Top Optimist Sailor enjoys challenges ahead

Thorwen Uiterwaal (F1De) is ranked No. 1 in Hong Kong for this sport!

After having a lot of training and hard work, Thorwen Uiterwaal, F1 De, is now the number 1 ranking Optimist Sailor in Hong Kong.

Thorwen will be representing Hong Kong more frequently in overseas regattas. He is 1 of the 2 sailors that has been selected by the Hong Kong Sailing Federation (HKSF) to represent Hong Kong during the 16th Asian Sailing Championship 2014 in Incheon, Korea. The regatta will take place from 1 – 6 July 2014.

Another regatta he will be attending is RS Feva World Championships 26 July – 1 August 2014 in Carnac, France.
Thorwen, 12, who comes from an expat family from the Netherlands, said he is happy for being the first for the sport in Hong Kong. He started learning Optimist Sailing when he was 10, after he was found doing well in another kind of boat and was asked to try this smallest kind of racing boat, which has an age limit for kids under 16.

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Thorwen loves Optimist Sailing so much that he practices a lot. Hard work and talent enabled him to achieve excellent results. His ranking soared from 13th last year to 1st this year among other 80 players of the same age group in Hong Kong.

When asked why he succeeded, he believed the key is working hard. "I practice a lot, on every weekend and every holiday when I don't need to go to school.''

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Optimists are small sailing crafts designed for kids. They can handle them without danger, fear or back-strain. Thorwen is clearly an optimist. He said that the sport made him not only becoming stronger physically, but also becoming tougher mentally, as he has to deal with expected and unexpected changes in the sea, such as changes in the wind direction. It enabled him to become tougher in coping with difficulties in his daily life.

"I enjoy sailing because it's so tough, it's challenging. It's not easy and takes a lot of time, but I don't want just to be sitting at home and doing nothing. The sport also allows me to make quite a lot of friends.''

His family supports him a lot in sailing. But as a student, he and his family also want him to do well academically. Therefore, he has promised his parents for studying hard, otherwise, he would stop practicing. "As I don't want to quit sailing, I would study hard as well.'' He added that he is happy with his sailing result, but he also feels a bit pressure to keep it up.

Thorwen hopes that he will do well in the coming international regattas.