What an amazing event the 2014 Optimist Nationals was this year! It was the biggest single dinghy regatta ever held in Australia with 350 Optimist sailors taking part. The Mornington Yacht Club should be proud of their achievements for organising such an event and doing it so well. Every aspect of their organisation ran smoothly right down to ensuring the ice machine and drinks fridge were topped up everyday to accommodate all the children and families attending the event.
The Queenslanders did their state proud by sending 25 sailors to the event from Southport Yacht Club, Royal Queensland Yacht Club, Maroochy Sailing Club and the Whitsunday Sailing Club. The week started with Teams Racing on the Saturday and Queensland entered 3 teams. With winds of 20 knots and with temperatures more like the winter season, the best of the three teams, the “Queensland Kiwis” consisting of Justin Wise, Hamish Swain, Josh Van Roon, and Aiden Gummow, won 3 races before being knocked out in the 4th race. A great result considering they had no experience of teams racing. Well done boys!!!
The Fleet racing week began with extreme and changeable weather conditions ranging from too much wind to being becalmed, extreme cold to extreme hot but our 25 sailors still managed to finish the event with excellent results. In the green fleet we took out the 4 top places achieving a 1st by Charlie Piacun, 2nd Ned Overell, 3rd Cameron Bradburn, and 4thJack Wallace. The Intermediate and Open fleets both had 9 qualifying races before being split into smaller groups. In the Intermediate Fleet 2 Queenslanders, both competing in their first nationals, qualified for the Gold Fleet and went on to not only win a first and second position in their gold fleet but to finish overall with a 1st to Hamish Thorne and 2nd , to Tom Wright . The Open fleet had 3 Queenslanders qualify for the Gold Fleet, 6 in the Silver and 5 in the Bronze. All our sailors showed so much promise with 3 being invited to join the AOST (the Australian Optimist Sailing Team) to attend international regattas throughout the year. A special congratulations must go to Josh Van Roon who, in his 1st ever Nationals, came 15th in the Gold Fleet. Congratulations also to Justin Wise 25th, and Hamish Swain 30th . All 3 won positions in the top 25.
So much effort was put into making this a successful event for our Queenslanders and didn’t they all look smart – I personally heard someone say “look at the Queenslanders I wish we had outfits like that”. Thank you to Kylie Wharington for organizing all the tshirts, caps, shorts and jackets. It did bring us all together as a team. A special thanks should also go to the sponsors Red Devil Radiators, Wild Thing Yachting, Opti Parts, Seabreeze Industries, Vacuum Handling Systems, Value Comm, Custom Truck Bodies and Parts and Yachting Queensland.
Also a huge thank you to the coaches because without them our kids would not have the support and feed back that they so need when they have a bad result and even when they have a good result – they look up to you and your critic. I am sure they all improved immensely from you being there. So thank you to Dave Pullen, Grant Wharington, Brady Lowe and Susannah Pyatt.
And lastly a thank you must also go to the Qioda committee for pulling it all together. I am sure it was a mammoth task.
But without the children it would never happen, so thanks kids for coming and participating in the 2014 Optimist Nationals -
Charlie Piacun, Ned Overell, William Overell, Cameron Bradburn, Jack Wallace, Justin Wise, Josh Van Roon, Lewis Van Roon, Hamish Swain, Aiden Gummow, Ty Gummow, Jasmine Tickle, Zachary Edwards, Taylor Rogers, Ash Swaddling, Sophie Bates, Max Bates, Matthew Dickinson, Max Quan, Blake Wilson, Riley Cameron, Adelaide Pullen, Georgia Wharington, Tom Wright.