THE conclusion of a breezy week for the Volvo Gill Optimist British National and Open Championships saw Jamie Cook taking his third consecutive national championship title.

Cook, from Cardiff Bay Yacht Club, won the British junior national title at Pwllheli in 2015 and has now retained for a second year the senior national title he won at Largs in 2016.

More than 380 Optimist sailors from home and abroad competed at this year’s National and Open Championships at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy.

Competitors included 91 overseas sailors representing 16 nations who travelled to take part, attracted by the world-class racing and the chance to race against Britain’s best up and coming talent.

Cook will be one to watch in the future, along with other top sailors currently coming up through the ranks of the British fleet.

Third overall in the GBR national championship was Will Pank (Norfolk Broads Yacht Club) – who in July achieved one of the best ever results in recent years for GBR at the Optimist world championships in Thailand, finishing 19th overall out of a fleet of 281 entries from 62 countries.

GBR’s India Page-Wood (Hayling Island Sailing Club) meanwhile has just claimed the Optimist European Championship girls’ title at Bourgas on the Black Sea in Bulgaria, which had 260 sailors from 40+ countries.

The Optimist dinghy celebrates its 70th anniversary this year and is the largest international junior class, with many of its top sailors going on to prove themselves as Olympic and professional sailors.

Former Optimist sailors include many of Rio’s Olympic gold medallists – including GBR’s Hannah Mills, Saskia Clark and Giles Scott – and quadruple Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup sailor Ben Ainslie.

International Optimist Class Association UK President Andy Felton said: “We currently have an extremely strong fleet of Optimist sailors in Britain with much to look forward to for British sailing.

"We’re incredibly proud of this summer’s results - our national championships had a strong international fleet, while on the world stage we’re showing that our young talent has what it takes to reach the very top of the sport.

“The Optimist class is a fleet for junior sailors up to the age of 15 but when it comes to major championships they’re sailing long and hard hours in big numbers, sometimes in top-end extreme conditions.

"For all of our young sailors it’s a huge achievement to be competing successfully in a class like this, and it gives them an unrivalled opportunity to develop their skills as both athletes and tacticians.”