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Displaying items by tag: UK Nationals

The penultimate day of the Volvo Musto Optimist Nationals provided plenty of thrills, and that wasn't just restricted to the water!! Ireland's sailors fought hard to stay in contention, with Peter McCann retaining sixth place in the senior gold fleet and Daire Cournane staying in the medals in the junior gold fleet, in third place going into the last day.

Double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton and top 470 crew Saskia Clark were out on the water today, handing out tips and passing on some of their vast experience to the Optimist sailors. The 497 competitors and their families were also treated to a breathtaking display of BMX skills from Team Extreme as reward for another great day of racing. 

Thursday 29th of July which was the fourth day of racing, began with broken cloud and winds of around 12-13 knots, and after one general recall the first of two scheduled races for the Senior gold fleet got underway.  

Once again it was young Spanish sailor Silvia Mas Depares who lead the way at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, winning both races. Callum Airlie is in prime position to become the top placed British entry and successfully defend his British National Championship title, finishing a close second in both races, with his nearest rival 13 year old Arran Holman securing a fourth and an eighth. 

15 year old Callum, who sails at East Lothian Yacht Club, which is a Volvo RYA Champion Club in recognition for its work in developing junior and youth racing, commented “The conditions today were a bit lighter than I would have liked, but I knew what to expect and I gave it my best shot.” 

This will be Callum’s final Optimist event before moving on to the 420 double handed dinghy with his brother Drew, and he has mixed feelings about leaving the Optimist class behind. " I don't know really how to feel, I suppose I am relieved to have done so well in my last event, but I have been sailing an Oppie for so long it's like it's an end of an era.” Callum went on to say, “Overall though it's good to be starting the 420 and I am really looking forward to the next big event, the 420 nationals. The Optimist class has been such a great experience for me, sailing is really the best sport and I doubt you can find a better feeling then when you are sailing well."
Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

Royal Cork sailor Peter McCann had a tough day in the Gold Fleet of the UK Optimist Nationals yesterday, along with many of the top ten who posted results in the low teens, twenties and beyond in Weymouth.

The black flag was on display, and with the winds hovering around 14 knots, McCann posted a 20th and 24th, while the leader, Spaniard Silvia Mas Despares notched up two race wins.

McCann remains in seventh overall, the first of nine Irish boats in the 82-boat gold fleet.

Results are HERE for the gold fleet. 

In the junior fleet, Daire Cournane is in third overall, with a 25-point cushion over the fourth place boat, and goes into the final stages with improving his standing on the podium on his mind.

Junior gold results are HERE, with results for all fleets HERE.

The near perfect conditions held up throughout the third day of racing on the 28th July at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, as the 49th Volvo Musto Optimist British National and Open Championships moved into the final straight. With the final races to take place on Friday, and only two scheduled for the penultimate day, the front runners of the Senior fleet made their moves ahead of what should prove to be an exciting conclusion to the regatta.

Glorious sunshine and an almost cloudless blue sky greeted the competitors, with the fleets launching in winds of around 12 knots. The breeze picked up to 15 knots  as the senior fleet prepared at the start of the first race, with the British contingent battling it out with some excellent young sailors from overseas. American Jack Toland won the opening race, while Silvia Mas Depares from Spain continued her excellent performances, winning the second and third race. 13 year old Matthew Whitfield from Cardiff Bay Yacht Club  was the only sailor from these shores who posted a top three place in today’s races. 

Harry Gozzett whose 14 and from Dabchicks Sailing Club is also still in contention after consistent performances this week, he said the visiting competitors have added to the standard to the regatta. “I really like the conditions out here, 15 knots is near perfect for me and I really enjoyed it, the international competitors are great to race against. I was at the Europeans and this is almost the same as there are so many good sailors who I sailed against there who have turned up here. “ 

Defending British National  Champion Callum Airlie posted a fourth in the opening race which has secured his place as the leader going into tomorrow. Silvia Mas Depares is first on the leader board, and is edging her way to securing the Open Championship crown, which is for the highest placed overseas competitor.

Today’s forecast is for slightly lighter winds and overcast conditions, which should add to the challenge for these young sailors here at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy.


Published in Youth Sailing

Cork Sailor Peter McCann lies fourth in the 164-boat senior fleet at the UK Optimist nationals as the championships enters its third day. McCann has posted two wins in the group stages, and his success is mirrored in the junior fleet, where clubmate Daire Cournane is also in fourth place overall in a 154-boat fleet.

The sun may have been absent yesterday, but there was still plenty of great racing at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. The morning breeze of eight knots increased to around 12 knots by midday, meant each fleet managed once again to complete the six scheduled races in the cloudy conditions. 488 Optimist sailors took the water on the second day of the championship, across the six different fleets.

Aside from the racing, there was the added excitement for the Optimist sailors and their parents, as throughout the day BBC news crews were filming at the Sailing Academy as part of their build up to the 2012 London Olympics. The Optimists are sailing on the same waters where the best sailors and windsurfers in the world will compete for Olympic medals in two years time. 

In the senior fleets, 13 year old Arran Holman who won the opening race of the championships on Monday 26th July, continued with a solid performance winning his first race of the second day. Arran is the reigning Volvo Musto Optimist Inlands champion after winning at Grafham Water back in May.

14 year old Harry Gozzett also secured a first place as did Spanish sailors, Silvia Mas Depares and Franc Bru, Ireland’s Peter McCann, Fraser Woodley, and defending champion Callum Airlie.

At the end of day two Arran Holman leads, Silvia Mas Depares by a single point, with defending champion Callum Airlie in third. 

The results are available on the event website HERE, where the event is also being live-blogged.

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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