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Optimist Nationals at Largs Sailing Club Overall

by Jo Grindley 10 Aug 2001 21:05 BST


Old rivals met again in order to see who would walk away as this year's Volvo Musto Optimist National Champion. A 3-12 knot north westerly wind enabled two races to be sailed on this, the final day of racing at the 2001 Volvo Musto Optimist National Championships. Rolls of pressure moving down the course meant that the left hand was the least risky area for the competitors to be. Over 270 young sailors have been racing in Largs this week. However, seven of the Senior fleet were away competing in the Optimist European Championships in Spain, leaving the way open for new talent to come through.


Josh Metcalfe, Port Dinorwic, had a very disappointing day, having been at the top of the leader board for Senior Fleet for the entire week. A disappointing 7th in the last race, meant that he dropped a place in the overall standings to finish 2nd to rival Tom Mallindine by five points. "Rather than covering Tom on the second beat of the last race, I headed up the middle of the course. He finished first and I was 7th. I paid for my mistake and learnt from it," he said.

However, it was déja vu, in more ways than one, for Tom Mallindine (British Steel), last year's Optimist National Champion, as he started today's racing in the same position as in 2000 - 10 points behind the leader.

Concentration and determination paid off as he took victory for the second year. "I had a couple of good starts today. I kept to the left where I think there was more wind. I didn't like the conditions much - too shifty and not enough wind - I like a Force 4. However, I feel very relieved now and it's great to be Champion for another year."

Will Morgan (Restronguet SC) finished 3rd overall in the Senior Fleet. "I did enough today to get onto the podium. I was 10 points behind Robert Claridge this morning. I finished 10th last years so am really pleased to have done better this year. I think this is because I am better at upwind sailing - taking shifts and looking for gusts. I also have more confidence on the start line."

Maria Stanley (1st girl Senior Fleet - Bowmoor SC), "I was in 6th place going into today's racing. I finished 45th in Junior fleet in 2000 so this huge improvement. I knew that I was going to be top placed girl but beating a few of the boys today was my goal."


Young David de Boltz could smell victory yesterday and he wasn't going to let it allude him as he went into today's racing. David, (Corinthian Otters), enjoyed two more good results today and a 2nd and a 4th secured him first place. "I would have liked a bit more breeze. I was quite confident this morning that I could win - if we only sailed two races I couldn't be beaten but didn't know if there were going to be three. I would love to go to the Europeans as part of the British Optimist team and then I quite fancy the Olympics in the Laser!" he said.

Ben Saxton, Grafham Water SC, "Last year I finished 35th so to finish 2nd feels great. The reason for my success has been better starts and boat handling skills. I came here hoping to finish Top 5. I'd like to win this event next year. David de Boltz was more consistent with his finish positions and I know that I can do better if I don't take so many risks".

His twin brother Tim, finished in fifth place.

James Hopson, Gresford SC said, "Finishing third is my best result to date. My aim today was to beat Claire Lasco. I had to have a six point lead to get onto the podium and I did it. I liked the strength of wind and the waves made sailing good fun. My ambition is now to get into the National Fleet."

Claire Lasko, Bowmoor SC finished fourth overall in the Junior Fleet and so was top placed girl. "I did not have a good start to the week so I am very pleased that I've worked my way up the fleet and finished 4th."

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