on the water will be a remarkable sight and the 50th anniversary is wonderful achievement for the class. The Gill design and development team will be there on Wednesday 3rd August to answer questions from the competitors and research what today's Optimist sailors are looking for to improve their comfort and competitiveness on the water.' commented Nick Gill, founder and Chairman of Gill.
The Optimist class is a crucial part of Volvo’s and Gill’s commitment to supporting British sailing from the grass roots to the pinnacle of the sport.
'Once again we have received a fantastic amount of entries for the Volvo Gill Optimist National Championships. We are all looking forward to heading to Pwllheli and expecting some exiting racing. The great thing about the event is many of the sailors competing will be attending as much for fun and a family holiday as for the racing. In addition to the sailing, we have lots of activities for competitors and parents during the week including beach games, parties and evening films. We hope everyone can really enjoy the week.' commented Marshal King, International Optimist Class Association, UK Chairman.
Volvo Sailing website