The 2013 Volvo Gill Optimist National Championships was held at Largs Sailing Club last week. Pwllheli Sailing Club had 4 sailors competing in the Senior Fleet and 5 in the junior fleet. 12 races were succesfully completed under the stewardship of PRO Peter Saxton ably helped out the the ARO Peter Baldwin and his wife Judith.
All 330 sailors who completed were treated to the best that Scotish sailing has to offer , stunning backdrop of the Isle of Arran and Cumbrae and wind from 5.5 kts to a honking 32 kts on the last day. Luckily the dreaded midges had not decided on a staycation and there were no violent faceslapping routines happening at night.
Day 1 had 3 races with a wind range of 5-7 kts , where the sailors had to beat into a 1 kt tide. The VMG of optimists in light winds is about 1.5 kts so any 1 wrong decision was soon punished. The sailors who worked out that to go left on top of the Fairlie bank was the right course were soon in the top 10. At the end of Day 1 three CHIPAC sailors were in the top 15 of the senior fleet Christopher Jones, Iago Davies and Gethin Owen.
The usual mix of DSQ, black flags , appeals and redress happened during the week with the Williams sisters called in as the legal team to help Iago get out of a squad losing result. Iago Davies posted a very impressive 1st, 2nd and a 3rd on Thursday. This left the usual wrangling between places with Iago on 5th and Gethin on 6th going into the final day. The final day had 1 race which started in 25 kts and ended on 32 kts with a shortened course after the first loop. Gethin Owen finished the race in 2nd place . Gear damage is inevitable in such conditions and Iago's sprit pulley disintegrated forcing him to retire in the last race. Hatty Morsley (PDSC) also suffered gear letdown so was pushed out of a top 10 placing in the last race.14 year old Iago finished in 17th place and Gethin aged 13 finished in 4th place collecting the Anson Perpetual trophy for best Welsh sailor (the Anson trophy finally returning to Pwllheli) the Tim Spalding trophy for best non team sailor and the Carsue Trophy for being the 3rd placed Brit. 12 year old Christopher Jones finished in 20th place but still has 2 years left so will be the one to watch in the Europeans in Pwllheli in 2015.
Other Pwllheli sailing club results were Elodie Edwards age 11 finished in 37th , Phoebe Roberts 57th , Thomas Dawson 58th, William Jukes-Bennett 83 and Benjamin Jukes-Bennett 115th ,Mathew Shirt (senior fleet) 61st . Hatty Morsley and Ciaron Jones of PDSC finished in 15th and 16th which means that North Wales had 5 sailors in the top 20 which proves that we are punching well above our weight. The sailors would like to thank Kate and Sarah Williams for their ongoing coaching and the Welsh Yachting Association for the technical and equipment support.
Full results are available at :- http://www.kbsuk.com/data/OptimistIOCAEvents/data/results/2013natsennh.html