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Hodgson to tackle Optimist Asian Championship

  • Aussie kids sail numbers for charter Optimists at Asian Championship (Photo by 1011652_361090237357992_721725696_n)
Hodgson to tackle Optimist Asian Championship

Queensland Sailing Development Squad member and young Optimist class sailor, James Hodgson, is at the 2013 Optimist Asian Championship in Hayama, Japan.

This is his second time at the event having represented Hong Kong in 2012. The 13-year-old qualified for this year’s event by placing tenth in 2012 Optimist class Australian Championship.

Hodgson has started his last week of preparation, before racing starts on Saturday, with a three-day Australian Team training camp designed to help his fellow team members to familiarise themselves with each other as some of the racing is in a Teams Racing format.

The young sailors will also spend time acclimatising themselves to the 90 per cent humidity and 30 degree heat. The youth are expecting to race in eight to 10 knots, with chance of stronger 20 knots winds later in the week.

Hodgson’s father, Mike, said the stronger winds are preferable for James. “We are hoping for as much strong wind as possible as James has grown quite a bit taller and a little heavier since the Australian nationals in January. He is now about 10kg over the optimal weight for an Optimist which will make him one of the heavier sailors in the fleet.”

Hodgson has had a busy six months preparing for the Asian Championship. “He finished his preparation last week with a clean sweep in the Optimist class at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron Frostbite Series.

“James has also been racing monthly at Maroochydore Sailing Club in addition to his regular school racing at Mooloolaba Yacht Club in the 505 dinghies where he has dominated, helming the Flinders team over the past six-monthly race days.

“He also has been attending monthly the Queensland State Development Squad training weekends in Brisbane, sailing a 420 with Klaus Lorenz from Whitsunday Sailing Club. So he has spent plenty of time on the water, but not all in the Optimist. The early arrival in Japan and the team training will get him tuned back into the Optimist.

“He is hoping to better his 52nd place in last year’s Asian Championship. There will be over 150 entrants so James will be trying to make up for his size disadvantage with the improvement in his technical and tactical skills gained over the past year,” Mike said.

The Asian Championship will be James’s last Optimist class event. He will then turn his focus to the 420 class and the chance to qualify for the next Youth Worlds.

You can send messages and follow the Australian Team on their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Australian-Optimist-Asians-Team-2013/356982127768803 or follow results on the event website at https://sites.google.com/site/iodaasian2013/

By Tracey Johnstone