by Amy Cada
2014 Volvo Gill Optimist British National and Open Championships - Over 450 of the country’s top youth and junior sailors are preparing to race on the same waters where their Team GB Olympic heroes battled for gold during London 2012. From two - eight August, the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy will welcome sailors from nineteen different nations for the annual Volvo Gill Optimist British National and Open Championships.
A young sailor competes at one of the three annual Volvo Gill Optimist Championship events.
The event will accommodate five separate categories, the Senior Fleet for those aged thirteen to fifteen, the Junior Fleet for those aged eight to twelve, Regatta Racing for those aged eight and above and those looking for transition to the Junior fleet, Regatta Coaching for those competing at the event for the first time and Mini Racers for those aged five to nine, who are just learning to sail.
Sailors to watch include Hattie Rogers (Royal Lymington Yacht Club), top girl from the 2013 National Championship in Largs, who will be competing in the senior fleet along with Benno Marstaller (Restroguet Sailing Club / Mylor Yacht Club) who will be looking to replicate his first place finish from the Volvo Gill Optimist Inland Championship in May at Grafham Water Sailing Club.
Mark Lyttle IOCA (UK) Chairman commented: 'We are delighted to be back in Weymouth for the first time since the Olympic Games and thoroughly looking forward to another fantastic event.'
The Optimist is one of the most popular youth sailing classes in the world, and has launched the career of many top Olympic sailors, including quadruple gold medallist, Sir Ben Ainslie and Team Volvo’s London 2012 silver medallist, Luke Patience.
Mark continued: 'The Nationals is the pinnacle of the annual event calendar for the Optimist class and is all about participating together with hundreds of other sailors, creating experiences to be cherished and building independence.'
A full social programme, including a welcome BBQ for all competitors and their families on the evening of the opening day and reception for overseas sailors on Monday five August, will compliment the event.
Throughout the week Volvo and Gill will be running a competition to launch their exclusive new Optimist event buoyancy aid covers and there will be a car display featuring vehicles from the latest Volvo range.
This is the second annual event of the year that Volvo and Gill jointly sponsor, with the third being the Volvo Gill Optimist End of Season Championship, taking place at Rutland Sailing Club, 11th and 12th October 2014.