IODAI Optimist National Championships report

Aug 19, 2022 | Junior events, Junior Sailing, News

IODAI Optimist Nationals and Open took place from August 11-14th in the Royal St. George Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire. Although the weather was perfect for visiting families and on-shore volunteers with sunny skies and high temperatures, there were challenging conditions on the water with little or no wind and lots of tide, resulting in very long days for sailors and support coaches and volunteers. 

34 Sailors from Team GB travelled with their families and along with all participants and guests enjoyed super Irish hospitality from our hosts at RStGYC, led by Brendan Foley and and a team of 120 volunteers including IODAI committee members.  

In total 25 Optimist Sailors participated from the National Yacht Club, 8 in Senior Main Fleet, 4 in Junior Main Fleet, 6 in Regatta Racing Fleet and 7 in Regatta Coaching – a new fleet added this year, and mirroring other international competitions.  

Main Fleet Sailors were supported by NYC Performance Coaches, Nicola Ferguson, Fiona Ferguson and Lauren O’Callaghan.  Regatta Fleet Sailors were supported by IODAI coaches led by NYC Coach Natasha Hemeryck and the IODAI Regatta Coaching Fleet coaches team including Ella Dempsey was led by Sophie Gorman.

Representing NYC in Junior Main Fleet were James Gorman, Mark Fitzgerald, and Jonathan Dempsey (2nd in bronze fleet, upgraded now to Silver Fleet) and Basile Dion (4nd in Bronze Fleet, upgraded now to Silver Fleet). Well done and thank you coach Lauren!

The 8 sailors in Senior Main Fleet, supported by Coaches Fiona and Nicola, sailed very well and NYC featured well in prizes. This team included Maria Butler, Louise Hanley, Grace Keating, Hannah Walsh, Lucas Browne (3nd in Bronze, upgraded now to Silver fleet), Félix Dion, Max Neary and Theo Madigan (5th in Silver Fleet, upgraded now to Gold Fleet).   

The 6 sailors in Regatta Racing Fleet sailed 10 races (with 2 discards). Among 36 sailors in this fleet, Aurèle Dion won to become National Champion in the Regatta Fleet. Well done to all the brave sailors in this team which included Amélia Chapman, Félicia de Vreeze, Jacob Browne (awarded for cleanest and best environment friendly sailor), Michael Hanley (best questions to coaches) and Louis Trickett. 

Well done also to our 7 sailors in Regatta Coaching fleet. Superb racing for Finn Jones who finished 5th with best improved award followed by a team made of Patrick Butler, Joséphine Dion, Max Jones, Benjamin Neary, Catherine and Gabrielle Walsh. Really nice to see new children enjoying this new fleet format. 

Upgrades following the event and Provisional National Rankings have been published on IODAI website, and the final IODAI competition of 2022, the Ulsters is now schedule to take place at HYC on September 10 & 11th.

(upgrades and rankings can be found hyperlinked here – and )


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