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14 December 2004, 09:49 am
Optimists in El Salvador
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International Optimist Class
Santa Barbara

One of the newest Optimist fleets has just held its first national championship. Local organiser Torsten RODE reports:

'Let me tell you that we have progressed a lot in the last months. The sail school in San Salvador is starting to work properly and we have built a trailer where we can transport 11 Optimists to travel around.

We have also just finished our first National Optimist Championship and have now a ranking of the best sailors in El Salvador. Most of the kids come from the fishermen town 'Santa Barbara' and we were practising regatas for the last 4 months. On the competition we had 12 Optimist on the water and had to run some qualifying heats because of the big number of kids wanting to race. We managed to do 5 final heats. I'm proud that we have an almost even number of male and female competitors which is something special for this kind of country. Cristina who is just 6 years old finished 4 overall, although the lightwind conditions helped a lot.

On the pictures you can also see the 'Lenca' which is a handcrafted sailvessel with bamboo masts and cotton sails where we let the sailors older than 15 race. It is a very good sailboat to practise for sailing Laser.

Our Optimist children are highly motivated, so that we will sure have some good competitors in the near future.'

The Optimists are built locally to the 1997 wood/epoxy design, with spars, sails and fittings 100% sponsored by the International Optimist Association.

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Robert Wilkes (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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