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Lymington sailor Santiago takes gold at international sailing cup in Italy

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Santiago Sesto Crosby in action (photo: Elena Giolai)
Santiago Sesto Crosby in action (photo: Elena Giolai)

LOCAL Optimist sailor Santiago Sesto-Cosby powered through a fleet of 282 boats to win the International Ora Cup in Lake Garda, Italy.

After months of being unable to compete, Royal Lymington Yacht Club’s Santi, 14, beat a high-standard fleet which included sailors who finished in the top 10 at the previous world and European championships. The race took place over the same course as this year’s cancelled Optimist World Championships.

Santi, the number one ranked Optimist sailor in Britain and the current national champion, said: “My dream has always been to be the best GBR sailor in the Optimist World Championships. I have been working so hard for the past couple of years and this winter I was so looking forward to the worlds in Garda. It is my favourite place to sail, where I have lots of friends from Italy and other countries.

“I was very sad when it was all cancelled as this will be my last year in the Optimist class. But by the time the news came round, it was already expected.”

Optimist is a youth class for sailors up to the age of 15.

Despite the travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly 300 competitors from 12 nations took part over the three days of the international sailing.

After winning the event, Santi said: “It is amazing to be here again, thank you to all the Italian coaches who have welcomed me within their club team, especially Mauro Berteotti, the Fraglia de Riva head coach, as well as Simone and world champion Marco Gradoni. I am so happy to be sailing and racing again.

“My thanks also go to Rupert Scott and the Beaulieu Beaufort Foundation for their financial support. I could not have done this without them.”

All official British Sailing races have been cancelled this year, which means Santi will be unable to defend his national title, and the upcoming European championships in October looks likely to be cancelled too, so this may be the young sailor’s last competition in the Optimist class.

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