1 week to the start: 800 already pre-registered

Wed, 25/03/2015

With less than a week until the 33rd Garda Optimist Meeting over 800 participants have already pre-registered.

After an absence of 25 years, South Africa returns represented by Alex Falcon.

The Guinness World Record event will be preceded by the 1st Country Cup Meeting a regatta competed by nations.

A film crew from Rai 1 will be on hand to record an episode for the Linea Blu programme while the last two days of the event will be broadcast on streaming.

The 33rd edition of the Garda Optimist Meeting gets under way in just a few days with the official start on Wednesday, 1st April. This sailing extravaganza holds a Guinness World Record as being the largest regatta of a single class in the world which will be preceded on Wednesday, 1st April for the first time by the “1st Country Cup Meeting”, a regatta for the Optimist fleet representing nations endorsed by the national associations of the Optimist class in each country. The impressive opening ceremony is scheduled for late afternoon in the historic old town of Riva del Garda. So far 14 countries have pre-registered for this new regatta but more are sure to sign up. Three regattas are scheduled and will be monitored by judges who will be on the look-out for any eventual infraction of the rules.
Twenty seven countries, however have pre-registered for the Garda Optimist Meeting,( with the opening regatta scheduled for Thursday, 2nd April at 13.00 hr)). This event is now famous throughout the world and has become the ambassador of Fraglia Vela Riva, the town of Riva and Lake Garda, Trentino. The spectacular sight of so many little sails has also caught the attention of the national media. The 33rd Garda Optimist Meeting will, in fact ,be the main feature in the first episode of Linea Blu which goes on air on Saturday, April 11th. The popular programme of Rai 1, which highlights the marvels of our country, will bring the emotions and dreams of the young competitors, as well as the beauty of this area, to the small screen.  Not to mention the organisational efforts of Fraglia Vela Riva, the dedication of directors and parents who give their utmost and of course the ever present wind of Northern Lake Garda.
Among the nations making a comeback after many years of absence, is South Africa who took part in the very first editions of the event. This year, however, Alex Falcon will fulfil his dream by making the journey from Cape Town to Riva del Garda  to represent his country after an absence of 25 years. “I can't wait to race at the Garda Meeting because I've heard that it's a regatta with so many boats on a lake surrounded by beautiful landscape with high, steep mountains that reach all the way down to the water. In South Africa the Optimist regattas have 30 boats at the most. The class with the highest number of boats is the Mirror. For the National and World Championships they have around 70/80 boats maximum. To be in the middle of around 1000 boats will be an incredible experience for me. The wind doesn't worry me though, because in Cape Town to race with winds of 30 knots is quite normal and even water isn't that warm! South Africans don't travel much for regattas: I think that's why they aren't very strong. They lack international experience and that's what makes you grow as a competitor.” said Alex a few days before leaving for Italy.

So far over 800 participants have pre-registered: 196 cadets (9-11 years) and 655 juniors (12-15 years), representing 27 countries with Germany and Italy having the largest number, together with Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark. Among the furthest countries are South Africa and the U.S.

As well as the Province of Trento and the Italian Sailing Federation, Fraglia Vela Riva is also supported by local local institutions of the council of Riva, Ingarda, Riva del Garda Fiere e Congressi, Kinder + Sport who will provide coverage of the last two days of the event on streaming. ITAS Insurance is also a partner of Fraglia Vela Riva.
After an absence of 25 years a helmsmen from South Africa returns to Riva del Garda; Here's Alex Falcon in action: