Notes on the Optimist Selection Trials, 1989

Earlier this week I posted a photo quiz, which I thought was tough, but was solved pretty quickly by Tillerman, with my brother filling in the nearly impossible final gaps.

I came across the photo because, with the Olympic Classes racing at Weymouth this week in the last World Cup meeting before Rio 2016, I was reminded that I needed to complete a job that I should have finished some time ago.

Last year I wrote some notes of on the Optimist Selection Trials of 1988, and I intended to follow up with notes on 1989. But I never did.

So I decided to get them done, and came cross the photo.

Weymouth Teams 1989

The photo I posted is on the left, and the Europeans team is on the right.

Incredibly, the 1989 video is even more boring than the 1988 one - at least in '88 it was windy and wavy. This is the full video, but (unless you are particularly masochistic) I don't recommend that you watch it all the way through. However, like the 1988 video, there are some interesting facts about it which I've listed below:

  • None of these future Olympic medallists won the event, though. Jon Gorrod won the seven race series by an impressive 24.7 points, despite winning just one race. He finished in the top 6 in every race, whilst every other sailor had at least two double-digit results. Goes to show that then, like now, consistency counts.
  • With all the controversy over Olympic team selection this year, it is also interesting to note that this isn't a new issue. As you can see from this video, the whole 1989 Optimist selection series was sailed in light winds, but the Worlds that year were sailed in very windy conditions. The team struggled with the 25+ knot breezes, and when the wind dropped on the final day they showed what might have been, recording a 4th, 5th, 13th, 31st and 45th.
    The same issue had occured the previous year, with the selection trials sailed in heavy winds, and the worlds sailed in relatively light breezes. In 1991 the format was changed and the trials were sailed over 3 events in an attempt to mitigate against the problem repeating itself a third time.

I suppose I should mention my own performance. Once again, as with so much of my life, my parents need to take a long, hard look at themselves. The only reason I didn't qualify for a team in '89 was because they failed me: had I been born a girl then I could well have been heading to the Europeans that year. As it was, they decided to have a boy, and so I didn't get anywhere near the boys team, finishing 32nd. Here I am rounding a windward mark in around 10th place - it was about as good as it got for me that week:


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