11 Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailors at The Volvo Gill Optimist Inland Championships
Photos by Peter Newston
The Volvo Gill Optimist Inland Championships was held at Grafham Water on May 18th / 19th with a 11 Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli sailors representing the club out of a total entry of 210 sailors in the main fleet. The championships was held over 2 contrasting days with the first day held in wind speeds of f2-3 but Sunday welcomed the sailors with glorious sunshine , but windspeed of 0.0kts $ made the appearance of the “cat in the hat” inevitable, which delayed the first start , but the wind did pick up to give 2 very shifty races on the Sunday.
Consistency counts which explains why Christopher Jones achieved a fantastic 13th overall in these cerebral sailing conditions, he discarded a 20th with 2 top 10 placings. A solid performance like this would have earned him a place in the European team 2 weeks ago , but has 2 years left in the class to gain places in the top teams . Gethin Llewelyn Owen gained hist first ever win in a major championship in race 2 , but even though he achieved placings of 12th, 1st, 29th, 26th, 16th he was 23 rd overall , contrary to rumours his Father was not seen doing celebratory backflips in the bar after seeing the results Saturday afternoon. The 1st should put Gethin in the right winning mentality as he is representing GB in the Bodrum Optimist championships in Turkey next week. Huw Edwards and Iago Davies both European team members were 30th and 56th overall (both possibly thinking of Lake Balaton not Lake Grafham) – Iago suffering from a blackflag which he eventually discarded and he did take some ribbing on the Saturday night for being 100th overall midway during the Championships but the line “Are you in the European team” soon put a stop to most of the ribbing. Josh Haynes in his last year of Optimists was 51st but scored a 6th in the last race. Mathew Shirt who over the winter was on the open training treadmill achieved a highly creditable 20th in one race and was 123rd overall. Elodie Edwards 136th had a best placing of 31st and Phoebe Roberts achieving a disqualification with her first Black Flag in race 1 which shows she is willing to push her way to the front. Thomas Dawson (156th overall) has ensured that his father will have another 3 years on the Optimist circuit as his brother Josh has now moved on the 29ers. Thomas took the same tactics as the Eric Twinname championships namely go to the other side of the lake and watch his fathers blood pressure increase. The 2 Anglesey based sailors William JUKES-BENNETT (best result 42nd ) and Benjamin JUKES-BENNETT both enjoyed the racing and are very keen to get some more practice before the next ranking event the National Championships at Largs in August.
Some full on training is planned for July here at Pwllheli to get the sailors race tuned for Largs to ensure that they arrive in Largs having had sufficient training in a very competitive fleet.
Saturday night was where all the GBR selected teams met to get their goody bags , team jackets etc as 3 of the 11 are now representing GB in various European Championships.
In terms of numbers Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli (11 sailors) sailing was 3rd in terms of members competing behind Royal Lymington (22 sailors) and Cardiff Bay YC(15 sailors) .On a negative note there were no Pwllheli sailors in the regatta fleet . Currently the youth members of Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club are right up there with the best of UK youth sailing where we rightly belong and all members of CHPSC should be very proud of our young ambassadors .
Many thanks again to Kate and Sarah Williams for their coaching and support at this event, and many thanks to Peter Saxton (Commodore Grafham Water) and his team for making their club so open and welcoming to all the visiting sailors and families.