ALL eyes are on the weather forecast for this weekend in Torrevieja as the first of four races that make up The Optimist Excellence Cup 2011 comes to town. The championship is one of the most important in the world of sailing for Spain’s youngsters, those under 15 years of age and takes place over the weekend along Torrevieja’s coast.
This is the forth running of the event, a sailing regatta for boats of the Optimist class, a basic, single-handed dingy, common throughout Europe, and a common choice as most children’s introduction to sailing. Registration closed on January 10th and attracted entries from more than 200 children, not just locally but from seven other countries and seven Spanish autonomous communities, The Torrevieja race is the first race counting towards the Optimist Excellence Cup 2011.
The competition is a circuit scoring race institutionalized by the AECI and the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation and composed of four major international Spanish regattas, held in Torrevieja in January, Palamos in February, Vigo and Palma in November and finally Mallorca in December. This weekend’s racing is organised by Real Club Nautico Torrevieja.
The Optimist is the most important and common sailing dingy used in the entire sailing world for children, so to be champion in this class is usually the first open door to the Olympic training teams of each country. The competition attracts athletes from all over Europe who come to different regions of Spain to compete in the mild winter weather. Many international teams are already training in Torrevieja and enjoying the city and its attractions.
Racing takes place each morning over the weekend, with a noon start on Saturday and 10:30 racing on Sunday. With over 200 yachts on the water, it’s a spectacle that is difficult to miss, but with the cold snap that is presently happening, fingers are crossed for sunny and steady winds over the weekend, for one of the nation’s prime sailing events, for possible Olympic champions of the future. More information can be found on http://optimistcup.regataestrella.com
By Keith Nicol