Congratulations to Royal Cork’s Harry Whitaker who finished 20th in the Optimist World Championships held in Club Nautico de Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. The Irish team included 3 other Royal Cork members – Douglas Elmes (50th), Harry Durcan (97th) and Sophie Browne (103rd). The other member of the team, Megan Parker (Skerries Sailing Club) finished 84th overall out of a total fleet of 230 of the best Optimist sailors from all over the world.
Qualifying for the Optimist World Championship is difficult enough. Each country holds qualification trials and sends their best 5 sailors. Last year, Sophie Browne had the distinction of finishing 13th overall and 2nd Girl. This was by far our best result for many years. This year the team went with high hopes.
Lying 10th overall going into the final day of racing, Harry Whitaker had put himself into position to achieve an historically high result. However, he had used up his discard and in race 3 when he was OCS in a race where he had finished 4th on the water. Unfortunately, a 37th in race 8 was his worst result in the event and he left himself with lots to do in the final race. He showed admirable fortitude to put the disappointment of the previous race behind him and finished 2nd in the final race of the series to cement his place in the top 20.
Douglas Elmes sailed a very consistent series counting no results outside the top 30 with 3 top ten finishes being the highlights.
Harry Durcan was the youngest member of the team and this was one of his first major overseas regattas. He showed tremendous potential winning one of the races and also counting a third. His time will surely come.
Megan Parker couldn’t maintain the heights of the 3rd place she scored in the first race but sailed consistently well to maintain her position will inside the top 100 boats.
Sophie Browne could not attain the extraordinarily high standards that she set in New Zealand earlier in the year and had a disappointing series by her standards.
The team was managed by Marie Cournane and coached by Dennis Paaske.
At the Worlds the venues for future events are voted on and decided. Ireland’s Royal St George Yacht Club was awarded the European Championships in 2014 with the Worlds going to Argentina.
Full results and other information can be found here: http://www.optiworlds2012.org/
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