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Displaying items by tag: Optimist

It all came down to the eleventh and final race of the Australian Optimist National Opens 2020 in Melbourne, with a total fleet of 255 boats from eight nations racing. Howth Yacht Club's Rocco Wright was overnight leader by just one point from the USA’s Samara Walsh, and in today’s first of two races he consolidated this with a third, with Walshe in fourth. But French star Zou Schemmel had got himself back in contention with a win, while the hopes of Australia were raised by 12-year-old Joel Beashel of Sydney back in the frame with a second.

At the start of the final race, things looked very good for the Irish and French campaigns, as Wright and Schemmel got clear away in the lead, and thus were able to take the usually favoured right hand on the first beat. But conditions were becoming increasingly volatile, and boats on the left began to show ahead, with completely new names emerging at the head of the fleet. In the end, the winner of the final joust was New Zealand’s Joe Leith, whose best placing until then had been a fourth. As it was, even with this final win, he still placed back in 12th overall.

Meanwhile the top contenders saw their final complete re-shuffling get Beashel a sixth in this last race. But as Wright was out of it with 37th while Walshe was 13th and Schemmel 25th, Beashel emerged as winner with Wright second by just one point, and in turn one point ahead of Walshe with Australia’s Matty Goss fourth and France's Schemmel fifth.

Results here

This notable placing by Rocco Wright (who won two major regattas in Sydney in December) continues a remarkable period for the Irish Optimist Dinghy Class, as James Dwyer Matthews of Royal Cork won the British Spring Opens 2019, the British Opens 2019, and the 185-boat 11 nations Irish Opens 2019, while Rocco Wright took tenth in the Worlds 2019, second in the North Americans 2019, and now second in the Australians 2020.

Published in Optimist
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Rocco Wright of Howth Yacht Club holds a one-point lead facing into the final day (January 9th) of the 255-boat Australian International Optimist Championship 2020 at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in Melbourne on Port Philip Bay, with the complex championship continuing its full programme despite some experience of poor air quality ashore and afloat from the bush fire conditions continuing in nearby parts of the region.

Although the 13-year-old Howth sailor’s combined overall scoreline in the Gold Fleet after today (Wednesday’s) racing reads as 1,1,7,1,1,6,1,14, and 6, the final two days fleet lineup has seen the American sailor Samara Walshe making a challenge which has displaced Wright’s earlier closest contenders of France’s Zou Schemmel (now back in 9th) and Australia’s Joel Beashel (currently in 12th).

Current results here 

Published in Optimist
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Howth Yacht Club Optimist dinghy siblings Sienna and Rocco Wright have struck again Down Under!

This time the pair won their respective divisions in Sydney's Optimist Regatta with an extraordinary string of first places in each of their divisions over the past three days. Results here

As Afloat reported earlier this month, Optimist ace Rocco won the 2019 Sail Sydney Optimist Open Championships on December 14.

Next stop is the Australian National Championships which begins on Jan 2nd. 

In what is turning into epic sailing trip for the Wrights, the children's father Darren is the skipper of the Howth Yacht Club entry in the Sydney Hobart offshore Race that starts this St. Stephen's Day. More on that here.

Published in Howth YC
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Optimist ace Rocco Wright of Howth Yacht Club has won the 2019 Sail Sydney Optimist Open Championships this weekend, just ten days before his father starts the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

It completes a remarkable season for the youngster, back in July Wright took 10th overall in the Worlds, and then in October, he notched second overall in the North Americans, giving him Ireland’s best international performance in 2019 and an Afloat Sailor of the Month award to boot! 

It's not the only Wright Optimist win of the weekend either, with Rocco's sister Sienna claiming the intermediate prize in Sydney.

WM Nixon writes about Rocco's father and the upcoming Howth Yacht Club Sydney Hobart Race challenge here

Sail Sydney results here

Published in Optimist
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Last weekend 22 young Optimist sailors participated in IODAI’s newly formed Development Squad hosted by Malahide Yacht Club. The first in a series of training weekends and under the supervision of head coach Adam D'Arcy and his team, the young sailors were put through their paces on Saturday morning in wind of around 15 kts, before being split into groups for the afternoon session.

Sunday morning dawned foggy and without a breath of wind, the team undertook theory and physical training session as they awaited suitable wind to fill-in. Then in the afternoon as the breeze increased the fleet managed to complete 3 races.

“This is a great initiative by IODAI to encourage and train younger sailors during the winter months. We at MYC were honoured to host the first part of the training programme and look forward to welcoming all back in the near future” says Paddy Ryan, Optimist Class Captain, Malahide Yacht Club.

If you have a young optimist sailor who would like to participate in IODAI training programmes then Baltimore during the February half term is your next opportunity.

Published in Optimist
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To capture the enthusiasm and momentum of the growing Optimist dinghy fleet, IODAI (Irish Optimist Dinghy Association) has launched a new training initiative for junior fleet sailors, known as the “Junior development Squad”.

Tim Lucas, President of IODAI says “Our focus is the development of optimist sailing in all clubs throughout Ireland and we wanted to develop the sailing skills of the new juniors within our fleet. This “JDS” - Junior Development Squad is a training initiative designed for the younger less experienced sailors in the fleet, ideally, those sailors under 12 who wish to improve their skills sets, over the winter period”

This personalised training schedule will take place over a period of two weekends cumulating with participation at our very successful Baltimore training week.

