Optimist Inland Championship 18 May 2009
Wet and wild I think sums up the weekend. We had a number of Otters brave the elements at the Optimist Inland Championship at Grafham Water, there were 235 entrants in the Main fleet and 100 in Regatta fleet. Saturday the Regatta fleet went out, lots sank and capsized and then all were sent back in and there was no racing. Main fleet managed two out of the three scheduled races but with gusts of 35+ knots and pretty sizeable waves it was not for the faint hearted. Sunday was a little better in the morning but the afternoon was back to Saturday conditions; both fleets sailed three races though the third race was “survival of the fitest” for the younger Regatta fleet sailors.
A huge well done to Arthur Brown. Arthur scored two firsts and a sixth to win the Regatta fleet – I am a “little” biased but I witnessed all the races from my rib and he was the best sailor and a big talent for the future – well done Arthur. Also well done to Louis Brand and Angus Eckstein, out there competing and finishing races which, given the conditions, was a great credit to both of them.
Conditions were very tough for main fleet, especially Saturday, as they were sailing in the biggest open stretches with the most wind (and waves!). James Hutton-Penman scored an 18th in race two and raced consistently to finish 58th overall, a very good result. Hamish Eckstein followed James home in race two finishing 22nd, Hamish finishing 100th overall, another excellent result. Sterling Taylor sailed brilliantly on day one and well on day two finishing 119th overall – James, Hamish and Sterling all finishing in the top half of a national fleet.
In truth it was well done to all our sailors because the conditions were very tough, especially for the younger ones. The remaining positions were:
Thomas Johnson 133 (23rd in race four)
Kathryn Hutton-Penman 171
Isabella Minks 206
Sorry but I was not able to take any pictures, we were spending all our time bailing out (including the rib) and dealing with capsizes!!!