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John Merricks Sailing Trust Optimist won at 2007 Volvo Musto Optimist National Championships

Monday, 20 August 2007


Earlier this year the UK International Optimist Class Association (IOCA (UK)) announced that it had linked up with the John Merricks Sailing Trust as its official charity, and as part of the link up the Trust further announced that it would donate a brand new Optimist to be won by a sailor competing at the 2007 Optimist National Championships in Weymouth.

The Championships took place in Weymouth at rhe end of July, and IOCA (UK) and the Trust are very pleased to reveal that the winner is Callum Airlie (12) from St Mary’s Loch Sailing Club in Scotland.

At the beginning of the Championship, David Campbell-James, President of the Optimist Class in the UK, announced that the boat would be won by the highest placed junior British sailor sailing a boat which was more than five years old. The competition was always going to be extremely hot amongst many of the junior sailors in contention for the boat, whilst also racing for the overall title of British Junior National Champion. Over the twelve race series the leading sailors in contention swapped places several times, and each new race result bought sailors and parents to scrutineer the results. It wasn’t until the last day and the last two races that Callum Airlie made it his, scoring a 12th against his nearest rival’s 23rd in race 11, to seal his win.

Ben Cooper, IOCA (UK) Class Chairman, waited until almost the last presentation of the evening Prize Giving, before announcing the winner, and Callum proudly came forward to take possession of his new boat with cheers from a full hall at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. The boat, fully registered with a new sail number, had been on display all week, and had even been looked over by Gordon Brown and Sebastian Coe who had visited the academy earlier in the day to see the preparations for the 2012 Olympics and the venue hosting a major sailing championship.

In presenting the boat, Ben Cooper wished Callum good luck with his new boat stating that “the class and the Trust look forward to seeing it racing around the country and at forthcoming IOCA (UK) events”. “The Optimist is the foremost junior dinghy class which provides a solid foundation in the skills of sailing and racing; winning a new boat will certainly be a highlight of Callum’s sailing career to date, and lets hope it is the starting point for it many more successes in the future”.

In recognition of the relationship, IOCA (UK) will initiate various fund raising activities to raise money for the Trust. As a start it has already announced that 50% of any late entry fees received for any of its three National Events will be donated to the Trust.

IOCA (UK) hopes that all its members will embrace this tie up and in due course help to contribute to such a worthy cause; links have been be established between the IOCA (UK) website – www.optimistsailing.org,uk and that of the Trust so that members can find out more about its activities, and fund raising activities will be announced in due course.

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