For the third year running Italy tastes victory at the Garda Optimist Meeting, organised by Fraglia Vela Riva and Guinness World Record holder, which this year hosted 29 nations and 863 young sailors (187 cadets and 676 juniors).
Riccardo Sepe (Circolo della Vela Roma) managed to hold his concentration throughout the four days of competition in the conditions found on Garda, Trentino, first with strong winds and high waves then with light winds of 10-12 knots for the last two races on Easter morning.
Tensions were indeed high among the leaders before the final race all within two points of each other but in the end it was Sepe who gave it his best shot and with the two discards in the classification for the nine races total and two excellent final races, he won by an impressive 23 points over Christian Spodsberg of Denmark.
Sepe finished ninth in the penultimate race against 93rd of the Dane. In the last race he dominated from the first buoy giving him a well-deserved win in the 33rd Garda Optimist Meeting. Today his rivals literally bombed with the second place taking a 93 and 22 partial and the third Norwegian Uffe Tomasgaard a 25 and a 57. Arthur De Jonghe of Hungary won the penultimate race. It was another Italian victory among the girls (participant in the World Optimist Championships in Argentina, 2014) for Gaia Bergonzini ( Fraglia Vela Malcesine), who day after day climbed position after position until she won the category as well as a fourth place overall. Fifth was Gabriele Centrone (today with a disappointing 97, 17). The second female and tenth overall was Giorgia Cingolani sailing the colours of Fraglia Vela Riva. Third in the category was German Theresa Steinlein, third overall in the eighth regatta.
Cadets: A Swiss victory for Maxime Thommen
The younger cadets were able to complete six races total: four qualifying and two final with the fleet divided into gold and silver. The victory was somewhat effortless for the Swiss Maxime Thommen who took three first partials, a fourth and an eighth as well as a discarded 15th. Thommen preceded three girls with a 15 point advantage over the second place. The podium was predominantly female, however, with Alexandra Lukoyanova of Russia who came first in the penultimate race. Third place overall went to Okyanus Arikan of Turkey only one point behind the Russian. Fraglia Vela Riva’s Agata Scalmazzi was fourth overall and the third girl. She performed consistently with (five – three – ten – nine – four – five).
The Garda Optimist Meeting: a great regatta, but also a great life experience.
Despite the normal patriotic support and the attention given to the leaders on streaming, let’s not forget the participation of all the other young sailors who faced challenging conditions, and for some completely new situations such as having such a large number of boats around them, or being divided into heats which for many was a new experience. These are precious lessons in competition and in life which is the principle motivation for holding these events dedicated to the very young. Even Francesco Bruni, ex tactician of Luna Rossa, wanted to bring his 9 year old son Ubaldo to Riva del Garda, because he remembers how important for him it was to compete on Garda often in the wind and cold. From the technical point of view the event has certainly grown by adapting to a course and starting system equal to a Class World Championship.
by Fraglia Vela Riva