Rocco Wright Wins Junior Fleet at UK Optimist Championship
More than 370 young sailors representing over a dozen countries descended on Plas Heli, Pwllheli, for the 2018 Volvo Gill Optimist British National and Open Championships.
The event officially launched with a colourful parade of sailors and international flags, followed by an opening ceremony serenaded by a Welsh male voice choir. The occasion also included a Welsh poem read and translated by Welsh sailors Tasmyn Green and Callum Davidson-Guild to welcome the fleet and set the scene for the week.
The first day of racing saw PRO Ian Bullock and his team working hard to get a race away for the 154-strong main fleet, only to be thwarted by massive shifts in the sunny but fickle conditions, which saw a number of starts and two races abandoned. The 120-boat junior main fleet was likewise on the water but unable to get any racing.
The racing regatta fleet of 56 sailors and 41-boat coached regatta fleet had more luck, with up and coming Optimist sailors able to hone their skills on smaller courses closer to shore.
In total there are 371 sailors competing, including around 100 young helms from 13 different nations who have joined GBR’s Optimist sailors to compete for the open title, attracted by the world class junior racing offered by the British National Championship.
Overseas competitors include large teams from Ireland and the USA; a number of sailors from Bermuda, Spain, Hong Kong, the Cayman Islands and Australia; plus entrants from Holland, France, Belgium, South Africa, St Lucia and the Virgin Islands.
In the 120-boat Junior main fleet, Ireland’s Rocco Wright powered by his R-2 Radial North Sails managed to overtake USA’s Aston Smith for the open title during the gold fleet series, with Ben O’Shaughnessy (IRL) third. Way to go Rocco!
Another special mention goes to the young Spanish sailor Ona García Parés who finished second placed female in the Junior fleet, also using the R-2 sail.