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Volvo Gill Optimist British National and Open Championships at the WPNSA - Overall

by Paula Irish on 7 Aug 29 July - 4 August 2017

The conclusion of a breezy week for the 2017 Volvo Gill Optimist British National and Open Championships saw Jamie Cook taking his third consecutive national championship title.

Cook, from Cardiff Bay YC, won the British junior national title in Pwllheli in 2015 and has now retained for a second year the senior national title he won in Largs in 2016.

More than 380 Optimist sailors from home and abroad competed at this year's British National and Open Championships at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.

Two days were lost to high winds but the remaining four days saw hugely competitive racing across the fleets, with the breeziest conditions at the start of the week giving way to still challenging but champagne sailing for the final two days. International race officer Peter Saxton ran a tight schedule, enabling the main fleets to complete up to 13 races in total, while an army of parent volunteers ran the event like clockwork both on and off the water.

In all there were 383 sailors representing 16 nations, with 91 sailors from abroad. Second overall in the Senior main fleet open championship was Duncan Gregor (HKG) with Thomas Kerrigan (USA) third. Second and third overall in the British national championship standings were Haydn Sewell (Royal Lymington) and William Pank (Norfolk Broads) with Emily Mueller (Royal Lymington) taking the girls' national title and 1st senior girl overall.

The silver division of the senior main fleet was won by Emilie Janzen (USA) with Maddie Leary (Mumbles) first for GBR.

The Junior main fleet win went to Freddie Parkin (USA) while the national title went to Freddie Howarth (Poole), with Jamie Wilkinson (Hayling Island) in second and Nick Evans (Blackwater) third. The girls' junior title and 1st junior girl overall went to Tasmyn Green (Llyn Brenig). First overall in the junior silver fleet was Sam Watson (Emsworth).

The Regatta Racing fleet title went to Johnny Sargent (Emsworth), the Regatta Coached fleet was won by Sophie Kennedy (Aberdeen & Stonehaven) and in the mini-racers, for those just starting out on their Optimist journey, the top prize went to Alexander Breese (Royal Lymington).

All the results can be found on the event website here:

The event coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Optimist dinghy and included a vibrant on-shore scene with daily music, prize givings and give-aways, parents' socials and sailor parties.

A huge thank you goes to headline sponsors Volvo and Gill, and to all the other sponsors who supported the championship: IBI Racing Dinghies, Noble Marine Insurance, Peter Newton Photography, Yachts & Yachting, Morson Group, Walker Sound, North Sails,, J Sail, Moatt Sails, Red Paddle Co, One Sails, Funky Starfish, Paragon Customer Communications, Jelly Belly, Hawk Marine Products, Summer House, Dream Cottages and Kaboodle Bag.

Spot prizes for the sailors included new sails, North Sails Rio Olympic Signed Prints, British Sailing Team gear, sail bags, and even a fully rigged Optimist dinghy thanks to Charles Ainsworth of IBI Racing Dinghies!

Other highlights included an anniversary Champion of Champions race bringing together past and present sailing stars, which like the main event will be memorable for years to come for its fun and friendship and fiercely competitive racing!

Follow all the latest news from the UK International Optimist Class Association on Facebook @iocauk and on Twitter @IOCAUK Want to know more about Optimist sailing? Visit

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