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16 December 2003, 02:17 pm
December Optimist Regattas
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International Optimist Class

The December holidays are becoming increasingly popular for Optimist regattas. While many families head for the ski slopes, venues in the sun keep others sailing.
The season has already started with the ever-growing St. Nicholas Regatta in Pula, Croatia over the weekend of 5-7 December. 300 sailors from 12 countries participated. RESULTS here.

Coming up to Christmas two island members with fast developing fleets have organised very attractive regattas. The Malta Euromed has attracted 37 foreign sailors from Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Qatar and the U. A. Emirates who will be joined by 32 Maltese sailors. With the first generation of Optimist sailors aging out, this year's regatta will include Lasers for the first time.

The Euromed may be the model for a new event, the XL Capital Bermuda International Optimist Regatta. 17 sailors from 11 countries have been invited to enjoy the now famous Bermudan hospitality and give local sailors the experience of meeting and sailing against sailors from a wide range of countries.

On the other side of the World at the lovely resort of Sattahip in Thailand is host to the ASEAN (South East Asian) Championship, open also to invited sailors from outside the region.

Immediately after Christmas begins the final IODA Continental Championship of the year, the ASIANS in Mumbai, India. Tremendous work by Rabi Ahuja and his team has attracted a record twelve (or maybe 13 if Khyrghyzstan make the difficult journey) Asian countries. Already the championship has had a huge impact on sailing in India in that it has encouraged a new builder, Praga Marine, to build no less than 90 Optimists which are being sold to various centres in the country afterwards.

Probably the biggest Christmas event will be the Orange Bowl International which last year attracted 184 entries in the two fleets. Last year's event was primarily a U.S.A. national event but rumour has it that there will be several entries from the Caribbean and perhaps even further afield this year. Finally back in Europe come two great regattas in Italy, the San Remo Meeting and the Trofeo Marcello Campobasso in Naples.

Robert Wilkes
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