Easter Optimist Sailing in Holland - by Finn Morris
Over Easter we spent 12 days in Holland. I did 2 sailing events; the Optispring in Port Zeeland and the Easter Regatta in Braassemermeer. 62 British sailors made the journey along with sailors from 12 other nations including the USA and the Cayman Islands!
Optispring was warm and sunny, but light winds meant we only got two races in. The Easter Regatta was bigger and more successful with 14 races over 4 days and lots of wind, mostly from the cold north! It was tough going, with long beats and a short chop making hiking hard and bailing upwind essential. Lots of boats got swamped, even at the front of the fleet. Luckily, all my new Rooster kit arrived in time (thanks to Lucy and the warehouse team!) and I was warm and toasty.
With 225 boats racing, we sailed in flights for the first 2 days and after 7 races, the organisers split us into Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets for the final two days.
I was in Bronze fleet and looking forward to racing closer to the front of the fleet! Scores were carried forward from the qualifiers, so I was keen to see how high I could get in Bronze fleet. I had a 9th in the first race making me happy but then I got even happier when I won the second race - my first international race win! I went on to score 2 more top 15 results and ended the day 9th overall in Bronze fleet and 5th under 12 or, as they say in Holland, Benjamin.
We had some great fun in the club, joining forces with Julia and Kube Staites and some friendly Dutch sailors to see how far away we could drink from our water bottles, using a series of giant drinking straws! Having learned all about Polder politics and the Delta project, we knew the Dutch would be good partners for this venture - and we amazed everyone (including ourselves!) by managing to drink water from our bottles in the dinghy park, from the clubhouse balcony. That took a bit of sucking!
A good night's sleep put me in a great place for the final day. The plan was for 3 races in windy conditions and I managed a 10,15, 23 which to my surprise put me in 8th overall in Bronze and 5th under 12 in the whole regatta. I was delighted!
The British team had a great event - well done to Jamie Cook, Haydn Sewell and Callum Davidson-Guild for finishing 2nd, 3rd and 5th. The winner, Paul Hametteen of Holland, was very impressive with 11 race wins from 14 starts!