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Optimistic………………… you bet!!

by Media Services on 8 Jan 2008
Opti start Sailing - 2008 Sail Melbourne 2nd Pacific Rim and Open International Optimist Dinghy Championships Mornington Yacht Club Jeff Crow/ Sport the Library

The 2008 OziOpti Australian and Open Optimist Championships get underway at Frankston Yacht Club today with entries from every Australian state and eight countries reflecting the continued growth of this international junior class in Australia.

With registration closing this morning the fleet will exceed 70 entries which is a 50% increase on previous years.

AIODA registrar, Howard Knight, commented today that 'at last years Nationals we were wondering if someone would turn up this year with sail number AUS400, but we’ve come within a hairs breadth of AUS500', quite remarkable when the worlds largest class and most popular sailing dinghy and has taken 30 years in Australia to get to AUS310 and then just one year later we’ve added over 170 boats with another 50 odd charter boats/ or stock around the country and not yet registered.

Last week the second Sail Melbourne Pacific Rim Championships were held at Mornington with 75 entries, up from 42 last year.

After 15 races over the for racing days the only constant was Harald Faste of Norway again in first position as he did last year, at just 13 years of age Harald finished 19th of 260+ boats at this years Optimist World’s in Sardinia where 65 countries sent their best junior sailors.

Samuel Gilmour, the current Australian Optimist Champion, was the best placed Australian and Amy Gallagher top Australian Girl. Erica Yan of Hong Kong was the overall Top Girl. Rowan Stephens took the honours in the Green Fleet with young local Tyrone Gowans finishing 2nd in division. James Brewer won the sportsmanship award with honourable mentions to Tom Lidgett and Edward Pope.

The 2008 AOST (Australian Optimist Sailing Team) will again be selected at this years Nationals with the squad destined for New Zealand, Singapore and local training clinics/regattas in Adelaide and Mandurah WA. The top five AOST members will earn the opportunity to represent Australia at the Optimist Worlds in Turkey in July.

The Optimist Nationals are held in conjunction with the Australian Youth Championships and the future of Australia’s yachting talent can be viewed from Frankston Pier from today with the final heats on Friday 11th.

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