Rogers shows support
Nick spent some time with the young sailors, giving them advice, encouragement and sailing tips on the water. Later in the day on shore Nick presented the winners Tarra Gill-Taylor, aged 14 from Spinnaker Yacht Club in Hampshire and Tom Reid, aged nine, from the Royal Lymington Yacht Club with their trophies.
“350 junior sailors turned up for a fantastic weekend sailing at Rutland, again showing the strength of the Volvo Musto sponsored Optimist class. The prize giving by Great Britain’s Double Olympic silver medallist thrilled the children and Nick made their day by handing out the prizes,” commented Ravi Gill–Taylor, International Optimist Class Association (IOCA) Chairman.
The Volvo Musto Optimist regattas are made up of a series of three events throughout the year consisting of the Inlands, the Nationals and finally the End of Seasons. The End of Seasons was a two day event, which covered five to eight races, and was held at Rutland Water over 11-12 October. The 350 young sailors were split into two categories: The ‘Main fleet’, consisting of the older more experienced sailors aged 10-15years and the ‘Regatta fleet’, for those new to racing aged 8-11years.
These three events combined make up the selection process for the IOCA national, intermediate and development squads. The training over the winter 2008-2009 will lead to sailors being selected to represent Great Britain at major international events in 2009.
“So after all their hard effort this weekend, the kids are going to find out which squad they have been selected for, and some could then go on to represent Great Britain around the World at various events. It is great to be here today, to see the kids dealing with the pressure of competitive racing,” said Rogers.
On Saturday, the weather was perfect for the first day of racing, with sunny blue skies and a light ten knot breeze. The racing got underway at 11am, with a total of six races. Sunday commenced with a misty start, but once the haze had cleared the wind filled in midmorning to allow the Main fleet to achieve five races and the Regatta fleet to achieve eight races overall. The young sailors’ skills were tested in the lighter winds - similar to the conditions Nick had experienced at the Beijing Games this summer.
Tarra Gill-Taylor from Spinnaker Yacht Club in Hampshire made an impressive first win at a major event, and was thrilled at the news he had won; “I have just won the Volvo Musto Optimist End of Seasons, and I am really pleased. The races this weekend were really hard, I was nervous throughout the weekend. The conditions were tricky because the wind was quite shifty. It’s the first event I have ever won so I am really, really happy to have won," 14 year old Gill-Taylor commented.
Melissa Hamilton aged 14 from Burghfield sailing club in Berkshire, achieved second place overall and was the first girl amongst the male dominated fleet. In third place was Josh Sparks from the Royal Lymington Yacht Club in Hampshire; he was one of the younger sailors, aged only 12 years. He displayed impressive skills and tactics to beat off older and more experienced sailors, showing his natural ability.
Tom Reid, aged only nine years old, from the Royal Lymington Yacht Club made a comeback from third place after day one of racing with a great performance on day two which meant he won the Regatta Fleet overall. One of the only Scottish sailors, Jamie Calder did exceptionally well in the lighter winds, with a first place ranking after day one of racing and a second place victory overall.
1-Tarra Gill-Taylor, Series points 11
2-Melissa Hamilton, Series points 14
3-Josh Sparks, Series points 17
1-Tom Reid, Series points 20
2-Jamie Calder, Series points 28
3-Alex Smallwood, Series points 34