News 2015 Optimist African Championship

2015 Optimist African Championship



 The  2015 African Championship "Wrap-Up"

The 2015 African Optimist Championship concluded on October 8th, successfully hosted by Algeria in the historic port city of Oran.  The event got off to a good start on September 30th,  but a storm moving off the coast of France caused large surf to assault the beach area.  This made it very difficult to manoeuvre to and from the race course.  The following days were not a problem although the Spare Day was utilized as a racing day.  Winds throughout ranged from a low 5 knots to almost 20 knots on the final day. 

Algerian sailor Mokhtari Hichem is the new 2015 African Champion and will be eligible to return next year to defend. 

The Algerian sailors overall had a very successful regatta.  In addition to claiming the Championship title, the host country took silver in the Team Racing Championship and Algerian Karassane Malia achieved girl’s bronze. 

The Algerian Team celebrating after the final races.

The experienced team from Mozambique was overall extremely successful, winning the African Team Racing Championship and taking a  gold and a silver in the Overall Girls’ and Boys’ categories. Silver medalist Diogo Sanches, the 2014  Champion, has been a member of all four teams entered by MOZ since the foundation of the Optimist Class there in 2011.    He will age out this year, as will his team mate the formidable Deisy Nhaquile.

The Top African Girls led by Deisy Nhaquile of Mozambique.

Deisy claimed her third successive girls’ title, defending against South Africa’s Jemima Baum.  Jemima has also represented her country for three successive years but unlike Deisy still has two more years to compete.   

2015 African Team Racing Winners 1. MOZ   2. ALG 1  3. ANG

Team Oman - Overall Team Racing Winners

There are two notable mentions.   Team Oman claimed the Overall Team Racing Gold, along with having five of their six members finish strongly in the top half of the fleet. First time participants Libya gained tremendous experience for their developing group, and we hope to see them return.

Team Libya - first time competitors!

Thank you to the International Officials who were a big part of making the event a success.

Congratulations to all sailors who competed this year.  IODA looks forward to seeing many of you in Luanda, Angola for the 2017 African Championship.

Overall General Results:

  1.  Mokhtari Hichem ALG
  2. Diogo Sanches  MOZ
  3. Kebaili Mohamed ALG
  4. Lourenco Simao ANG
  5. Jeremias Mazoio  MOZ

Overall Girls’ Results:

  1.  Deisy Nhaquile  MOZ
  2. Jemima Baum  RSA
  3. Karassane Malia  ALG
  4. Touabi Racha  ALG
  5. Samiha Al Riyami OMA

Overall Team Racing Results:

  1.  Oman
  2. Mozambique
  3. Algeria 1

Final Result for Fleet Racing can be found here

Final Results for Team Racing can be found here

IODA VP Captain Arshad receiving the gift of the official championship poster engraved on ceramic.

October 7

Today in Oran, Algeria at the 2015 Optimist African Championship, it was the sixth and last racing day and the first day of the final series.  Seven races had been successfully completed in the qualifying series.  The fleet of 72 sailors was divided into Gold and Silver, and each group raced three races beginning with the Gold fleet start at 11:05. It was a busy day, but thankfully the breeze stayed steady throughout, approaching from 290-300 degrees,  starting at 9 – 14 knots in the morning, and strengthening to 11 – 15 by early afternoon.  In total, 10 races were completed in the Championship.

The new 2015 African Champion, ALG 102 Mokhtari Hichem, had a slow start to the day and posted a first race which later became his drop.   He placed 6 and 8 respectively in his 9th and 10th races which gave him a 15 point lead over the second place finisher, the 2014 Champion Diogo Sanches of Mozambique.  They had battled for first place throughout this event.  Diogo, at 15, now ages out, but Mokhtari has one more year in the Optimist.  Third place went to Kebaili Mohamed, also of Algeria (ALG 101).

The formidable Deisy Nhaquile of Mozambique (MOZ 1001)  took her third successive top girl award, followed by Jemima Baum of South Africa (RSA 1438) and Malia Karassane of Algeria (ALG 2017).

Sailing conditions throughout the regatta were varied and gave the competitors a good test of their abilities.    Light breeze prevailed in the early part of the event, but the wind strengthened the last two days and at times was close to 20 knots.  Sailors had to show mastery of both big waves and flat water. 

Appreciation goes to the Race Committee for good decisions on the water.  Thanks also to the many volunteers who contributed in many ways to ensure a successful event for the teams.  Much appreciated were all the helping hands who assisted in getting the Optimists launched from the beach in the morning, and back safely after racing.

Congratulations to all competitors for a successful and fun 2015 Optimist African Championship.  

Final results can be found here



October 6

Today the wind direction on the race course in Oran blew steadily in the range of 12 – 15 knots from 250 – 260 degrees all day and enabled the Race Committee to successfully complete three races.  This brings the number of races in the qualifying series to 7 with one discard. 

