RPAYC youth member Fletcher Walters has delivered a stellar performance at this year’s Optimist World Championship in Pattaya, Thailand. Fletch, as he is known by his mates, qualified for the gold fleet in 43rd position after the 3 days of qualifier races. The gold fleet comprises the top 72 out of the 281 competitors.
The 6 qualifying races were sailed in 5-18 knots, relatively calm seas to very bumpy conditions, plenty of current, clear skies and storms – so competitors experienced a bit of everything. There were a large number of penalties for premature starts, rule 42, failure to finish in time limits and other rule infringements. Susan Walters, Fletch’s Mum commented, “It has been a challenging regatta so far as you would expect at a world championship. The level of racing is awesome and we are really proud of our Aussie team.”
The final two days of racing are raced in a team racing format, 4 boats against 4 boats from each country in a ladder format. The Australian’s had a high ranking entering the competition due to the scores of their top 4 sailors in qualifying but this is a very different discipline of sailing. The Australians enjoy this part of the racing and are a tight knit group of sailors. The Australians had a mixed performance winning against Portugal to face France, then losing against France and beating Oman. This put them in contention to go up against Malaysia to decide final placings in the Nations Cup. After tight racing, the Malaysians beat the Australians leaving Australia in a respectable 9th place.