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RLymYC Junior Sailors shine at the Lymington Optimist Open

by Tanya Baddeley 7 Jun 23:25 PDT 28-29 May 2022
Lymington Optimist Open © Adam Gosling

The 2022 Lymington Optimist Open took place at Royal Lymington Yacht Club (RLymYC) on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May. The regatta is a popular annual event in the International Optimist Class Association (IOCA) calendar, this year with 73 young sailors in Main Fleet and 33 in Regatta Fleet, from as far as Sunderland and the Channel Islands.

The lineup included all of the top Optimist sailors who have been selected to represent Great Britain this summer, including the World Championships Team, the European Championships Team, the Junior Team for the Irish Nationals and the RYA Development Teams.

In spite of the warm sunshine, Saturday proved to be very challenging with the northerly breeze shut off by the sea breeze. Regatta Fleet headed to Oxey Lake which proved to have perfect conditions with sufficient breeze and little tide.

The larger Main Fleet needed a much bigger race area and so had no option but to head further offshore. Conditions were really tough; inshore the breeze had forty-degree shifts, further offshore there was too much tide in spite of the more stable light breeze.

These difficult conditions for Main Fleet provided an all but impossible job for Race Officer, Roger Wilson. The only race of the day saw just nine boats finish within the time limit. PRO called it a day!

On Sunday the cooler weather and weaker tides allowed Main Fleet racing to succeed in 8-10 knots of breeze. The fleet managed four races, allowing a discard to come into play (ideal for those who did not finish the race on Saturday).

Regatta Fleet, with double gold medalist Sarah Ayton as their Race Officer, completed eleven races over the weekend, with spectators enjoying a great view from the sea wall.

All sailors were ready for their late lunch supplied by RLymYC as soon as they tallied off, which was almost as popular as the ‘beer tokens’ for the volunteers to enjoy in the Club’s bar!

The RLymYC sailors shone in both Main Fleet and Regatta Fleet. Congratulations to all sailors who took part, including a number who have recently made the step from Regatta Fleet to Main Fleet. The final results were:

Main Fleet
1st - Archie Munro Price (RLymYC)
2nd - Dirk Rogers (RLymYC)
3rd - Lila Edwards (Parkstone YC)
4th - Dylan Creighton (Cardiff Bay YC)
5th - Freya Hutchinson (RLymYC)
(Top under 11 sailor - Jonny Rogers (RLymYC)

Regatta Fleet
1st - Isla Hutchinson (RLymYC)
2nd - Sean Di Salle (Gurnard SC)
3rd - Rupert Garlick (Burghfield SC)
4th - Ruby Coster (RLymYC)
5th - Chloe Davis (Parkstone YC)

Prizes were awarded to the winners by Olympians Sarah Ayton and Nick Rogers.

Many thanks to over 80 volunteers both ashore and afloat and to Harken who provided caps and T-shirts as prizes.

Dan Howe, Fleet Captain of the RLymYC Optimists said: “It was an honour to welcome so many Optimist sailors and their families to Lymington for the weekend. The light winds and Solent tides challenged both the Race Management and competitors but the smiles on the faces of the sailors as came ashore told us everyone had had a good weekend.”

The Optimist Class is the largest junior sailing class around the world - and the starting point for many World and Olympic champions, including Ben Ainslie. Find out more about junior and youth sailing with Royal Lymington Yacht Club at rlymyc.org.uk/youth-sailing.

Young people keen to learn how to sail: RLymYC is running RYA Youth Sailing Courses for beginners and improvers during the school holidays. For more information visit rlymyc.org.uk/training.

Meanwhile, every Wednesday local children aged 8-18 have the opportunity to learn sailing and seamanship skills for just £1 per week at the Royal Lymington Yacht Club’s RYA OnBoard Centre, Wednesday Junior Sailing. Find out more and register at rlymyc.org.uk/wjs.

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