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Optimist Easter Regatta at Riva del Garda, Italy

by Sue Hill on 24 Apr 2006 13-16 April 2006

A team of 23 GBR Optimist sailors made the journey to Italy this year to take part in the annual Easter Regatta at Riva del Garda.

After two days of training the regatta was started on Wednesday evening, with the parade of Optimist sailors carrying their national flags through the streets of Riva, led by traditional Italian Drummers. The 680 sailors from 22 different countries, including USA, Russia, Israel and Turkey were greeted in the main square by the Mayor of Riva del Garda.

The fleet was divided into Regatta fleets A & B (depending on age) and Main fleet C, with the Regatta fleets sailing close to Riva, whilst Main fleet C sailed further out under the towering cliffs of Lake Garda. Each of the 513 entries in the main fleet were allotted one of six flight colours.

The racing started on Thursday with bright sunshine, glorious blue skies and a cool breeze from the north. By the time the 1st round of races (3 races with 2 flights to each race) started though, the Ora had come in from the south with about 12-15 knots of wind. This decreased slightly for the second round of races and then increased again for the third round. All the GBR boats fared well in the shifty and choppy conditions and did well to finish all three races, with Ben Gratton getting a 2nd place in the 1st race and Ollie Porter a 5th place in the third race.

It was T-Shirt weather again on Friday. The boats set off at 11.00 with a dying wind from the north until the Ora came in on time from the south, with a vengeance. Suspicions were aroused when about 100 windsurfers appeared from nowhere with short boards and 5.3 rigs! The first race set off in 10-12 knots but with an oscillating breeze and a port end bias, starting was particularly difficult. Ben Gratton managed a 3rd place, having started at the port end. For the second race, the wind had increased to 20 knots and by the third race, 25 knots. Henry Lloyd Williams did well by coming 6th in the last race of the day.

Saturday started warm but cloudy. For the third day in a row, the Ora arrived in time for the race starts. Three sets of races were completed and although the wind did not reach the strength of yesterday’s conditions, the coaches reported oscillating winds, making the start and first beat very difficult. This led to varying results for the GBR fleet. Tarra Gill Taylor managed to get a 12th place in the 1st race of the day and Anna Burnet a 13th in the last race.

The final race day started very cloudy and dull. The fleet launched but the race was postponed waiting for the wind to fill in. By 13.30, the sun had appeared but unfortunately too late for the Ora to be influenced. The racing was finally cancelled and the boats were packed away in hot sunshine!

The prize giving was held at the Riva Del Garda Yacht Club and, although the British team were unsuccessful in getting into the top 30 prizes, they had more success in the spot prizes. With Henry Lloyd Williams winning a DVD player and Ben Gratton a bike! Other prizes included Olympic Sails, Guilletti Spars, Nautivela Foils.

This was a fantastic event, with some testing sailing, giving the GBR sailors invaluable experience of competing against some of the best sailors from Europe and beyond.

Overall Results:

1st Leonardo Dubbini Italy
2nd 2 Augusto Poropat Italy
3rd Mathias Svensen Denmark
4th Anne Marie Rindom Denmark

GBR Final Results (513 entries)

Ben Gratton 59
Olly Porter 66
Anna Burnet 69
Ben Harden 85
Tim Gratton 113
Tarra Gill Taylor 119
Henry Lloyd Williams 136
Charlie Esse 175
Brett Hill 209
Nathan Forrester 214
Liam Garrison 216
Lizzie Whitehouse 222
Dean Gillespie 250
Shona Ross 270
Ross Williams 337
Will Harris 342
Matt Thomas 344
James Logan 352
Charlotte Bonella 356
Harriet Black 399
Katherine Stanley Whyte 450

GBR Final Cadetti (Regatta) Fleet (160 entries)

Ross Stanley Whyte 123
Hannah Harden 149

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