The 30th Lake Garda Optimist Meeting runs from April 5th - 8th, the regatta with the largest number of single-class boats in the world taking part, will be officially classified as a “Guinness World Record”.
Over 1,100 Optimist sailors are already entered to race and every day that number creeps upwards. 26 Nations will be represented including Bermuda.
Sailors are entered in the Juniors Fleet for kids aged 12-15 and the Cadetti for under 12 age group. 15 of the sailors have competed in Bermuda recently at the Ren Re Junior Gold Cup and the Bermuda National Championships.
While the Bermuda Team of 5 older and more experienced Optimist sailors compete at the IODA South American Optimist Championships in Argentina, The Bermuda Optimist Dinghy Association (BODA) has encouraged the up and coming Development Squad sailors to attend the Lake Garda Regatta. Youngsters Campbell Patton and Matilda Nicholls are both Junior Squad Sailors from the Royal Bermuda YC Sailing Academy and Junior Members of Sandys Boat Club. They will be travelling to Lake Garda in Italy to compete in this Guinness World Record Regatta over the Easter weekend. Patton and Nicholls have both won their classes at International Regattas in the past 12 months and have been training hard in the build-up to Lake Garda. Patton won his age group at the Canadian National Championships in August 2011, while Nicholls won the Regatta Racing Fleet at the UK National Championships in July 2012.
Their Coach in Bermuda, the Director of Sailing at RBYC, Tom Herbert-Evans said "This is an HUGE undertaking by these youngsters, they will have an experience of a life-time to be sailing in a fleet rapidly approaching 1,000 boats. Here in Bermuda we think a Fleet of 20 boats is a good turnout, the Under 12 Fleet is ten times that amount.... just image the spectacle of racing against 1,000 boats!" The RBYC Sailing Academy recently gained approval from the Royal Yachting Association and is eager to offer a continuously improving format for the young sailors to learn from. "Patton and Nicholls are fine examples of what young sailors can aspire to, they set a very high standard for youngsters to try to emulate. BODA has encouraged younger development sailors to make the effort to compete overseas and this will be a huge learning experience for these two. Only 18 months ago both sailors were competing in the Bermuda Green Fleet for beginner racers, they are now competing on the World stage - I am thrilled to be one of the people associated with the development of these aspiring sailors and we are looking forward to many more joining them as we move into the warmer weather this Spring as the RBYC Sailing Academy Easter Courses start soon."
Former Olympian and now Olympic Coach Zizi Staniul will assist the Bermuda sailors on the water in Italy, they will be joining his elite squad of International sailors from Germany, Poland and Switzerland. After 4 days of practice on Lake Garda just prior to the event, they will compete for 4 solid days against some of the world's best Optimist sailors. Staniul said "It is important that Bermuda's talented sailors travel to larger overseas regattas to gain the all-important big fleet experience. Development is all about focused practice and gaining experience, many of the World's top Olympians regard Lake Garda as one of the best sailing venues in the World and the Fleets do not get any bigger than the Lake Garda world record breaking Optimist Regatta! Not only will it be good experience, it will also be very good practice for the 2013 Optimist World Championships at the same venue."