News Noppakao Poonpat a Worthy Winner

Noppakao Poonpat a Worthy Winner

Thailand dominate the podium at the Optimist Worlds

Langkawi, Malaysia
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Thailand dominate the podium at the Optimist Worlds

January 7

Noppakao Poonpat had a bullet in the last race of the championship and became the Optimist World Champion 2010 in great style! After an OCS and a 16th in yesterday's races, Noppakao could still be beaten by Ahmad Syukri Bin Abdul Azizended but in true champions style she kept control of the race and lead almost from the start.

Optimist World Champion 2010

January 6

Today the wind delivered 15­18 knots and those sailors who had found the light and shifty conditions so difficult, relished the increased breeze. Noppakao Poonpat, despite an OCS in the second race and a 16th in the final race of the day, remains ahead by 8 points of Ahmad Syukri Bin Abdul Aziz (Malaysia).

Tomorrow is the final day with just one race, after which the Optimist World Champion will be crowned.


January 5

Three more races were sailed today and even when positions can still change, sailors at the top of the ranking can start feeling more 'at ease'. Noppakao Poonpat took victory on the second race of the day and finished 11 and 9 in the other two, consolidating her as the leader of the fleet. She is the only sailor that has finished among the top 15 in all the races.


Ryan Lo Jun Han from Singapore had better results than Noppakao today (1, 2 and 8) but a couple of bad races on the previous day do not allow him to catch up with Noppakao and is now 15 points behind her. In third place and tied in points with Ryan is Jirawat Jadklay from Thailand.

The Asian dominance in the top ten is only interrupted by Bart Lambriex from the Netherlands in 6th place and by Odile van Aanholt from Netherlands Antilles, 10th overall.



Photos by Enrique Ortiz (official photographer):

January 3

Stage two of the Team Racing competition began with just 16 teams, reduced from the 43 teams of yesterday. The 16 teams getting through from Stage One were: Norway, Singapore, Italy, Germany, Australia, Spain, Chile, Malaysia, Finland, Argentina, Slovenia, USA, Peru, Croatia, Great Britain, Thailand. This was a geographically diverse group demonstrating the strength of optimist team racing worldwide.

boats in Malaysia
THA v SIN race two

Thailand qualified as the highest seed from Stage One and quickly defeated Great Britain and Peru who had unexpectedly been beaten by Croatia. The race committee struggled initially with shifting winds and drifting marks but eventually the wind settled down to a near perfect 10 knots, in bright sunshine, the rain of the last few days having passed – ideal conditions for team racing.

The race committee kept the courses short, roughly 8 minutes in length, which kept the racing tight and highly competitive. Thailand continued their unbeaten run in Stage One and reached the Final without a loss. The match between Singapore and Peru, the winner earning the right to sail against Thailand in the first to win two races Final, was electric. The balance of control kept swinging from one team to the other but eventually it was a win to Singapore. Speaking as an umpire, Peru provided some of the most brilliant tactical manoeuvres of any team and they like all the other teams in the second stage, created many challenges for the umpires and continually demonstrated the high level of team racing tactics and boat handling now required to reach this stage of the competition.

The Final was again very close, but Thailand continued their unbeaten run, winning 2 races and becoming the 2010 IODA World Team Racing champions. Congratulations to them and all of the other teams who made the last two days so exciting and memorable.

boats in Malaysia
Thailand celebrate

Chris Atkins (Chief Umpire), a veteran official at our European Team Racing Championship but new to the Worlds said: "It was great to see the optimist class combining fleet racing and team racing at the same championship, more classes should consider this as everyone enjoys the team racing so much."

The 4th January is a lay day when teams will have the opportunity to travel around the island and discover the delights of the local area. Then it is back to the fleet racing as this championship begins to draw to an end.

January 2

Optimist team racing has continued to grow rapidly in 2010 with the IODA European Team Racing Championship reaching the maximum entry of 16 teams for the first time and many other optimist team racing regattas establishing themselves on the international calendar. In 2009, for the first time, the team racing at the Optimist World Sailing Championships was increased to 2 days with a maximum possible entry of 48 teams. This proved to be a great success with China becoming the World Champions last year in Brasil. Today, they and 42 other teams began the first stage of the IODA Challenge Cup, to find the Optimist World Team Racing Champions for 2010.

boats in Malaysia
Final team preparation

The day began with a briefing from Chris Atkins (Chief Umpire), who reminded sailors of the importance of displaying their protest flags clearly and promptly and to hail loudly. His words were heeded well as right from the start, in what was very tight racing, hails of ‘protest’ were even audible to those spectators on the shore. On the first day, there were 76 races on two race courses. The pace was fast with races averaging just 6-8 minutes. As on the previous days, the wind shifted constantly, particularly on ‘A Course’ which had been laid close to the shore infront of the club.

boats in Malaysia
Close action, France v Greece, last race on Course A today

Racing will continue again tomorrow with some matches from Course A still to be decided so the teams that have qualified for the final stage will not be known until tomorrow morning. The teams that have qualified from Course B are: Singapore, Germany, Australia, Spain, Italy, Malaysia and Chile.

boats in Malaysia
Measurement check of a boat after finishing a race

The Final tomorrow will be fully tracked and can be followed live on the website.

January 1

The first day of Optimist racing in 2011 saw near perfect conditions of 14-16 kts of breeze under sunny skies for the 231 sailors competing in the World Championships in Malaysia. While supporters in Europe and North America where busy ringing in the New Year, sailors in Langkawi were launching for a three race day that would bring the critical first drop into play.

With 15 knots of breeze coming down the course from the noth, the RC had set a start line with ample room and little bias to start the day. The I flag was being flown again and now seems to be a standard feature on the RC boat. The fleet split working up the first beat, with a number of the leaders opting to play the right hand side which has been paying dividends for much of the series to date. The second and third sets of starts of the day played out much the same although the wind did lighten up slightly, and always seemed to be softer at the top of the course.

starting line

The first finish of the day saw boats splitting the course on the last beat and having to work through the next race’s boats on their downwind leg. ESP 1161, Carlos Robles Larente crossed the line first but was scored OCS and thus Bart Lembriex took the bullet in the final tally, SIN 33 Elisa Yuki Yokoyama was poised to take second but had to complete a 720 before finishing and dropped to 4th.

The second flight of races was run in similar conditions, a slightly lighter breeze, but still shifty and having a slight right had side of the course favor.

On the last set of races for the day, a large left hand shift jumbled the flights and saw racers on the right hand side of the course lose their leads to the left hand boats and boats from Race 7B being mixed with the boats from 7C. A number of the regatta leaders were forced to use this race as their drop.

As the racing concluded for the day, Thailand had continued their dominance of the event, but lost a little ground on the day, now holding positions 1,2,10 and 12.

Bart Lambriex was the days winner posting scores of 1,4,3 to move to 7th place overall, and has now had 4 top 5 finishes in a row.


December 31

The competitors awoke to a slightly cloudy day with a light northerly wind on this, the second day of racing at the IODA 2010 World Championships. An early start was scheduled and the competitors made their way to the course in 8-10 knots.

The line had a slight port tack bias, but most of the boats were evenly distributed on the start line and the pin end chaos of day one was absent. The pressure was better up the course but was still nothing approaching what they had seen at the end of racing yesterday.

boats in Malaysia

This was going to be another tough day where consistency would be so very important.

After 5 races, two sailors have begun to edge out in front – Jirawat Jadklay and Noppakao Poonpat both from Thailand. They are closely followed by Juh Yeong Kim from Korea, who has made one of the best ever starts to a world championship for a Korean sailor and then Marvin Frisch, Germany and Odile Van Aanholt from Netherlands Antilles.

A party will be hosted by the organisers tonight to celebrate the New Year and then tomorrow there are three more races scheduled with a 10am start.


December 30

After many days of preparation, measurement and training, the sailors were ready for the start of the Optimist World Sailing Championships. The usual bussle of the boatpark was replaced by deserted tarmac with just the country names and a few scattered boat covers to show that the 231 sailors from 55 countries had ever been there. The relaxed atmosphere of the last few days was replaced with an air of excitement as the fleet, split into 6 divisions (3 starts of 2) left the shore for the first race.

boats in Malaysia

Once afloat the competitors were met with a mixed bag of conditions. A five to seven knot northerly breeze, teased the competitors for the first two flights of races and rewarded those sailors who were able to keep their boats in clear air and moving. The long anchor line of the pin end mark boat, when combined with a slight current pushing the boats back, made things all the more difficult for the sailors, as congestion at the favored pin, was the rule on all the starts for the first two sets of races.

A left hand shift prior to the start of Race 2 required the RC to put the AP up and adjust the course. Most of the fleet seemed to play the middle to left hand side of the course where there looked to be ever so slightly better pressure and something of a consistent lift developing.

boats in Malaysia

Following a series of postponements due to rain and more wind moving in, the race committee finally got the last set of races off in a fresh breeze of 11-13 knots that provided the sailors with much appreciated wind, Once the rain moved through, the winds moderated slightly, but were still stronger than the morning. The right side now seemed to pay dividends and as the fleet crossed tacks, sailors coming in from the right were in the lead and were able to consolidate and carry to the layline.

With the breeze continuing to ease, the first 3 races were completed and the fleet headed home to contemplate the days racing.

For many, the highlight of the day had been the event tracking. The many supporters were able to watch the racing on a large screen provided by the organisers. Once ashore the sailors swopped stories and reviewed the day while watching the race replays.

Racing will start earlier tomorrow as Friday is a religious day here in Malaysia and during the middle of the day the fleet will return ashore, permitting the many Moslem race and event volunteers time to pray.

The tracking will be running live again and you too can watch the action.


December 24

Teams are arriving in Langkawi!!! And boats are already waiting for them.

boats in Malaysia

For many, travelling to Malaysia means a long trip and quite a few hours on an airplane. So several countries have decided to arrive at the venue with ample time to overcome the jet lag, get used to the weather and, of course, get to know the sailing conditions and become familiar with the racing area. From what we've heard, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Netherlands Antilles are already in Langkawi. Is your team there too? Write to us and send a photo to post in our gallery!!

Everything indicates that there will be a record number of countries, many from Asia, up to a total of 56, adding up to 235 sailors. View the entries here.

For those who will follow the event from home, 260 tracking devices have been shipped and we expect to offer tracking from the 30th. Tracking is provided by IODA and hosted by TracTrac, a leading tracking company. You can get ready to view the races online by visiting the event tracking page and downloading the user manual to learn about the viewer and its configuration.