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Tasmanian Open Optimist Championship 2014 – Event report

by Peter Campbell on 2 Mar 2014
Hugo Hamilton his way to winning the Optimist class at last weekend’s Crown Series Bellerive Regatta. - Tasmanian Open Optimist Championship 2014 Peter Campbell
Optimist Tasmanian Championship 2014 - The Optimist, the largest one-design junior sailing dinghy in the world, has over the past weekend achieved the status of being the largest one-design class in Tasmania.

A fleet of 56 boats, a record for a single-handed class in this State, contested the Tasmanian championship at Sandy Bay Sailing Club with the winner, 13-year-old Hugo Hamilton, heading to Argentina later this year to contest the world championship.

The size and quality of the fleet from clubs around the State gives Tasmanian sailing an optimistic outlook for the future.

At the Beijing Olympics the majority of gold medal winners began their sailing careers in the 2.4m pram dinghy. At the London Olympics, 85 per cent of the sailors graduated from Optimists.

Hugo Hamilton won the State championship from his 11-year-old brother Rupert, despite both lads being disqualified from today’s first race for being OCS (on course side).

Hugo bounced back with two more wins and an eighth, to finish the Tasmanian Open Optimist championship with a net 6 points, his brother Rupert on 15 points. Both sail from the Sandy Bay Sailing Club.

Third place overall went to William Wallace from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania on 20 points, while Chloe Fisher from the Tamar Yacht Club placed fourth and first female sailor. This is Chloe’s last championship in the Optimist class, moving up to a two-handed 29er.

Open division race winners today, in addition to Hugo Hamilton, were Alice Buchanan in race five and Daniel Ragg in race seven.

Best Sportsperson Award, chosen by Race Committee, went to Alice Buchanan (Open Fleet, Bubbling Along). She hit a rounding mark twice in one race and carried out penalty turns immediately, with without question. Alice also won race five, her first win in an Optimist championship.

Winner of the Green Division was Oscar O’Donoghue from Sandy Bay Sailing Club, with second place going to Maks Groom from Kingston Beach Sailing Club, third and first female to Oscar’s sister, Matilda.

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