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Optimist Midland Area Championship at South Staffordshire Sailing Club

by Jon Smith 8 Sep 18:04 BST 5 September 2020
Optimist Midland Area Championship at South Staffs © Debbie Smith

The Optimist Midland Area Championships were held at South Staffs Sailing Club on 5th September. This was the first open meeting since racing restarted at South Staffs and the first this year for the Optimist fleet in the Midlands.

The shifty and gusty conditions at South Staffs would test both the fitness and focus of the youngsters after six months away from school with very little competitive sailing. Following a video briefing on the Friday night, race officer Andy Hateley got things off to a prompt start on the Saturday morning.

The first race saw Tom Kelsall navigating expertly through the conditions to take the win with Sebastian Smith also putting in a great sail only to find he had been spotted over the line at the start by the race officer. With Judge Bill Bradburn and RYA Coach Steph Harding on the water observing, the competitors benefited from some rules advice between races to continue their development.

Race 2 saw Derin Can Soyer and Theo Smith extending a lead away from the pack. Tom Kelsall, having been over the line at the start, ducked back and then displayed great speed to catch up to 4th place by the finish.

The fleet returned to shore for a brief, socially distanced, packed lunch. Scores were incredibly close with everything to play for in the afternoon races.

The third race saw many of the eager fleet over the line triggering a general recall. Tom Kelsall led the race from the second start only to find the eagle eyed race officer had spotted him over the line again.

The final race saw the fleet staying in a close pack until a couple of wind shifts at the penultimate windward mark decided the finishing positions.

Congratulations to Derin Can Soyer who retained the Midland Area Champion title. Junior champion was Will Moss. "Rising Star" prizes were presented to Tristan Shaw and Sammy Clarke, the first two sailors who have not previously been members of RYA or Class Association training squads. The Endeavour Trophy was presented to one of the youngest sailors, William Shaw, who showed great determination when he capsized in the first race but bailed his boat out and carried on to finish the race.

The points overall were incredibly close - testament to how competitive the Optimist fleet in the Midlands are. It was great to also see many young sailors having a go in the challenging conditions making this one of the best turnouts for several years at an Optimist open meeting in the Midlands despite everything.

Thanks to all the volunteers at South Staffs Sailing Club, many of whom were not present on the day, who contributed to running safe and COVID-secure racing for the Midlands youngsters.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st6506Derin Can SoyerDraycote Water SC211-34
2nd6043Thomas KelsallStaunton Harold SC14(OCS)16
3rd6342William MossBarnt Green SC4-5228
4th6365Jack HidgkinsSouth Staffs SC-833612
5th6575Theo SmithSouth Staffs SC626-1114
6th5899Eddy ReidGlossop SC-984416
7th6442Ralph CawthorneShustoke SC368(RET)17
8th6020Oliver HateleySouth Staffs SC575-817
9th6206Dilara SoyerDraycote Water SC710-11522
10th6334Finley MossBarnt Green SC(RET)99725
11th6344Jacob BennettGlossop SC10117-1228
12th5221Isabella BarnesBanbury SC1113-161034
13th6441Kyle TimminsSouth Staffs SC13-15101437
14th5667Sebastian SmithGlossop SC(OCS)12121337
15th5722Will CowleyMidland SC15-1714938
16th5391Tristan ShawBanbury SC141413(DNS)41
17th6006Sammy ClarkeGlossop SC1216-191846
18th5611Tom CowleyMidland SC18-19171550
19th5483Oscar SmithSouth Staffs SC16-18181650
20th5584Harriet TempleSouth Staffs SC172015(DNS)52
21st4970William ShawBanbury SC19(DNS)201756
22nd5584Mia HateleySouth Staffs SC(RET)DNSDNSDNS75
22nd1Rebecca FarmerSouth Staffs SC(DNS)DNSDNSDNS75
22nd4783Sarah BarnesBanbury SC(DNS)RETDNSDNS75

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