NSW Sailors Dominate the 2016 Australian Optimist National Championship
by Melissa Williams-Brown
The 2016 Optimist National Championship was held at Georges River Sailing Club from January 2 - 9 and was sponsored by Steggles, NB Sailsports, Gill, Wild Oats, NSW Government, Sodium AV, OziOpti and GRSC. A huge thanks goes out to the event sponsors, volunteers and the Georges River Sailing Club for making this event happen! Although the championship ended just a week ago, it seems like only yesterday when the sailors, volunteers and race officals were putting on their happy faces and facing the horrid weather conditions on Botany Bay.
Teams racing was held on Saturday, January 2nd, and two teams from NSW won 1st and 2nd place. The winning teams were comprised of: Lachlan Brewer, Archie Cropley, Cole Tapper, Tom Green and Ryan Littlechild in team YST, who placed 1st in the teams racing event and Otto Henry, Jack Ferguson, Will Cooley and Finley Scade of team Chinese Whisper, placed 2nd. An invitation race was held on Sunday, January 3rd and served as a great practice run for all the sailors new to the area as well as the committee boats and volunteers out on the water. Will Cooley took 1st place in the Open fleet and Olivia Williams placed 1st in the Intermediate fleet. The Green fleet did not participate in this event as the winds were 15 knots (or more) that day.
NSW sailors represented well across all fleets as well as having the largest number of participants at the event. The sailors who finished up on the podium at the end of the week long championship are:
Otto Henry (1st), Ryan Littlechild (2nd) and Will Cooley (3rd) all of NSW
Aaron Teo (1st from WA), Nate Brown (2nd from NSW) and Jeremy Gray (3rd from VIC)
Amelia Evenden (1st from VIC), Oscar Verity (2nd from NSW) and Jarrod Jones (3rd from QLD)
Mina Ferguson (NSW) was the most improved sailor in the 2016 Optimist National Championship and Woollahra Sailing Club earned two trophies - the Bennet Family Club Participation trophy (there were 25 sailors from WSC) and the OziOpti Winning Club Championship trophy awarded to the club with the lowest net score on the top open fleet sailors.
The top five sailors that will participate in the 2016 Optimist World Championship in Portugal later this year are all from NSW! In addition to the top three open fleet sailors, Otto, Ryan and Will, Archie Cropley and Jack Ferguson will join the Worlds team and head off to Portugal in June.
Congratulations to all the sailors that participated in the National championship! It was a tough week out there and hopefully you are resting up and getting ready for our last Travlers Trophy regatta that will be held at Hunters Hill Sailing Club over the February 14th weekend and then our NSW State Championship to be held at SLMASC on March 19-20. Don't forget to book your hotel accommodation at the Bay Motel (a block of rooms has been set aside by SLMASC) for the NSW State Championship!
Photo Credit: Melissa Williams-Brown