Aidan Simmons of the Indented Head Yacht Club was crowned the Victorian Optimist State Champion earlier this month, after holding off 30 other competitors in the open fleet at the Victorian Optimist States hosted by Royal Yacht Club of Victoria.

He finished with an impressive score card, never falling outside the top three and also winning four of the eight races, to finish nine points ahead of Ben Crafoord in second, who made the trip from the Middle Harbour Yacht Club in Sydney, and Hanako Tomishima in third, who also traveled from Sydney representing the Woollahra Sailing Club.

Aidan Simmons leading the fleet during the 2021 Victorian Optimist States. Photos: Damian Paull

The first placed female was Heidi Bates from the Middle Harbour Yacht Club who finished ninth overall in the competitive field.

First overall in the intermediate fleet was Holly Cantwell from the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club who won five of the eight intermediate races to come away with a commanding victory.

She finished ahead of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s Ruby Pilkington in second and Sandringham Yacht Club’s Augustas Buividas in third.

In the green fleet it was a podium made up of sailors all from the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club with Edward Williamson finishing first, Sadie Cunningham in second and Tate Cantwell in third.

Principal Race Officer Steve Aulich said the weekend was a great success with competitive racing on the water and the off-water side of the event well hosted by the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria.

“We had an excellent weekend, Royals provided a very friendly atmosphere and was very welcoming and accommodating to everyone,” he said.

“We had a strong team of volunteers in conditions that were quite trying with light winds across most of the weekend, but we got our racing in all bar one of the races.”

Steve said it was an incredible effort from the volunteer team to set the courses and deliver the racing for the sailors, while also navigating challenges such as shipping channels, all of which gave the fleet plenty of new experiences.

He also said the off-water atmosphere at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria was excellent and the club had done a great job reinvigorating the lawned area with new seating and also live music after racing.

Royal Yacht Club of Victoria General Manager Michael Neumann said the club was thrilled to be hosting more major off-the-beach events as it continues to grow its OTB event capability off the back of the Optimist Nationals a couple summers ago.

“The club is really well positioned to host events like the Optimist States and we’ve been doing plenty of work behind the scenes building the infrastructure and the capability to run large scale OTB events,” he said.

“We love hosting events up at our end of the bay and inviting sailors from right across the state, as well as interstate, in Williamstown.

“It was a pleasure to have the Optimists here with us and we look forward to having them back again in the future.”

The event was sponsored by Cygnett, which provided some fantastic prizes for the sailors, including a laptop cover and power bank for each sailor upon entry, as well as other prizes including wireless selfie sticks, smart LED globes, wireless charging mats and iPhone charging cables.

Full results and further information from the weekend’s racing can be found via