Strong Brit team at Oppie Worlds

Regatta kicks off in Texas at the end of the week reports Jenny Campbell-James

Wednesday July 3rd 2002, Author: Jenny Campbell-James, Location: United States
The British team have arrived safely at the Optimist World Championships in Texas USA. Racing starts in three days time.

It looks like the weather will be windy - today they went out for 2 hours in a 20 knot thermal breeze. It seems to be lighter first thing but looks like it should be windy every day.

Representing Great Britain are:

Richard Mason (14) - who is looking in great form having comprehensively won the selection trials, the Inlands and various open meetings he has sailed in this year. Last year he represented us at the European Championships so he has experience of this sort of event. (Note that in the Optimist Class you cannot sail in both the Worlds and the Europeans - the only exception to this is the defeding European Champion)

Hannah Mills (14) - having not had a girl in the team since Nicky Barnes sailed in 1997 we are hoping for great things from Hannah. The girls compete in the same races as the boys, but they are generally not too many of them! Hannah, from Wales, also went to the Europeans last year.

Tim Saxton (12) - the youngest member of the team at 12 years who is attending his first major championships. A bright hope for the future but Tim might struggle if it blows 20 knots all week as he is a little chap. In the medium to light however winds Tim is dynamic. Tim's twin brother Ben is in representing GBR in the Optimist Europeans - what a duo!

Tom Mallindine (15) - the veteran of the team who is attending his 4th World Championships. Tom will be delighted to see the 20 knot winds and will take the event in his stride. If he has a good start Tom could do great things.

Andrew Conn (14) - having not attended many overseas regattas Andrew will have the adventure of a lifetime and it will be intersting to see how he copes with the pressures of this international event.

These five sailors were selected over two long weekends of racing in Portland Harbour in May.

The RYA have set a target of a top 25 place in this notoriously difficult championship where one minor mistake can cost you 30 or 40 places. They are being coached by the best - 49er Olympic sailor Chris Draper has flown out to join them in Texas fresh from his second place at the 49er Worlds a few days ago. Chris was won of a handful of top Optimist sailors who, in the past, succeeded in getting a top 20 result at the Optimist World Championships -

Previous British top results have been
Paul Campbell-James 8th in '97; Richard Pye 11th in '86; Jonathan Marshall 14th in '99; Chris Draper 16th in '93; Nick Rogers 17th in '92, Tim Rowe 17th in '82; Chris Draper 19th in '91 and David Lenz 20th in '90

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