Bright sunshine and a pleasant westerly breeze greeted the 130 young Optimist sailors to Burghfield Sailing Club for what must surely be the UK’s largest single class open meeting.
The excitement started just after the briefing as the media Sportography drone took to the sky above the balcony for an “all sailors shot”. The drone was later seen buzzing around the race course capturing the action.
The Regatta fleet of 38 included a mix of experience with a good collection of sailors enjoying their first competitive season. For a few, this would be their very first open meeting. Tabitha Davies started her dominating lead with wins in Race One and Two before being denied the next by Holly Fisher winning Race Three.
The local race team led by RO Douglas Calder made masterly and timely adjustments to the buoys maintaining a consistent course for the sailors to complete three full races in the morning.
After a well earned lunch, the sailors returned to the water and markedly different conditions. The skies had filled in and significant rain storms could be seen in the distance all around the lake, Zac Shepherd was undeterred winning Race Four.
The wind had now increased, the skies opened up and Tabitha Davies regained composure to take Race Five from local Burghfield brothers Ethan and Oscar Tatum. Tabitha came second in the last race to secure the overall win. Eliana Edwards won the final Race Six to take third overall with Holly Fisher posting solid results to end up second overall.
The sailors returned to shore, just in time to avoid the thunder and lightning storms building in the east. Fabulous sailing and the most exemplary attitude by all sailors in the fleet was enjoyed.
The main fleet was scheduled for 6 x 30 minute races. The 89 sailors raced in two flights using colour group rotation on Inner/Outer loop trapezoids courses, all threaded between Burghfield’s famous islands. Mathias Potter and Millie Irish both started well to take first line honours.
Race Two saw Molly Dowson McGill and Finian Morris over the line first and Race Three was won by Freddie Lonsdale and local Burghfield sailor Oliver Woodley. With the help of the Uniform flag disqualifying boats from a start that were over the line in the final minute, SRO Ian Bullock secured three good races ahead of the scheduled lunch break.
With more adverse weather on the forecast the opportunity was taken of continuing into the fourth race before lunch with sailors Ben Mueller and Sebastian Schonrock showing stamina, and possibly hunger to win and make it first into the lunch queue.
After the lunch break ashore Ben Mueller kept his form, this time along with Toby Schonrock to take the bullets in race 5. The weather had now changed with showers and end to end double rainbows providing a distraction to the sailors and opportunities to the media.
Race Six introduced a significant wind shift and deliberations from the race management. Experience and consistency brought another Race win for Mathias Potter which secured the overall title. Kuba Staite also took another win to secure third overall while solid consistency from Ella Lance gave her second overall.
Finally, all sailors were treated to a fabulous spread of creamy cakes for tea, along with handout prizes from the sponsor Rooster.