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Optimist North East Area Championships at Kielder Water Sailing Club

by Michelle Russell on 19 Jul 2014 12-13 July 2014
Optimist North East Area Championships at Kielder © KWSC

Kielder Water Sailing Club hosted the first ever Area Championships in the North East on 12/13 July 2014.

Eight races took place for the main fleet over the two days in very light shifting winds on a trapezoid course. At the end of the first day Luke Stewart, Kielder Water SC was in first place with Ben Russell, also from Kielder, one point behind in second. On the second day in even lighter winds Luke Stewart retained his first position.

However Ben dropped down to third place owing to Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club's Oscar Shilling becoming inspired having been beaten twice by his eight year old brother Seb on the previous day! All the sailors had been in the RYA North Zone Optimist squad and did incredibly well in the light conditions.

Meanwhile the regatta fleet, under the instruction of coach Pete Clayton, completed five races over the two days using the same trapezoid course on the inner loop. Three of the sailors had completed winter training with the North East Optimist Development Squad this year. They took the first three places; first Izzy Blake, Derwent Reservoir SC, second, Liam Boyce, Scaling Dam SC and third George Stewart, Kielder Water SC.

Three sailors from Kielder Water SC had only just learnt to sail this spring. Fin Wilkinson and Abi Cowley completed all the races finishing an impressive fourth and fifth respectively, whilst Victoria Connolly could only sail on the Sunday and came third in one of her races! Jonathan Dodd, who normally prefers windsurfing, was the only sailor to beat the overall winner, Izzy Blake from Derwent, with a first place in one of the races.

On Saturday evening there was a barbeque enjoyed by all, especially as the midgies stayed away! The sailors relaxed by making the current craze of loom band bracelets.

The championship was a great success and hopefully inspired the next generation of Optimist sailors in the region. One visiting parent said "KWSC ran a very impressive area championship with great race management and a brilliant atmosphere."

Thank you to all at KWSC who made this possible including Race Officer, Rob Shaw and Assistant Race Officer (also barbeque chef!) Ernie Bennett, who did a great job managing the thirteen races. They were aided by the safety boat crews who spent most of the two days moving the large orange marks with the shifting winds.

Julie Stewart and Alison Dodd in the galley provided delicious hot meals and breakfast on both days.

Hopefully this is the first of many successful North East Optimist Area Championships across the region where more sailors will enjoy racing each year.

Main Fleet Results:

1. Luke Stewart, KWSC
2. Oscar Shilling, DRSC
3. Ben Russell, KWSC
4. Harry Myers, DRSC
5. Seb Shilling, DRSC
6. Archie Dodd, KWSC
7. Patrick Beukenholdt, SDSC
8. Oliver Lovell, DRSC

Regatta Fleet Results:

1. Izzy Blake, DRSC
2. Liam Boyce, SDSC
3. George Stewart, KWSC
4. Fin Wilkinson, KWSC
5. Abi Cowley, KWSC
6. Jonathan Dodd, KWSC
7. Victoria Connolly, KWSC

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