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Volvo Gill Optimist Spring Championship at Royal Lymington Yacht Club

by Valeria Sesto 13 Mar 01:00 PDT 10-11 March 2018

The UK International Optimist Class Association commenced the 2018 racing season on 10-11 March with the Spring Championships held, for the first time, at The Royal Lymington Yacht Club. There was a record numbers of 214 sailors, including 35 in the regatta fleet, 16 Irish and one French sailor.

The main fleet completed its six scheduled races, led by PRO Mike Johnson, with two discards. Britain's double Olympic silver medallist Nick Rogers, born and bred in Lymington, ran the Regatta Fleet, which completed eight races in total.

The sailing conditions were very variable, with a wide range of wind directions and speeds, which made the racing interesting and challenging, described by many as "very tough". The flooding tide played a big part in the tactical decisions. Saturday saw strong winds with gusts up to 24 knots from the SSW whilst on Sunday the easterly was much lighter, yet shifty.

Overall winner Callum Davidson-Guild (Trearddur Bay & Shotwick Lake) commented: "It was very unstable and shifty, especially on Sunday. On Saturday it was really good wind, with strong gusts, although the start was very hard because of the tide."

Callum, aged 14, who won with 16 points, just one ahead of Irish sailor Luke Turvey (Howarth YC), added: "Lymington is not an unusual place for me. I came to a few opens and for open training weekends and I have always enjoyed it." Harry Twoney (RCYCS & CHSC) was third.

First girl was Florence Brellisford (Burnham), who had a fantastic regatta. She said: "I really liked sailing here and I am very happy to have won an event for the first time as well as winning a race for the first time!" Referring to race one on day two, she added: "It was quite light wind on Sunday and there was a big shift, which helped a lot!"

Second girl was Ella Lance (Hayling Island) with Emily Mueller (RLymYC) third.

Within the Juniors, Rocco Wright (HYC/NYC) was the winner, explaining: "Lymington is a little bit more tidal than home! It was good once you understood it and challenging to start with. I hope I come back for the Oppie Open!"

The number one Junior girl was Arwen Fflur (Pwllheli SC/WKSC), who was also taken aback by the tides: "The tide was pretty strong around the marks and it was quite hard to get round. It was easier Sunday than Saturday, when everyone got caught round the marks!"

Charlie Gatehouse (BBSC), was the first 11-year-old-and-under and Leo Yates (Papercourt), the 10 year-old-and-under winner.

The regatta fleet showed real grit and determination, clearly pictured by seven-year-old Lymington sailor Sienna Mordaunt: "It was very windy and a bit tough. I sail at this Yacht Club and I really liked it at the weekend because it was really fun having all the sailors from all the country coming to sail in our club." When asked how she got on in the windy conditions she was pleased to say that she finished all the races on Sunday after only two on Saturday: "I went to the mothership where they were all very nice and we were given some treats."

There were two motherships within the safety fleet: Bilbo, Captained by James McGill, was looking after the regatta fleet and the Commodore of the RLYC, Roger Garlick, together with his wife Jenny, was supporting the main fleet on his own motorboat.

The winners of regatta fleet were Joseph Jones (Burghfield) within the boys with Angus McEwen (Papercourt) and Cian Epstein (Llangorse) coming second and third. In the girls, Jess Haigh (Blackwater) was the winner, followed by Bea Sparks (Llangorse) and Madeline Greaves (Papercourt).

Chairman of IOCA UK, Sharon Davidson-Guild, said: "We had a fantastic Spring Championships in Lymington with over 210 sailors taking part in both the main and regatta fleet. On behalf of the Class, the sailors and their families I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Royal Lymington Yacht Club and Lymington Town Sailing Club for their hospitality and hard work this weekend. Getting 210 sailors launched in 35 minutes was a mammoth job but with everyone working together we did it! Well done to all the competitors for their sailing achievements; it was tough!"

Although the venue was the RLYC, Lymington Town Sailing Club teamed up to support the venture, providing changing facilities and hosting the IOCA party on Saturday night.

Vicky Leen, Sailing Manager at the Royal Lymington Yacht Club, said: "The Club was delighted to host the 2018 Volvo Gill Optimist Spring Championships this year, it was great to see so many competitors from all over the country, some from even as far as Ireland and France. It was lovely to have so many Club members, Parents and Visitors working together to make the weekend such a great event for the children."

The club hopes to see many of the competitors again at its own Lymington Optimist Open on June 2-3. The next IOCA event will be the Selection Trials in Weymouth, in May.

For more information visit or the class Facebook page.

Overall Results:

1st Overall - Callum Davidson-Guild (Trearddur Bay SC & Shotwick Lake SC)
1st Girl - Florence Brellisford (Corinthian Otters)
1st Junior Boy - Rocco Wright (HYC/NYC)
1st Junior Girl - Arwen Fflur (Pwllheli SC/ WKSC)
1st 11 year and under - Charlie Gatehouse (BBSC)
1st 10 year and under - Leo Yates (Papercourt SC)
2nd Girl - Ella Lance (Hayling Island)
3rd Girl - Emily Mueller (RLymYC)
2nd Boy - Luke Turvey (Howarth YC)
3rd Boy - Harry Twoney (RCYCS & CHSC)
4th Boy - Jonny Flynn (HYC/ RSTGYC)
5th Boy - William Pank (Norfolk Broads SC)

Regatta Fleet Results:

1st Overall and 1st Boy - Joseph Jones (Burghfield SC)
2nd Boy - Angus McEwen (Papercourt SC)
3rd Boy - Cian Epstein (Llangorse SC)
1st Girl - Jess Haigh (Blackwater)
2nd Girl - Bea Sparks (Llangorse SC)
3rd Girl - Madeline Greaves (Papercourt SC) app (top)