A total of 48 boats made the trip to the South Australian country town of Wallaroo in late April to compete in the State Optimist Championships, which turned out to be a great weekend of racing and fun for everyone, albeit with some challenging winds.
The boats were evenly spread across three fleets – Open, Intermediate and Green – with each of the three groups showing close and competitive racing, as well as solid improvement throughout the weekend.
The fleets on display represented the core values of the Optimist class in South Australia, with a strong focus on participation and ongoing development with several of the sailors making jumps up to the next level throughout the season.
This regatta also capped off a busy season for the class in South Australia, which included several coaching clinics at various clubs around the state as well as a good number of regattas such as the South Australian Youth Tri Series before Christmas, the National Championships at the Largs Bay Sailing Club in January and the South Australian Youth Championships, also at Largs, in March.
“We are very pleased as an association for the support the Wallaroo Sailing Club gave us for this event, as well as the support the sailing families gave back to the club for their Saturday night dinner with a record number of meals served,” SA Optimist President Anthony Roe said.
“Overall it was a very successful regatta and pre-regatta coaching clinic – there was great improvements and fun had by all sailors and congratulations to all the trophy winners.
“Thanks to all parents who made the effort to get their sailors to these two events, we would also really like to thank all our parents and club volunteers, the sponsors including our major sponsor Musto for making this event possible and Down Under Sail for great photos and daily reports as well the Live Facebook feed of Race 6 of the Open Fleet, a first for our class.”
Quinn Auricht, of the Brighton and Seacliff Yacht Club, was both consistent and dominant throughout the entire season this year and followed his form through to Wallaroo to claim the overall state championship.
After four wins from the seven races of the regatta, Quinn finished five points ahead of Ben Hinks, Adelaide Sailing Club, in second, and 12 points ahead of Alexi Wigglesworth, Brighton and Seacliff, in third.
Myles Wilson of Adelaide and Jonas Barrett of Brighton and Seacliff both sailed well as well and rounded out the top five.
Ruby Pike of Brighton and Seacliff finished as the overall first girl in the Open Fleet, which caps off a great season for her as well.
Myles Wilson also finished as first under 12, Carter Baker of Largs Bay was the first under 11 and Austin Higgins of Brighton and Seacliff was the first under 10 in the Open Fleet.
In what has been a growing Intermediate Fleet throughout the season, Connor O’Brien from Adelaide Sailing Club continued his form from previous events this year and took out the overall state championship.
Connor sailed consistently to finish in the top four in all but one race and take out the title eight points ahead of Finlay Bunt from Largs Bay in second and nine points ahead of Albert Howard from the Goolwa Aquatic Club in third.
There were some really solid improvers in the Intermediate Fleet throughout the season and the weekend such as Murphy Cowen from Largs Bay, who only recently came up from Green Fleet and finished fourth, and Angus McDonald from Adelaide, who had one of his best regattas for the year.
Scott Horn from the Port Vincent Sailing Club sailed really well and took out the Display of Resilience award for the Intermediate Fleet, while Ava Wilson from Adelaide was the first girl overall.
Charlie Piro of Brighton and Seacliff not only finished fifth overall in the Intermediate Fleet but he also won best overall sportsmanship for the entire regatta, taking home a brand new Optimist sail, thanks to Doyle Sails.
A dominant display from Fraser Baker, Largs Bay Sailing Club, saw him clinch the overall Green Fleet championship by a considerable margin at Wallaroo, finishing seven points clear of his closest competitor.
He finished ahead of Zane Chaplin, also from Largs Bay, in second and Matt Bigham from Adelaide in third.
The Green Fleet displayed a lot of improvement throughout the weekend and even though it was extremely challenging and shifty conditions close to shore, the sailors navigated their way through the course well.
Lani Pearson of Largs Bay took out the Display of Resilience award for the Green Fleet as she never gave up right throughout the weekend, while Kelly Steel of Goolwa finished fifth overall and was the first girl.
The coaching was fantastic and well supported for this fleet with all sailors taking home a prize as well, reaffirming the focus of participation and improvement.
Pre-regatta coaching clinic
“A great three-day clinic was held by the association prior to the regatta with 25 sailors participating in the clinic,” Anthony Roe said.
“The green fleet was the biggest fleet of sailors and coach Alex Zimmermann, with support from Matt Meany and Joal Mackenzie, provided an excellent framework for these sailors to learn some solid fundamentals and have a great time over the three days.
“Thanks again to Wallaroo Sailing Club for their support during the training regatta.”
The full photo gallery will be uploaded to the Down Under Sail Flickr Page soon.
If you wish to purchase photos, digital images are $20 each, however all photos of a particular sailor can be purchased for just $50.
Contact Harry Fisher for more information or to place an order – via email at [email protected]
The next event on the SA Optimist calendar is the annual Frostbite Regatta, which will be hosted by the Goolwa Aquatic Club on the state’s south coast.
There are already a total of 62 entries for the event with about 15 of those already booked in to come from interstate.
Also there are several planned coaching clinics to support new and established sailors this season, in addition to regular local club training, stay tuned to the association Facebook page and website for more info.
For more information, head to the CLASS WEBSITE HERE.