Squadron sailors shine at NSW Optimist Championship

The 2014 International Optimist NSW Championship was held last weekend at Georges River 16' Skiff Sailing Club with almost 150 boats racing across Open, Intermediate  and Green Fleet divisions. 8 members of the Squadron's Optimist Sailing program competed over 2 days against sailors from clubs across NSW and the ACT as well as from Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

Great conditions and good racing at a terrific dinghy venue made for plenty of fun and smiling faces across the fleet and a chance for the Squadron's sailors to sail against and meet sailors from other clubs.

The Optimist Association ran a fantastic event with Open and Intermediate Fleet racing on the main race area in Botany Bay and the Green Fleet enjoying "stadium racing" just off the beach at Dolls Point giving parents and supporters a great view of sailors enjoying their first regatta experience.

In Green Fleet, which is the first / introductory regatta level, Phoebe Thackray, Vaughan O'Shea and Anna Tyquin all sailed well representing the Squadron and while in Green Fleet there are no formal results or trophies, each sailor in Green Fleet received a medal at the prize giving and showed great promise. To cap it off Anna and Phoebe both won prizes in the lucky dip and look forward to cashing in their vouchers at NB Sailsports for some new "go fast" gear for their boats soon (and their parents saving some $$$s too)!

The Intermediate fleet for the next level of sailors looking to develop their racing had 5 Squadron sailors, Henry Davison, Maddie O'Shea, Riley Evans, Gretel Payne and Carl Hansen. With 58 entries and long course racing over 8 races, it was a big programme but supported by coach Mike Leigh each sailor performed well with all team members recording at least 1 top 10 race finish and the highlight being Henry Davison's 3rd place overall and win in race 1. Congratulations Henry for your outstanding result.

Apart from the performances of our Green and Intermediate Fleet sailors, the camaraderie, team spirit and support for each other within the Squadron team was fantastic and no doubt was a massive factor in the fun that was had and enjoyment of each sailor.

With the Squadron Opti programme being in just its second season, there were no RSYS entries in Open fleet with the title being taken out by Flyn Twomey from MHYC just ahead of current national champion Otto Henry from Woollahra Sailing Club and Middle Harbour's Archie Cropley a close third. First girl was Isabelle Kenny all the way from South of Perth Yacht Club! Congratulations to Flyn on becoming the NSW Champion.

Congratulations to all the RSYS team and to the medal and trophy winners from all clubs.

All of the RSYS sailors who attended the States were very fortunate to have dual Olympian, Canadian Mike Leigh as their coach leading up to and at the regatta and have along with other RSYS Opti sailors been getting a huge amount out of the Friday afternoon sessions with about half the Green Fleet group making it to at least 1 friday session in recent weeks. With almost 10% of the combined Intermediate and Green Fleet entries at the States the RSYS Opti programme has a great platform for future - and the fun is guaranteed!

A big thank you goes out to the Opti Association, Andrew McLaughlin and the team at GRSC, RSYS - particularly coaches Josh Chant and Mike Leigh and lastly the parents and volunteers for a great event.

Mike Tyquin