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International competition for NSC Junior

by Unknown - 14:20 on 30 April 2013

Nairn Sailing Club’s Calum Cook, 11, returned to Italy recently to compete in the 31st Annual International Optimist Regatta on Lake Garda. The event smashed its own Guinness World Record for the largest single class sailing regatta in the world, with an entry of  1126 children aged 8-15 from 30 nations competing in their small single handed dinghies. Conditions were very cold with snow at times, but the view of the vertical cliffs rising up from the icy lake to blue sky and snow covered mountains above was unforgettable. Nothing deterred the young sailors from around the world, who enjoyed a very exciting regatta as well as the fantastic atmosphere that characterize this astonishing event. Huge fleets of more than 200 boats battled it out on each start line, and racing was tight and tactical around the course, with boats finishing within seconds of each other after hours of racing. After 3 days of sailing, including one when the rain poured without stop, the boats were split according to their results into 5 fleets and Calum was delighted to rank in the top 20 % and qualify for a place in the Gold Fleet. He moved up a little further in the very competitive Gold Fleet Final Series and finished 168th, and 9th highest GBR sailor. This was an unprecedented achievement for Calum and he is thankful to Nairn Sports Council for their support which enabled him to take part in an International Training Camp for 3 days prior, sailing with 30 children from 8 nations.
“I had a really fantastic time at Garda again, racing and having lots of adventures. I improved a lot this winter with the RYA Scottish Development Team training but I couldn’t believe how well it went at Garda, especially because I have moved up into the Juniores category in Italy which is for 12-15 year olds, and it included a lot of the top Optimist sailors in the world. In my best race I was 15th boat around the windward mark-  it’s so exciting to get that close to the front of a huge fleet, and then hold that position all the way to the finish!”
Calum also competed in the Opti Springs Regatta in the Netherlands on the way home, where the flat coastal landscape provided very different challenges to the notorious wind conditions of the steep sided Lake Garda- more good learning experience.
Calum was selected at the end of 2012 for the RYA Scottish Optimist Development Team, based on his ranking in the top 6 in Scotland.

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