Young Itchenor sailor reigns in Spain

Arthur Fry shows his finesse in the event in Spain
Arthur Fry shows his finesse in the event in Spain

Itchenor Sailing Club’s Arthur Fry has won the prestigious Trofeo Cuitat de Vigo in his Optimist.

It’s one of four high-ranking events held in Spain each winter for Optimists, Lasers and 420s and attended by the top sailors from across Europe.

They offer guaranteed wind and warmer temperatures and give sailors aiming for Euro and world teams a chance to test themselves against each other.

This was the first event of the 2014-15 season and Fry is off to Palma, Majorca, for the second event in early December and to Torrevieja in January and Palamos in February.

Fry and his two brothers are ISC members specialising in Mirrors. Over the years, he has stood in as helm and crew for various members of the Taylor family at Itchenor fortnight.

His main boat has always been the Optimist, which he started to sail at the age of seven. He started competing nationally aged 11, making his way into the RYA Optimist national squad for the past two years.

He has had a busy year on the international and national circuit. At Easter he was selected as a member of a GB team to attend the Braassememeer Easter Regatta in Holland, an invitation only event for top European sailors, where he came 18th our of 210 sailors.

In July he was a member of an eight-strong GB team at the French nationals, where he came 13th out of 200-plus boats in a very strong international fleet.

As well as representing GB, Fry has competed at a number of other European events, including the Topsport Regatta in Flanders, the Swiss nationals and the Belgian nationals, where he gained bronze and sailed the event for Bart’s Bash.

He is also due at the Australian nationals in Freemantle, Western Australia, in January 2015.

Fry won the Warsash and Bosham Optimist opens, was second at the Chichester Optimist open and third at the Hayling Optimist open, giving him the overall RYA southern travellers’ championship for 2014.

Competing at this level requires a considerable amount of training and, in addition to the national squad training, Fry is out on the water most weekends with a small group of Optimist sailors, sailing out of Itchenor or Lymington, and at Weymouth when the schedule allows.

His coach is a Belgian ex-worlds Laser and 420 champion who now specialises in Optimist coaching.

Next year will be his last in Optimist and he hopes to make either the worlds or European teams at the selections event in May. After that he plans to move on to the Laser 4.7.