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Optimst Selection event at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy

by Richard & Paru Edwards 11 May 01:45 PDT 30 April - 3 May 2021
Optimst Selection event at the WPNSA © Richard & Paru Edwards

The Optimst Selection event took place 30th April to 3rd May at WPNSA. Two days were lost to the cumulonimbus clouds and variable winds. Six races were held in great conditions varying from 8 knots to a very breezy final race gusting over 30 knots. All the Optimist sailors enormously enjoyed their first National regatta in a long time.

Covid-19 has meant the Optimist class last had an event with a single race in 2019. We were hoping that we would at last, be able to have some racing. The forecast on Thursday was not looking favourable. The top seventy, who were selected to attend the Optimists selection trials, were eagerly awaiting a fun packed and intense 4 days of racing.

Friday began with cumulonimbus clouds all around. Our race officer Adrian Stogall bravely set a course in variable cloud pushed winds. The wind would only stabilise for 25 minutes. The day consisted of many starts and a few windward mark roundings before another storm cloud came in, causing a big wind shift and the hoisting of yet another abandoned flag. Stogs, as he is fondly known, persisted determinedly to try to complete the fleet's first national race in nearly two years but the weather didn't play ball.

Saturday was a whole day of the same starting practice and races that never quite got to the windward mark. The only upside was that the forecast for Sunday was sun and steady wind all afternoon.

Sunshine and and lovely 10-12 knots greeted us on Sunday. Everyone behaved themselves and the fleet got off to a clean start in race one. Lila Edwards lead around the windward mark and extended to win the first race and she also won the second. The wind had built a little for the third race, Hugh Andrews managed to hold a slender lead and win. In the final race of the day, Patrick Bromilow lead at the windward mark and comfortably won the race.

Thomas Kelsall managed to sail very consistently and lead the seventy boat going into the final day. Monday was forecast to be blowing fifty knots by the evening with a swirling low pressure piling in from the west. The race officer called for an 8am launch, hoping to get a series of 6 races with an all important discard.

Monday morning arrived and a very keen but bleary eyed optimist fleet launched into 20 knots of breeze. A course was set over the full length of Portland harbour. The first was sailed in 20 to 25 knots and the second was sailed in 25 to 30 knots. The wind brought a change of faces to the front of the fleet. Archie Munro-Price excelled in the breeze and won both races.

Consistency across the wind range was the key to performing in the first regatta of the year. Archie Munro Price won the regatta conclusively, with Johnny Sargent coming second and Lila Edwards who was third overall and first girl.

A massive thank you goes out to the Race Officer and his amazing race team, not forgetting the heavy - lifting marks layers who moved a lot of Marks on Friday and Saturday! The shore team and so many behind the scene volunteers helped the smooth and efficient organisation.

All the sailors should be congratulated in holding their nerve and their concentration through a testing four day selection event. It has been wonderful to finally begin optimist class racing again. We will look forward to a long summer of sailing with great enthusiasm.

The selection event decided the optimist GBR teams for 2021 and special congratulations go to those sailors who have been selected.

The team going to the World Championships in Lake Garda, Italy will be Archie Munro-Price, Jonny Sargent, Lila Edwards, Joseph Jones and Charlie Gatehouse.

The team going to the European Championship in Cadiz, Spain will be Thomas Kelsall, Patrick Bromilow, Noa Moskovitch, Tabitha Davies, Hugh Andrews, Emma Breese, Will Mears, William Moss and Sabine Potter.

The 1st Development Team will be Hennie Burlton, William Fletcher, Tom Hakes, Angus Mcewen, Merle Niewland, Dilara Soyer, William Webster and Bea West.

2nd Development Team will be Henry Cam,Dylan Creighton, Thomas Davey, Luke Elliott, Arthur Greaves, Robbie Hudson, Matthew Mason and Ralph Surguy.

Additional prizes awarded were:

  • Best newcomer boy - Tom Hakes
  • Best newcomer girl - Noa Moskovitch
  • Sportsmanship Award - Matthew Mason (Matthew took penalty turns in over 30 knots of wind)
Full results are available at

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