Islington teenager set for European sailing adventure with GB

Cinar Ege Dortbas in sailing action at Weymouth

Cinar Ege Dortbas in sailing action at Weymouth - Credit: Paul Sanwell/OPP

An Islington youngster is preparing to compete for Great Britain at the Optimist European Sailing Championships next month.

Cinar Ege Dortbas, 15, has been an optimist sailor since the age of seven, having started at the ARM Urla Sailing Club summer school in Izmir, Turkey, and has been picked to race in Denmark from July 30-August 6.

He moved to London with mother Mine Ovacik in September 2019 and enrolled at the City of London Academy in Highbury Grove and is now a year 10 student.

His first sailing experience in the UK came at the 2019 IOCA Winter Championship at Datchet and Mine said: "He was warmly welcomed, provided an optimist boat, transported to the venue and thick wetsuits and other equipment appropriate for the winter for him in his first experience here.

"He learned that sailing in the UK was different than Turkey because of the weather and geography differences, such as colder weather, water, wind, tides.

"And I understood that all sailing training and activities are managed and organised by sailors' parents here, different than Turkey, all organised by club and coaches."

When outdoor sport activities were allowed after the first Covid-19 lockdown, Cinar became a member of the King George Sailing Club in north London, sailing every Sunday.

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He was selected for the RYA regional training group and competed winter training weekends at the Weir Wood, Medway, Newhaven & Seaford and King George clubs, before joining Draycote Sailing Academy earlier this year.

Coached by Steve Irish during the winter season, he raced in almost all IOCA events and earned an invitation to a selection trial for upcoming World and European competitions.

And having finished eighth out of 80 in April, he was picked for the Great Britain optimist team.

"During the last three years, he has been sailing in lakes, reservoirs and ocean to gain more skills and abilities," added Mine.

"I was managing his training and events with limited resources, with the help of fellow parents. The sailing community has always been helpful and the spirit of the sailing culture in the UK welcomed and supported us.

"We are starting a crowdfunding appeal to help us to continue his sailing journey. The fund will be used for travel, training and coaching, equipment and accomodation expenses."

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