2014 Volvo Gill Optimist British National and Open Championships, Weymouth National Sailing Centre

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August 2014

This was my first National sailing event, in my Optimist dinghy called Zig. In sailing there are loads of racing events but a National Championship is the biggest event. Children from 17 other countries, including Australia and Brazil also took part.

There were 457 entries split into five fleets. In my fleet there were 80 boats so it was busy on the start line! The Championships took place over 5 days with one day off and 4 or 5 races each day in some very windy conditions. Each day there was a briefing with the race officers so everyone knew what was going on, which sounds dull but they made it real fun with daily prizes.

To begin with I found it a bit challenging getting used to so many boats on the start line but soon found my way. Making sure my boat was really well prepared to make it as fast as possible was important, even polishing the bottom!

I got good starts and then kept finding myself mid fleet, so I was lying 40th overall going into the last day’s racing which was OK but not my target. On the last day I managed to get some really good results and my first win at a National Championship – a really great feeling (must do that again!). So 5 good results catapulted me up the finish list, to end 20th overall, which was my target.

I also met and chatted with sailing legend Sir Ben Ainslie who’s won 5 Olympic medals, (the last one at Weymouth in 2012) and he started sailing in the same boat as me!

So it was all really good fun, I made lots of new friends and had a good result………great week.

More sailing happening over the winter now with lots more racing, training and fun!

By Cameron Yates

Year 6