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Durcan Leads Irish Challenge as UK Optimists Reach Half Way Stage

5th August 2014
Durcan Leads Irish Challenge as UK Optimists Reach Half Way Stage

#optimist – Royal Cork's Harry Durcan leads the Irish charge in 22nd place at the halfway mark of a massive 173–boat Optimist British & Open National Championships.

There were strong winds with gusts up to 23 knots created challenging condition for Optimist sailors today off Weymouth.

A grey, overcast morning gave way to sunshine in the afternoon along with a minor decrease in wind strength, however despite a slightly calmer afternoon, day three of racing proved to be the toughest yet for all fleets.

It was a great day for the Senior Fleet (Main), all of whom were challenged by big swells in Weymouth Bay. There was one general recall across three races and overall slow progress to the windward mark due to the choppy waves, however once the sailors rounded the top mark they took off on the reach and flew downwind very quickly. The leaders were the more experienced sailors in the fleet, and they managed to put a good distance between themselves and the rest of the pack.

While the international competition is doing very well, Vita Heathcote, 13 (Royal Lymington Yacht Club) who had a strong day, is sitting in third place and is the top British sailor sailor in the Senior Fleet. Also in the top ten are Arthur Fry, 13 (Royal Lymington Yacht Club) and Hatty Morsley, 15 (Port Dinorwic Sailing Club).

Arthur described the day, "It was pretty windy out in the bay and quite shifty, but it was a great day sailing and I'm pretty pleased to have moved into 8th overall."

Hattie continued, "The strong winds today made it very hard work, but it was also rewarding and there is good competition in the fleet. I managed to get my tactics right and finished with a 5, 15 and 10."

The Junior Fleet (Main) had similar conditions with slightly less chop inside the harbor. They completed three good races with no general recalls. The first race proved to be the toughest with the most wind, favoring the heavier sailors. Between 10 to 12 boats retired from the first race, however there were no major incidents aside from a few capsizes.

A British sailor has moved into first place for the first time in this event in the main – fleet, Alexandra Schonrock, 12 (Parkstone Yacht Club) leads before both the Senior and Junior fleets split into gold and silver tomorrow.

Regatta Fleet racing was especially challenging for the young sailors. The race committee managed two races in the morning and three in the afternoon. The first race of the day took a toll on the fleet and there were a number of capsizes and non-finishers. Slightly less wind in the afternoon meant more sailors were able to get around the course.

The Regatta Coached Fleet had two races in top end of conditions. There was determination among the regatta fleet sailors to get around the course and finish and everyone came back to shore with accomplished smiles on their faces.

The forecast for tomorrow is for lighter winds, between 11 to 13 knots with racing scheduled to resume tomorrow [Wednesday 6 August] at 11.00 AM.

For full results and more information, here

Published in Optimist Team

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