After a long delay of more than 3 years, which was mainly due to covid reasons, it was great to witness the 2022 Optimist Africans Champs kick-off. Following a well-received Opening
ceremony, the kids were pumped and fully motivated to get on the water for the 1st day of racing. The start of the 1st day was grey and overcast, the wind was over 20knts from the North North East. The forecast was for the wind to moderate to 10-14knts and swing more to the west, which it did soon before the start of the 1st race, settling on a wind angle of between 310 and 320, which is where it stayed for most of the day. The clouds lifted and the sailors experienced perfect sailing and weather conditions to get 3 good quality races in in a slightly oscillating North West wind with sunny skies and clear blue water.
South Africa’s Robbie Clarke and Angolan’s Wilson Rodrigues CAMOTA got theirs regattas off to a great start with a 6th and 4th place finish respectively in the first race, however the top 10 places were mainly dominated by Brazil, Argentina and Australia on the day. Brazil’s Heloísa RUSCHEL GONÇALVES ended the day off in 1st place with 2, 1 and 7 and is also the 1st placed female. Murry Duthie from Australia is in 2nd place and the top placed African sailor is Angolans Wilson Rodrigues CAMOTA who lies in 3rd place.
With the light to medium winds, the racing was extremely tight and fierce with many place changes during the course of the races throughout the fleet, as always, in bigger fleets, starts are key to getting a good result and it was evident that many of the African countries that are generally used to sailing in smaller fleets were struggling to get away from the start line with speed and clear air. Lets see how this improves during the course of the regatta.
The forecast for the 2nd day is very similar to the 1st day and a little warmer. The race officer has indicated that 2 races are to be sailed and we will report back with the days action, results and photo’s.