The Optimist’s had a busy week leading up to the First Queensland State Optimist Championships held at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron on the 2nd and 3rd July 2005. Coach Mick Ralph armed with a team of young and keen instructors started with “Optimist Opportunity Week” which provided valuable training to sailors before the big event. Despite an unreliable wind pattern and the copious amounts of rain, our young sailors were still eager to put there skills to the test with a little fun along the way. Our young sailors learnt just how far an Optimist can go with various water, weight and buoyancy tests. Weather went from one extreme to another with training starting in 0 knots right through to a squall of 30 – 35 knots, quite a bit for just a little boat. Entry’s were received from as far as Victoria and New South Wales to impress the importance this class will have in Queensland in years to come. Thankfully the heavens cleared in time for the State Championships… however so did the wind. Organisers managed to get five out of six races started despite a significant lack of wind. Well done to all sailors as you all did a magnificent job. Spectators held their breath with some brilliant racing right up until the last race. Special consideration goes out to Sean Ott who was leading the first day of racing. Congratulations goes to Erin Gallagher sailing “Take it as Won”, who took out the regatta with four 1st’s and one 5th. Erin has won a trip to New Zealand to compete in the 2006 NZIODA National Championships at Torbay Sailing Club, Waiake Beach, NZ. The prize includes airfares for herself and one parent to the venue along with Accommodation, Regatta Fee's and Boat Hire!!! Alan Harrison, the newly elected president of QIODA said that this prize embodies some of the key advantages of the Optimist Class including international travel. Special Thanks to all organizers who managed to get this great class into Queensland, in particular to Alan Harrison who is a huge supporter. Credit goes out to all parents for their willingness to support a new class. Last but not least to all Volunteers who made the event happen from Radio Control and Rescue boats to Starters. Optimists are sailed in over 110 countries with over 150 000 youth sailors competing worldwide. Over 60% of skippers and 70% of Olympic medal winners were former optimist sailors. Queensland has now changed these statistics and has become a supporting optimist society. With Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron hosting the 2006 National Championships the event is sure to create the exposure the class is successful in our state. For information regarding the Nationals log onto www.rqys.com.au or email Nev Willis at email@example.com.
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