Race five (first of the day) started at 12:05 and lasted 42 minutes 43 seconds.  Two boats were UFD.  Race six started at 14:00 and lasted a similar amount of time 44 minutes and 40 seconds. The last race of the day, race 7, was started at 15:19 and concluded in 46 minutes 37 seconds. Wind strength increased up to 20 knots after race 7 start which made for challenging conditions.  All boats were clear at the start in race 6 and race 7. 

Final results after 7 races can be found here

Tomorrow the Final Series will be sailed, and the intent is to run three races with the fleet divided into Gold and Silver.  Going into the final day, three sailors share 35 net points:  MOZ 35 Diogo Sanches (last year’s champion), ALG 102 Mokhtari Hichem, and ALG 101 Debaili Mohamed.   

Earlier this evening there was an Arab Countries’ meeting.  Two presentations were made about upcoming Continental Championships:  Angola 2016 and Egypt 2017.  Among the topics discussed were bidding procedures, and  IODA sponsorship for sailors to attend Continental Championships. 


October 4

Today was the third day of the OAC racing.    At the 12:20 start all boats were declared clear and race four of the qualifying series commenced in 9 - 11 knots of breeze  from 290 degrees. The race was completed in 50 minutes 38 seconds without incident.   Unfortunately, as with yesterday, the breeze started to diminish and starting race 5 was not possible.  The Race Committee waited until 16:00 when a light mist started to move into the course from the north.  The sailing conditions quickly deteriorated further and all boats returned to shore.

Tomorrow will the Team Racing Championship.  All coaches and competitors attended a briefing at 20:30.


October 3

This morning the wind in Oran  had shifted to the North-West so the large swells that had caused so much havoc during launch the past couple of days were gone. This made conditions ideal for getting everyone out to the race course in time for the scheduled warning signal for the first race of the qualifying series - three races in total were completed during the day.  

The first start was at  12:32 in 8-11 knots of breeze from 330 degrees. All boats were clear over the line.   Mark 1 was set 0.5 nautical miles upwind and the  first Optimist reached it in 10 minutes.  However, the wind started to diminish down to 2 knots soon afterward and the leg to Mark 3 was shortened.  Race time was 38 minutes.

After waiting a bit for the breeze to shift and fill in, the second race got started at 14:07.  Wind strength was 12 - 14 knots from 300 degrees.  Two boats were UFD.  The time to Mark 1 was 17 minutes (0.5 NM) , and the first place finisher crossed the finish line after 49 minutes.

Race three got underway promptly at 15:46 in 11-14 knots from 310 degrees. All boats were clear.   The first Optimist sailed the 0.5 NM to the first mark in 16 minutes.  Once again the wind started to drastically diminish after Mark 2, and the race was shorted in the leg to Mark 3.  The first place finisher crossed the line after 49 minutes in 3 knots of breeze.

Tomorrow the plan is to continue OAC races, shifting the Team Racing to Monday.  

Provisional results from today can be found here:  


October 2

This morning the weather looked very promising.  

Following the Race Committee's and Coaches' meetings,  the plan for the day was to be on the water by 10:15. The surf was very strong again this morning, but there were lots of people on hand to help the Optimists get off the beach.      The  warning signal for the first race was at 12:40.  The wind direction was  5-6 knots from 340-350.   Unfortunately,  halfway up the first beat the wind started to diminsh, and eventually died completely.  Race 1 was abandoned.  Approximately 1 hour later the wind started to fill in again from the same direction and a new course was set.  The race was started in 5 - 7 knots of breeze, but again, started to diminish when the sailors were halfway up the first leg.  About 400 meters from the first mark the race was abandoned due to the time limit to the first mark.  The wind completely died once more, and by 16:43  all races were abandoned for the day.  Returning to the beach was challenging because of the surf, but there were lots of people on hand to help everyone in safely. 


October 1

Today in Oran, Algeria at the Optimist African Championship the competitors completed registration and prepared for the Practice Race.

 By late morning,  the surf was quite active.  It was very challenging to get off the beach in time for the start of the Practice Race at 13:00, but 20 Optis were successful in reaching the  Race Committee boat.  It was a good opportunity for sailors and RC alike to get their equipment organised and ready for the first race of the qualifying series tomorrow.  

In the early evening,  a spectacular Opening Ceremonies was conducted  by the Algerian hosts.  

Lots of local music, food, and festivities with welcoming words and encouragement for all the sailors.  Everyone had a tremendous amount of fun and enjoyed the warm Algerian hospitality.

Tomorrow the coaches will meet at 09:30 to prepare for the first qualifying series race of the regatta.  The first warning signal is scheduled for 12:00.  




The 2015 Optimist African Championship begins on September 30 in the historical seaside port of Oran, Algeria.  Twelve nations will be competing:  Oman, South Africa, Tunisia, Libya, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Seychelles, Tanzania, Sudan, Mozambique, Angola, and,of course, the host nation Algeria.  Over the eight days of the event the individual championship will be competed for, as well as the Team Racing Championship.  Watch this space for more news.