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23 August 2012
Update from the Junior Dinghy Racers

Calum Cook and Amy Cook took part in the Optimist UK Nationals at Pwllheli Sailing Club in North Wales last week. Calum was competing in the 12 and under Junior Main Fleet which had 171 sailors from UK, Ireland, France, Holland, Hong Kong, USA, and India. After 6 qualifying races, Calum finished just 2 points away from qualifying for the Gold Fleet, but he was still very pleased to place 2nd in the Silver Fleet after some tough races, and second Scot overall in the Juniors. The racing conditions were difficult and with a strong wind forecast for the latter half of the week, the organisers were keen to get the results in...on Tuesday, the sailors were on the water from 11am til 8:30 pm - 9 1/2 hours straight in their dinghies... but, much to the surprise of the banks of anxious parents waiting to help their exhausted offspring up the beach, the kids came in grinning and delighted to have had such an epic day on the water, with some thrilling sailing in the building SW swell. With parties, BBQs, hog roasts, go carting and sailing - all in all, it was quite a week.

Amy entered the Nationals too by participating in the Mini Racer program for 8-9 year old novices. With a mixture of games, singing (Wales afterall), and a bit of racing in the shelter of the bay, Amy enjoyed the week, making friends and improving her confidence on the water. The event runs with an army of friendly teenage coaches on hand to help the younger kids, so it was a great start for her. She finished 10th out of 24 sailors in her group.

Calum and Amy were then joined at Loch Venacher by Henry Kerr and Matt Scott for the RYA Volvo Championship Club Trophy. Calum successfully defended his title from last year and won all his races, but with the other North Squad sailors close behind. Henry sailed very competitively to finish 2nd, and Matt and Claire Holliday from Chanonry tied on points for 3rd with Claire just pipping Matt to the trophy. Amy entered the novice race and came home with her first Optimist medal, for 3rd place.

It was noted at the VCC prize giving that the North Squad sailors dominated in the Optimist Class, taking 1st, 2nd, 3rd AND 4th place - and 1, 2 and 4 all coming from Nairn SC! This well attended event is restricted to Non Scottish Squad Sailors, but it is a good indicator for up and coming talent from all across Scotland. This represents a very big achievement for the North Squad, which is the newest and smallest of the 3 Regional Optimist Squads, and particularly for Nairn SC Junior Dinghies. Thanks go to head coach Paul Bartlett up in Wick for his great work with the North Squad Oppies over the last 2 years, James Logan for his summer coaching, Paul Chaplin and all the club members who have helped the juniors along the way, and to Nairn Sports Council for their assistance. NEXT YEAR we need a Feva team and at least one Topper, as well as our Optimist stars...it would be awesome to pick up the team prize at the Volvo Club Champion Regatta...can Nairn SC do it? It's got to be worth a try! A large team from the Clyde Cruising Club Dinghy Section took the honours this time.

NSC is stacking up the talent pool with this year's enthusiastic new racers, and we really want to keep building on these successes. The next UK Optimist Nationals are coming to Scotland next year - at the end of July 2013 - so we have a new goal to help as many of our under 15 year old Oppy sailors get to this event as possible. The emphasis is on participation and fun at whatever level you have achieved, with 3 coached fleets as well as the competitive junior and senior main fleets....a great way to get out on the water and to meet like minded young sailors from around the world. Stay tuned...

Meanwhile, There are 3 events left in the Scottish racing year: Prestwick Sept 1-2, Loch Tummel Sept 15-16 and then the Zone Champs at Helensburgh Sept 29-30.... Anyone interested or needing more info pls contact Christine on 456788 or email spreiter@mac.com. These events will be similar to the Moray Firth Regatta, with training at the Regatta Fleet level. Please let us know asap if you are thinking of going to any of these, so we can offer some race training between now and then.

Christine Spreiter
Nairn Junior Dinghies

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