Good weekend for Sparks

Grafham Water hosts Volvo Musto Optimist end of season championship

Tuesday October 18th 2005, Author: Jo Grindley, Location: United Kingdom
It was all to play for at this year’s Volvo Musto Optimist End of Season Championships both the organisers and competitors were feeling nervous. 236 boats were competing at the event, including a strong international contingent adding to the interest this year: a seven strong team from Norway were racing, five Belgian sailors and three Irish entries.

In recent years the wind has been so light for at least two of the three national ranking Optimist events, that the full series has been decided on a less than desirable number of races. This year the precaution had been taken of booking a “reserve” fourth weekend in case conditions did not oblige. In the event however the full six races were sailed, the season drew to a close to the satisfaction of most interested parties, and the sailors who made it into winter training squads, based on their rankings, have been tested across a range of conditions.

The forecast was moderate wind for Saturday and light airs on Sunday, prompting PRO David Campbell-James to run 3 races in what ended up being a gusty 10 knot breeze. Making the call early on the start line to bang right or left and sail to the shifts gave some sailors an advantage with Phil Sparks counting 6 points, Aaron Smith 7, Lucy de Boltz 10, and James Grant 19 at the end of day one.

After a night of heavy rain the Sunday morning looked like a washout but the breeze kicked in late morning and 3 back to back races were completed to give a badly needed discard for some and unwanted points for others.

Ultimately Phil Sparks sailed on to victory and counted 1st, 2nd, 1st, 2nd and 2nd places to end up with 8 points after the discard, a result that moved him into first place in the squad selection rankings. Aaron Smith took second place on 15 points then James Grant 20, Lucy de Boltz 22, Sam Vandormael of Belgium 27 and Matthew Rainback 28 (points).

The regatta fleet also sailed six races with new up and coming sailors Callum Lambourn, Laura Vandeloock and Harry Gozzett finishing in 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Overall Results:
Main fleet:
1st Phil Sparks (Royal Lymington SC)
2nd Aaron Smith (Papercourt SC)
3rd James Grant (Restronguet SC)
4th Lucy de Boltz (Corinthian Otters SC)
5th Sam Vandormael (VVWGALG, Belgium)
6th Matthew Rainback (Poole SC).

Regatta fleet:
1st Callum Lambourn, (Swarkstone SC),
2nd Laura Vandeloock (RBSC),
3rd Harry Gozzett (Dabchicks SC)

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