We held the last of our River Hamble Optimist winter training on March 26th and 27th, and the weather certainly turned out to support us! Over the winter, the Optimist sailors in the River Hamble, and some friends from further afield have been joining forces to train once a month to improve their skills ready for the coming season. For the last session, we decided to run this as a coached racing weekend, the "Spring Cup", with guest coach local Tokyo Olympian Chris Grube sprinkling some Olympic stardust over the fleet.
It was an absolutely fantastic weekend to finish off the winter, obviously the sun always shines on the River Hamble, but our 30 Optimist sailors were truly treated to champagne conditions for two days of coached racing, under the watchful eye of our excellent race officer (and Sailing Secretary) James Ripley, who got an impressive 8 races in over the weekend with a surprisingly low number of general recalls!
We had a range of abilities, from those completing their first winter of training, who have made great steps forward with their sailing over the course of the winter, to those who have been selected to represent Great Britain. Whatever level, everyone enjoyed the sun and had a great weekend. The club laid on catering both days which allowed everyone to have a fun time both on and off the water with their friends, and there were plenty of Easter Eggs as prizes! Everyone is now looking forward to a great summer of sailing.
Although the focus of the event was on consolidating the skills learned over the winter, we did award a few prizes. The Sportsmanship award went to Rory Armstrong, the Endeavour award to Sam Wealthy and Most Improved to Darcy O’Donnell (posting an impressive 6th in the final race). At the sharp end of the fleet, the racing was won by Will Fletcher (fresh from his recent victory at the Optimist Spring Championship), with Hugo Fletcher 2nd and Joe Armstrong-Rowland 3rd. First girl was Daisy Fuller, closely followed by Isla Hutchinson and Ruby Coster.
Well done to four of our club Optimist sailors who qualified to represent GBR at the recent Spring Championships, with Sam Armstrong-Rowland, Alex Saunders and Hugo Fletcher being selected for the GBR Junior Team (to compete at the Irish Nationals) and Will Fletcher to represent GBR at the Nations Cup in Garda in April and also as part of the GBR team for the XXXIV Trofeo Marco Rizzotti team racing event in Venice in May.
Lots more of our River Hamble Optimist sailors will be competing at the Selection Trials at the end of April, and at various forthcoming Optimist events, so we wish them the best of luck and we’ll let you know how everyone gets on. Hopefully we’ll see everyone at the Hamble River SC Junior Warming Pan on April 9th too.
A big thank you to everyone at the club for helping us organise this winter. Thank you to Paul Ward for his support for the programme, James Ripley and Brian Akerman in the sailing office, the Bosuns (especially for their wizardry coaxing the Jaffa repeatedly back to life) and the Events and House team for welcoming us all into the club. I’d also like to thank all our fantastic coaches for your hard work over the winter - Jeremy Robinson, Ross Harvey, Chay Taylor, Alice Ryan, Emmy Walker, Dan Burns, James Hall and Will Bedford.