This programme is due to start the 5th November 2019, so those interested in participating in this “IODAI Development Squad for 2020” can find more details here

The annual Baltimore Week is open to all sailors in February 2020 during the mid-term from 16-21 Feb 2020.

Published in Optimist
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JP Curtin leads the Optimist dinghy Cobbler League Main Fleet after nine races sailed at Royal Cork Yacht Club writes Bob Bateman.

Second is Crosshaven sailor Harry Moynan with Tralee Bay Sailing Club's Riona McMorrow Moriarty in third place in the 20-boat main fleet. 

Full results are here. Photo gallery below.

Optimist Cobbler RCYC1Optimist Cobbler RCYC1Optimist Cobbler RCYC1Optimist Cobbler RCYC1Optimist Cobbler RCYC1Optimist Cobbler RCYC1Optimist Cobbler RCYC1Optimist Cobbler RCYC1Optimist Cobbler RCYC1

Published in Cork Harbour
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When young James Dwyer Matthews of Royal Cork and Kinsale returned in early August from England with the 2019 British Optimist title added to his already impressive trophy list, it was in the knowledge that the up-coming Irish Nationals at Howth had attracted a fleet of 185 boats from 11 nations, with a notably strong American squad in the midst of it. Thus an almost unfair amount of expectation was resting on his 15-year-old shoulders in his final season as an Optimist sailor, and for much of the series, it was the extremely competent American helm Freddie Parkin who remained persistently if narrowly in the lead. But when the last day proved to be El Bruto with some very grown-up weather, Matthews was the man for it. Having taken a useful third in the penultimate race while Parkin was fourth, the chance was there, and Matthews took it, returning a convincing win while Parkin had to make it a discard with a tenth, leaving Matthews a clear winner with 15 points to Parkin’s 21, while 14-year-old Luke Turvey of the host club was third with 28, having taken second in that final bloodbath.

Published in Kinsale

The weather gods conspired against sailors on the final day of the 2019 Optimist Nationals At Howth YC.

The senior fleet were sent out first this morning on their own in a strong breeze, to race and to test the conditions for the younger fleets. This turned out be an inspired call by the race committee as the wind immediately started to build. The seniors then enjoyed a race in exhilarating conditions with capsizes and nosedives aplenty. The cream always rises to the top, and James Dwyer Matthews of RCYC / KYC finished the event in fine style with another bullet. However conditions were deteriorating with gusts in excess of 30 knots, and the decision was rightly taken to bring sailors ashore.

With the help of this final race win, James Dwyer Matthews emerged as the winner of both the Irish Nationals and Open titles, with Freddie Parkin of USA in second overall. They were followed by Luke Turvey, Rocco Wright and Johnny Flynn - all of HYC.

James dwyerJames Dwyer Matthews of RCYC / KYC receives his ISA Gold Medal from Colin Kavanagh of the ISA. James also won the UK Nationals overall in Weymouth last month

With no change in the Juniors, the event was won by Nathan Pine of Team USA. William Walsh of HYC / TBSC / MYC was the deserving winner of the Junior Irish Nationals crown from Des Turvey and Cillian Twomey, both from the host club.

William WalshWilliam Walsh of HYC / TBSC / MYC receives his Junior Nationals Trophy from Tim Lucas, President of IODAI

The coached Regatta Fleet was won by Conor Cronin from Malahide.

Optimist closing Ceremony HYCClosing ceremony of the Irish Optimist Nationals

A very well attended closing ceremony and prize-giving followed that was enjoyed by all. The host club Howth YC under the leadership of the main event organiser Darren Wright, and aided by a 70+ strong team of volunteers ran a superb event, with the bar raised significantly for RCYC who will host the event as part of their 300 years anniversary celebrations next year. 

Full results here

Published in Howth YC
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Saturday brought a change of fortune for sailors at the Optimist National Championships at Howth Yacht Club with champagne sailing conditions that overflowed a little for some.

The seniors were the main action of the day. They got four races in to make up for the challenges of the previous day. Freddie Parkin from Team USA is leading the field after eight races into the last day, with James Dwyer Matthews from RCYC hot on his heels and leading the Irish Nationals. The locals though have not given up the fight with Luke Turvey, Rocco Wright and Johnny Flynn - all of HYC still in contention. Sam Ledoux from Dun Laoghaire who was well in contention, suffered a broken rudder which hurt his chances - however, a 2nd discard which will happen after the next race could bring him back into the mix.

The Juniors only got two races in, as the building wind that gusted in excess of 25/26 knots was too much for some of these younger and lighter sailors. The decision was taken to send them home after two exhilarating races, but at that stage, there were probably too many boats ending up upside down. Nathan Pine from the USA is leading out the Juniors with USA & GBR sailors filling the first 4 places. William Walsh from the host club (and TBSC / MYC) is leading the Irish challenge and the Junior Nationals with a highly credible 5th position in a strong international field. He is followed in the Irish Nationals by Des Turvey and Cillian Twomey, both also of HYC and with a lot to do if they are to take the national title.

In the Regatta Fleet, Conor Cronin from Malahide leads going into the finals day, followed by Benjamin Barry of RCYC. However again the locals have not given up the chase again here, with Keelan Darby from Howth YC pushing them all the way.

Racing concludes on Sunday. Results are here

Published in Optimist
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