Optimist's Class News 2012

The work to rebuild the Optimist fleet after the amazing successes of a number of years ago continued this year, and we have seen a significant recovery in the class over the 12 months. It's been a very busy year, and while the numbers of active sailors remains relatively small, the standards are continuing to rise, as evidenced by some great performances on the racing circuit at home and abroad during 2012.

We ran Sunday coaching for beginners from early May through to the start of the Summer courses, and this attracted quite a few newcomers, a few of whom have now bought their first boat and I'm sure we'll soon see on the racing circuit.

2012 Trials

The first of the seasons major fleet races was the Optimists Trials, held over two legs in Dun Laoghaire and Dunmore East. This is a selector event for the teams to represent Ireland at the World and European Championships in the Summer. It also selects a Development Team to attend the French Nationals in July. Kinsale had four representatives at this very competitive event, and all sailed brilliantly, with Scott Levie, Cliodhna Ni Shuilleabhain and Ronan Cournane taking three of the seven slots on the European team. Amy Carroll, in her first Trials showed the form that will surely see her take a team place at future Trials. Also interesting to note that Cian O'Regan, (who this year took over as National Regatta Fleet coach) also attended the Europeans as part of the coaching team led by Thomas Chaix. We can all be very proud to see an Irish team of nine (seven sailors and two coaches) with five from our club!

Youth Nationals

The Mitsubishi Youth Nationals is a huge event on the Dinghy calendar and once again this year, there was a sizeable Optimist fleet catering for sailors who did not qualify for Trials. We had two representatives from Kinsale and both were on the podium at the finish, with Micheal O'Suilleabhain taking second spot and Mikey Carroll in third. Well done to both.



The first of the seasons IODAI Regional events meant a long trip North to the RNIYC outside Belfast. Beautiful weather and great sailing made the journey worthwhile, and the weekend was really capped off at the prizegiving where Kinsale had four prizewinners ! Well done to Scott Levie in the Senior fleet who took 5th overall, and to our three Junior fleet sailors, Amy and Mikey Carroll and Micheal O'Suilleabhain, who all delivered top 10 finishes in a fleet of 50 boats. Well done also to Cian O'Regan who ran his first event as IODAI Regatta Fleet head coach.



The second the regional championships was held in Skerries in the middle of June, and it was a difficult event for all our sailors with 20+ knots of wind on Saturday, followed by Sunday having to be cut short through a lack of wind ! Nevertheless, Amy Carroll led the way for Team Kinsale with a great 4th place in Junior Gold, and Micheal was also among the prizes, picking up 5th place in Junior Silver.


IODAI took the decision early in the year to defer two of the four Regional events to September, so the next major event of the year was the 2012 Nationals, hosted at home in Kinsale. This was a major undertaking for the club, welcoming just short of two hundred sailors for five days of racing under the direction of OD Alan Crosbie. The week was a great success thanks to so many of our members, so were extremely supportive and generous with their time.

On the water the huge fleet (which included nearly 50 overseas entrants) was split into three groups, Senior, Junior and Regatta and all encountered a variety of fantastic sailing conditions over a 10 race event. While we continue our wait for a National Champion in the class, we had some super performances from our local sailors, with Cliodhna Ni Shuilleabhain taking 8th place overall in the Senior fleet. It was particularly encouraging to have seven Kinsale entries in the Regatta fleet, David Carroll, Robert Carroll, Jack McGrane, Jessica and James Dwyer, Tom Good and Dorothy Matthews, all of whom seemed to have a great time and surely learned a lot from the experience of racing in a 40 boat fleet. Jack was the the overall runner up in Regatta fleet, being denied overall victory in the last race of the series.

Particular thanks to the organising committee of Finbarr O'Regan, Michael Carroll, Dave Ross, Sean O'Sullivan, Chris Clark, Marie Cournane and Thomas Chaix for the many hours spent in preparation and during the week itself. We are also very grateful to our lead sponsors, Volvo and Davy, and to the many local partners who supported us with generous prizes.


The Connaught championship was held in glorious sunshine in Malahide (!) in early September, and the club had seven sailors involved, with the very welcome addition of Sean Collins making the trip for his first 'away' event. In predominantly light and shifty conditions, Ronan Cournane had a great event finishing runner up to National Champion Douglas Elmes. We had another fine result with Micheal O'Suilleabhain finishing 6th in the massive 75 boat junior fleet.


The final regional event of the year was the Munster Championships in RCYC where our five Juniors put in a series of great display's, with Micheal and Mikey Carroll both in top 10 positions, and Amy Carroll and Sarah Levie both inside the top 20 - in a very large and competitive fleet of 60+ boats. Bruce Matthews also continued his great progress with a solid display, suggesting he is one to watch for next year. Ronan kept up his good form with a fourth place, behind eventual winner Harry Durcan from the home club. In the Regatta fleet, David Carroll put in a great display to finish in fourth place.

International Events

On the International front, we had representatives at a number of very significant events. First up in April was the Braasseremeer Easter Regatta in Holland, where Ronan, Cliodhna and Micheal represented the club, all doing really well. Ronan and Cliodhna qualified for the gold fleet, and Micheal, the youngest sailor to finish this really tough event, qualified for the Silver fleet.

On the basis of their qualification for the 2012 Trials, Sarah Levie and Amy Carroll both took part in the UK Nationals in August as part of the Ireland U12 squad. Both did really well, qualifying for the Junior Gold fleet, and the other three Oppie sailors in the Carroll family also sailed in the event, with Mikey also making Junior Gold, and David and Anna sailing in the Regatta fleet. (Medals reserved for Mike and Joanne for the Logistics performance of the year - four Oppies to the UK and back is no mean feat !!)

As mentioned earlier the Ireland team that took part in the European Championships this year had a large contingent from KYC. The event was held in Lignano Sabbiadoro in Northern Italy in early July, and provided a huge challenge to all our sailors. All of the team suffered badly in 40 degree heat, and never saw winds of more than 5 knots. That said, our three sailors, Cliodhna, Ronan and Scott enjoyed the experience and all finished with some solid results around the middle of the fleet. Scott had the added bonus of finishing the event as lead Irish boy at the regatta.

Loctudy in Brittany was the venue for the French Nationals this Summer and that event was chosen as the regatta for the International Development Team this Summer. It's an Open event and many of the Irish Oppie fleet chose to attend although not part of the Development Team. Micheal and Cliodhna took part in the 450 boat event, and both will have great memories of the racing, with Cliodhna hitting her best form of the year with a fantastic overall 8th place, taking the Silver Medal for 2nd girl overall.

Autumn 2012

As I write the Cobbler League is underway in Crosshaven, after which the fleet will return to Kinsale and continue coaching and club racing until the end of November. At that point we hope to close a very eventful and successful Optimist season with our 4th annual 'Christmas' Regatta.


While we are delighted to have a number of notable additions to the local fleet this year, I'd like to close by wishing Scott Levie well as he leaves Oppies this year. No doubt his Optimist experiences will serve him well in his next boat.


Michael O Sullivan, Class Captain