A massive fleet of Optimists is getting set for one of the biggest winter regattas seen in South Australian history, as 71 entrants prepare for the Frostbite Optimist Regatta this weekend, which will be hosted by the Goolwa Aquatic Club.
Considering a fair chunk of the South Australian Open Fleet is away in Singapore for an international Optimist event, the strength in numbers can be attributed to the growth of the Green Fleet and the influx of interstate talent making the trip over from right across the country.
Of the 71 boats entered so far, 34 of them will be represented in the Green Fleet, which includes a huge number of new kids to the sport that have progressed from Tackers courses at various clubs around South Australia.
South Australian Optimist president Anthony Roe said it was really promising to see so much growth in the Green Fleet, which sets the class up for further strength in years to come.
As a new initiative for the class, the Green Fleet will take part in its first ever ‘Adventure Sail’ on the Sunday morning at Frostbite, which is where the kids go for a fun sail around the waters of Goolwa, following a map and completing challenges.
There is also a growing Intermediate Fleet in South Australia, which has seen a number of up-and-coming Green Fleet kids come up to join in.
Anthony said the natural progression within the class was working well and it was encouraging not only to see new Green Fleet sailors, but also to see sailors stepping up the ranks and working their way towards Open Fleet.
With 15 in the Intermediate Fleet, that leaves a total of 22 in Open Fleet, which will create a wide open battle at the top of the table with South Australians Ben Hinks, Carter Baker and Austin Higgins going toe-to-toe with some great interstate sailors.
Matty Goss from Victoria makes the trip over this year, who will be fast in the lighter winds and will look to match it with the top South Australians.
A total of 12 interstate boats are entered so far with two represented in the Green Fleet and 10 in the Open Fleet. Sailors are travelling from as far as Queensland and Tasmania, as well as from New South Wales and Victoria, which is promising for this grassroots South Australian event.
Above all else however, Anthony said the Frostbite Regatta was and always will be about having fun. He said there were no jury boats there and the sailors were encouraged to get on the water and enjoy themselves as well as have access to some quality coaching.
There are a number of great coaches getting involved with the SA Optimist fleet as well, all the way from Green Fleet through to the Open Fleet, which Anthony said was one of the main reasons why the sailors were improving each regatta and each season.
Binks Marine has come on board as the major sponsor for the event. Binks Marine is a local chandlery and watersports store based in Adelaide that has always made a big effort in supporting local sailing in South Australia.
For more information about Binks Marine, or to see their products, head to the website at binksmarine.com.au
The event will also play host to a few social events including a dinner at the Goolwa Aquatic Club on the Saturday night and a bacon and egg breakfast on the Sunday morning.
Full schedule below…