#OPPY – In these recessionary times, there is good news for the future of sailing among our youngest sailors, as the Irish Optimist fleet grows from strength to strength writes Joan O'Sullivan.
21 Optimist sailors, aged from 11 to 14, travelled to Palma, Mallorca at the end of November to compete in the 61st Trofeo Ciutat de Palma. The Irish contingent included Junior and Senior winners of the 2011 Irish National championship, Ewan Mc Mahon and Sean Donnelly; Winner of the 2011 Trials, Sophie Browne, and former Nationals winner Peter McCann.
An Optimist fleet of 391 boats, from 14 nations, completed nine races over the three day series. The competitors enjoyed some challenging sailing conditions with winds ranging from 10 to 20 knots and choppy seas.
This year's Irish competitors achieved record results, with Sophie Browne (TBSC/RCYC) picking up the girls top spot and 4th overall. Other top results were Peter McCann (RCYC) 15th, Sean Donnelly (NYC) 35th and Daniel Raymond (NYC) 49th, and 16 sailors in total finishing in the top half of the fleet, 3 race wins and 25 top ten results.
Sailors who competed were Megan Parker and Ben Walsh (SSC), Jil McGinley, Harry Durcan, Johnny Durcan, Harry Whitaker, Adam Darcy, Rebecca O'Shaughnessy, Douglas Elmes and Peter McCann from RCYC, Conor O'Beirne from RStGYC, Evie Byrne, Daniel Raymond and Sean Donnelly (NYC), Colin O'Sullivan (MYC), Eoghan O'Buachalla, Alacoque Daly and Sophie Browne (TBSC), Ronan Cournane and Cliodhna Ni Shuilleabhain (KYC) and Ewan McMahon (HYC).