Royal Lymington Yacht Club dominate in national Optimist Open

Royal Lymington Yacht Club sailors took six of the top ten places in the national event that had 85 participants

ROYAL Lymington Yacht Club hosted their annual Optimist Open sailing event, for 85 sailors from around the country, which saw local sailor Santiago Sesto-Cosby take home the trophy.


The hosts had six sailors finish in the top ten including Henry Heathcote, Ben Mueller and Sam Webb. Ella Lightbody and Emma Breeze rounded off Lymington’s successes in a superb weekend sailed in a variety of conditions.

The regatta was highly competitive with world and European competitors preparing for events in Antigua and France.

Challenging conditions

Under the command of race officer George Heathcote, the main fleet completed three races on Saturday, with very challenging weather conditions: shifty and light winds together with tide.

At the midway point in the event, Santiago Sesto-Cosby held a clear lead, but it was very competitive behind him and all still had their eyes on the trophy.

On Sunday, the wind was strong in the morning, with gusts of over 35 knots. The gusts forced all the younger sailors upside down, so the regatta fleet made the difficult decision to return shore.

The main fleet found the strong conditions ideal for sailing and training, with choppy seas and wind against the tide. The fleet completed five further races on Sunday, with the last two, being moved further out towards Yarmouth.

Tight finish

Despite starting with a wobbly 23rd place in the first race on Sunday, Santiago won two races, a second-place finish and two third finishes en route to the top spot with 22 points, ahead of Hayling Island’s Kuba Staite on 25 points and Lymington club mate Henry Heathcote, who was third with 31 points. Yachtmail Trophy winner was Ocean Hughes.

The event was organised by captains Richard Breese and Valeria Sesto, the safety leader Joff McGill, and pro George Heathcote. On-the-water team included pin boat Ben Vines, Mark Layers and Ed Webb. Clive Cosby was Regatta Fleet pro, supported by former Olympian Sarah Gosling, while Vicky Lean was the event lead from the club team.

Berthon Marina sponsored the open, supported by Coffee Mongers Roasting Company and New Forest Ice Cream. SAS Plastic Free Lymington, led by Christine Spriter, was also present.