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Bermuda pair in fleet for world’s biggest regatta

Campbell Patton and Matilda Nicholls will represent Bermuda at the 30th Lake Garda Optimist regatta in Italy in what it is believed to be with the largest number of single-class boats in the world taking part in one event.

The competition, that runs from April 5-8 will be entered in the Guinness Book of World Records .

Sailing takes place at Fraglia Vela Riva, the Trentino Garda Club, which will host the World Optimist Championships in 2013..

Last year there were a total of 942 young sailors accompanied by 160 coaches at the Easter event. This year the fleet will exceed that number.

Eleven-year-old Patton and Nicholls, 10, 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 last August while Nicholls won the Regatta Racing Fleet at the UK National Championships in July.

The pair will compete in the Cadet division (Under-12).

Director of Sailing at Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC), Tom Herbert-Evans, expects the pair to put their best foot forward in Italy.

“This is an huge undertaking by these youngsters. They will have an experience of a lifetime to be sailing in a fleet rapidly approaching 1,000 boats,” said Herbert-Evans. “Here in Bermuda we think a fleet of 20 boats is a good turn-out. The Under 12 Fleet is ten times that amount, so you could 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 young sailors the chance to learn from their programme.

“Campbell and Matilda are fine examples of what young sailors can aspire to, they set a very high standard for youngsters to try to emulate.

“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, and will join up with his elite squad of international sailors from Germany, Poland and Switzerland.

After four days of practice on Lake Garda just prior to the event, the Bermuda pair will compete for four days.

“It is important that Bermuda’s talented sailors travel to larger overseas regattas to gain the all-important big fleet experience,”said Staniul. “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.”

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Published March 28, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 28, 2012 at 9:22 am)

Bermuda pair in fleet for world’s biggest regatta

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