Since 1 January we have been full on, racing in both Australia and Spain!
During the Australian Optimist Nationals and Torrevieja Trophy we've had the privileged of coaching some awesome sailors from across New Zealand, Finland and Latvia.
This year we had a team of 8 sailors at the Australian Optimist Nationals, held out of the Largs Bay Sailing Club in Adelaide. I would go so far to say that this was the most competitive national championships we've ever had "Down-Under" and being there with a talented group of Kiwis and Finns was wicked. The competitive nature of the fleet saw only 9 Australian sailors finish in the top 20 overall, highlighting the world class calibre of the fleet. Without question all our Zealous sailors learnt some important lessons throughout the week and came away only richer from the challenging experience. What is awesome to see is that those sailors have gone on later this month to finish 1st, 5th, 6th, 8th & 11th at the NZIODA Auckland Championships, one of New Zealand most important ranking regattas. Congratulations!
After the Australian Nationals it was back to Europe, delivering the boats from Finland to Spain to compete in the Torrevieja Trophy. Sponsored car, trailer and rib from our home yacht club in Finland, Brändö Seglare made it all possible. We're super lucky to have their support and generosity - thank you.
The drive took the best part of 4 days, covering a few thousand kilometres. Arriving at the Real Club Nautico Torrevieja, we set up camp and enjoyed a three day clinic, followed by a practise race and three days of competition. This was the 10th year the regatta had been running, with the largest entry list yet of 387 competitors. Whilst the condition during the regatta were frustrating and difficult (second day blown out and the third day consisting of an abandoned race) the organisers did their best to offer a fair and world class regatta. For many of our team it was their first time back on the water since October! So to get back out on the ocean and race against some of the best Optimist sailors in the world was simply fantastic and provided them with the perfect start rolling into Spring.
Next week we'll pick up the boats from Barcelona and head up the coast to Palamos where another fantastic Spanish event awaits us. We have a team of 10 sailors from Finland and Latvia and we're certainly looking forward to carrying on our preparation for the Spring season up North.
Lastly, many thanks to Ben Mellin, Chris Auricht, Stephen Menzies, Amy and Kane Mulcahy, Johanna Danielsson and Erna Gronow for their generous help and support over the past month. Without them these events would not have been possible.