Storms for start of Optimist Worlds finals
Published on July 13th, 2019
English Harbour, Antigua (July 13, 2019) – Heavy squalls, a fleet recall, and dive-bombing seagulls combined to create a dramatic day on the water for the 2019 Optimist World Championship.
Winds reached up to 26 knots and rain pelted down during the first day of the finals, which now has the 255 sailors divided into gold, silver, bronze, and emerald fleets. But when the conditions got extreme, the 63 boats in the emerald fleet were pulled back to shore during their second race.
“It was not an easy day and visibility was not good,” said course rep Luis Ormaechea. “All four fleets completed the first race but by the second race it became very difficult to control so many boats.
“I decided to send the emerald fleet ashore to make things easier as they have less sailing experience. Recalling a fleet doesn’t happen very often but it does from time to time; safety is the most important matter.”
Today was the start of three scheduled days of finals with sailors now in the separate fleets according to their performance during qualifying rounds earlier in the schedule.
After the qualifying stage of the Optimist World Championship on July 8-10, the fleet racing took a pause as the Optimist Team Racing World Championship was held July 11-12. The fleet racing championship resumed on July 13-15 with scores from the qualifying round being carried forward to determine the final results.
The 2019 Optimist World Championship has attracted 255 sailors aged 11 to 15 years from 65 nations, beating the previous record of 62 nations set at the 2017 Optimist Worlds in Thailand. Racing is scheduled on July 8-15.
Source: Gemma Handy