The 2019 CYC Optimist Open saw almost 50 young sailors descend on the harbour to test their skills.
18 competitors in main fleet braved the strong, gusty northerly wind for the Rooster Optimist Southern Traveller Series Open Meeting.
Race Officer Derek Jackman set a trapezoid course, for the Main Open Fleet, which gave the opportunity for some exciting downwind sailing but was hard work up the beats for all the sailors.
Sam Watson from Emsworth Slipper SC showed his mastery of the conditions by winning all three races but his brother Luke chased him hard all the way finishing second overall.
Hazel Jones of Hayling Island SC and Edith Ingram of Dell Quay SC also sailed well with Edith just taking second place in the last race to take third overall with Hazel fourth on discard.
Lower down the fleet Florence Ingram also DQSC and Lucy Owen of Chichester YC showed a steady improvement in spite of the increasingly windy conditions finishing 12th and 14th overall. Ethan Hill was first CYC boat in 7th place with Effie Grant two points behind in 9th.
For the less experienced sailors, the Rooster Regatta Fleet Series event provided opportunities for the 30 competitors to develop their racing skills. The wind strength was a real challenge for them with winds up to 25 knots but they coped with the conditions with great courage and tenacity. The wind was strong enough for some exciting planing on three downwind legs of the course.
In the first race, Tom Saunders from Warsash SC led the first lap but his clubmate, Tom Peace recovered from 7th, after a poor start to take the lead in the second lap.
There was quite a battle for the lead during the third lap between Ella Cumming also from Warsash, Tom Peace and Finnlea Leigh-Anderson from Christchurch SC. Those three continued in tight competition on the final lap with Tom Peace winning, Ella second and Finnlea third at the end.
After a break ashore, to allow a severe squall to pass through and giving the sailors time for lunch, the second race started with Joe Armstrong Roland of Royal Southern YC showing very quickly out of the start and maintaining superior boat speed, on all legs of the course, to build a substantial lead through the first two laps.
However, a period of very strong wind found him in difficulties on the third beat and Tom Peace came through to win again. There was considerable place changing in this race, with Barney Bromilow from Parkstone YC coming through to second, after his fourth in the first race, followed by Tom Saunders at the finish.
Overall, Tom Peace won with Barney Bromilow second and Tom Saunders third. The tie on points between Saunders and Leigh-Anderson was settled by the results in the last race. Jake Teece of the home club, CYC, sailed consistently well to finish fourth.
Commenting on the event Stewart Grant, CYC Optimist Captain said, “We were all very impressed with the resilience of the fleet in challenging conditions and the healthy level of competition. They certainly deserved the mountain of cakes and goodies they demolished at the sailors tea.”
Race Report Provided by Nick and Biddy Colebourn
Photographs courtesy of Brian Ayton (many more photos available here)