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Top British sailor inspires at Optimist End of Season Championships - Mark Andrews, chatting with young sailors at the Volvo, Gill Optimist end of seasons 2014
Light winds made for challenging sailing at the Volvo Gill Optimist End of Season Championship this past weekend at Rutland Sailing Club. The event marked the end of the summer sailing season in the UK for one of the largest competitive classes in the world. Around 300 of the country’s top young sailors took part, including five members of the Great Britain Optimist Worlds Team who are heading to San Isidro, Argentina next week for the Optimist World Championships.

The main fleet as always showed the talent some of the best young sailors this country has to offer. Will Hall a GBR Optimist World team member proved his worth for the second year in a row and took home the trophy of End of Season Champion. Will commented; “I am really pleased to have held onto my title as End of Season Champion and hope to do well at the Optimist World Championships in Argentina next week with the other Team GBR sailors.”

Team Volvo’s top British sailor, Mark Andrews attended the event this year. He spoke to the young sailors both on and off the water giving advice on improving racing performance, and inspiring them with his tales of sailing with some of the best British sailors over the last ten years. Mark included amusing stories from when he acted as Sir Ben Ainslie’s training partner for London 2012 and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Race Officer Stuart Childerley commented on the challenging conditions of the event; "The sailors seemed to enjoy themselves and coped well with the fickle conditions over the weekend. We had to work hard to produce quality racing that was fair and fun. It's always very rewarding running the racing when there is so much support and enthusiasm from the sailors!"

The tricky conditions and unpredictable wind patterns on Rutland water makes these young sailors’ achievements even greater.

Main Fleet:
1st - Will Hall, Cardiff Bay Yacht Club
1st girl, (6th overall) - Julia Mellers
2nd - Kai Wolgram
3rd - Archie Leckie

Transition Fleet:
1st - Oliver Meadowcroft, Upper Thames Sailing Club
1st girl, (2nd overall) - Florence Brellisford
3rd - Terry Hacker

Regatta Fleet:
1st - Alexander Cogan Sivarajan, Clyde Cruising Club
1st girl, (2nd overall) - Carys Attwell – Rutland Sailing Club
3rd - Jamie Gatehouse

The Optimist class is one of the most popular starter boats and provides young sailors with the opportunity to learn and develop their sailing skills, helping them on their sailing journey. Seventy percent of sailors at the London 2012 Olympics started sailing in the Optimist class; including four time Olympic champion, Sir Ben Ainslie, so the chances are you will be seeing these sailors again in the future.

The Optimist End of Seasons is the final of the three main annual events that Volvo and Gill jointly sponsor and are looking forward to seeing how the sailors have developed at next year’s Inland Championship being held at Grafham Sailing Club in May.

Photo : Paul Wyeth
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