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A Thai Overall Champion at 2020 Optimist Europeans, Portorož, Slovenia

by International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA) 24 Oct 2020 21:54 BST 18-25 October 2020

When we sailed out earlier today, we had no idea this is going to be the last racing day of our European Championship. But due to the Covid-19 development in Slovenia and the Coastal region just being red-listed, this type of sports events are being cancelled and we had to comply. After eight races sailed in both fleets we have new European Champions - Rebecca Geiger in girls' and Adriano Cardi Quan in boys' fleet. The best nation is Italy. And the Overall Title went to Weka Bhanubandh from Thailand, Royal Varuna Yacht Club.

Although we all hoped to bring this championship all the way to its official end tomorrow, we already had more than enough races completed to be valid. Today's racing course in Piran bay was foggy and not too windy, yet two races for both gold and silver fleets were sailed. Unfortunately the wind died completely before the bronze boys' start.

Alen Kustic, IODA PRO: "We've done racing for 4 groups; for both boys' fleets we had to shorten the course at the gate, because the wind was really marginal there. Later we changed the course for the girls, so their races took around 50 minutes. The wind changed direction and we had to make further course changes for both silver fleets, which both finished at the gates. The boys' bronze fleet haven't started. The wind was marginal, tricky, maybe up to six knots at times, but mainly dropping to four and even to three knots. At the end it collapsed so we couldn't proceed.

Big congratulations to all the winners and big compliments to all the sailors for showing their great sailing skills, mature behaviour and also for complying with all the Covid-19 regulations and protocols.

Adriano Cardi Quan: "This week was really difficult, but I could finish in the top 4 in the first days and so I could win in the gold fleet. First three days in Portorož were really difficult, especially the last of them, because the wind was really light and I'm heavy weight and I wasn't really fast. My next goal is to win worlds next year on Lake Garda, and my goal in general in sailing and have fun."

Rebecca Geiger: "It's was a difficult week for the tactics. In the qualifies series I had really good results and in the gold fleet I won the only race. Every day the wind was light, I'm comfortable in these conditions and I'm happy for the result. It's a class with a lot of young sailors, there is a lot of competition and it's really hard to win."

Unfortunately, again to comply with the protocols, we had to skip the prize-giving ceremony, and settle for the declaration of results. The winning young sailors were called separately, one by one, to pick their prizes. We believe their victories are sweet nevertheless.

Mitja Margon, Pirat Sailing Club President: "We finished our championship on the penultimate day. It's unexpected, but we have to be more than happy that we've come so far. Considering all the circumstances I can say we did and unbelievable job, and thanks to all the club members, friends and all involved we've put in an tremendous effort to bring this championship to this day. The ones who thought tomorrow they'll have another chance to better their results - they will have it next year, hopefully without masks, social distance and in old reality we all prefer. We believe that the trust IODA put in us with this championship was worth it, and we'll be ready for another bid in a couple of years time for another championship here in Portorož, Slovenia.

Carmen Casco, VP Europe, IODA: "I'm quite emotional right now, but on the other hand I must say I never really believed we'll get so far, so I'm very happy that we came almost to the end. Tomorrow there would be just two races left, we have a valid championship, the only valid championship this year for IODA. I'm very happy to see how these young sailors are trying to comply with all these Covid regulations, because our regattas are normally big parties, and we had to miss all that here. I'm really happy how everyone, also the coaches and the team leaders, respected the protocols, wearing masks, keeping distances. And I just keep repeating: what Mitja and his team from Pirat Sailing Club did, was amazing. They did a wonderful, great job, I did not hear one complain, I just hear everyone talking so nicely about Mitja and the whole team. It's already difficult to organize such an event in four months, but on top they had to deal with this Covid situation. And what the Ministry of Health decided - we can't do anything about that. We're just so happy to come so far."

Pirat Sailing Club took all the measures and followed all the protocols to comply with the Covid-19 safety regulations. The club's venue was closed and operated as some sort of a 'bubble' where only the sailors and their accredited coaches and team leaders were allowed to enter. They all, as well as all the members of the organization and IODA were wearing masks at all times, the social distancing was respected, the hands were desinfected, as well as other public surfaces, all days, every day. We believe everyone felt safe.

Susan Elliot Beatty, Regatta Secretary, IODA: "We have created a small bubble here, we'were very conscious about all protocols and everyone is being very respectful. We felt very safe here, as safe as possible in this situation."

Big thanks again to everyone involved and kind regards from Portorož, from the the European Championships that we will all, for sure, remember. Safe travels and happy sailing!

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