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Galway Bay Sailing Club to Welcome 150 Boats for Optimist Connacht Championships

29th June 2022
The Irish Optimist fleet is heading to Galway Bay for its Connacht Championships on July 9 and 10
The Irish Optimist fleet is heading to Galway Bay for its Connacht Championships on July 9 and 10 Credit: Bob Bateman

9th and 10th of July will see one of the largest competitive fleets seen in Galway Bay for many years take to the water for the Connacht Optimist Championships which is being hosted by Galway Bay Sailing Club.

Up to 150 boats from all corners of Ireland are expected to descend to allow the nation’s young sailors to battle it out in seven different fleets.

The competition will cater for a huge range of ages and abilities. There will be a senior fleet for the older children while the younger children in the junior fleet will have a shorter course to negotiate for each race. There will also be a coached Regatta fleet in the more sheltered waters closer to shore for those still learning their trade and working their way up to the main competitive races. Both the senior and junior fleets are separated into gold, silver and bronze groupings, ensuring a broad spectrum of participation and meaningful races across a range of abilities.

The main fleet race area is likely to be west of the Marine Institute and south of Ballyloughane strand near Renmore.

Competitors in these fleets will be under the watchful eye of Race Officer John Leech.

The Regatta fleet will race inside Rinville point, where Margot Cronin will be in charge of proceedings. An event of this size requires a huge volunteer effort. The competitors are grateful to all the volunteers who will be contributing time, effort and boats to ensuring their safety both on and off the water, with Safety Officer John Collins co-ordinating operations. All the sailing clubs around Galway Bay have come together to ensure such a worthwhile event can be hosted in the Bay.

The Optimist class originated in the 1940s and is now sailed in over 120 countries across the world. It is by far the most popular class of sailing boats for children aged between eight and thirteen. Despite its somewhat dumpy look, it has proven itself as an excellent boat for generations of children to learn the nuances of competitive racing. Most of Ireland’s sailing Olympians, including Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy, learned their trade in the Optimist class.

Published in Optimist, Galway Harbour
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