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U.S. dominates International Marco Rizzotti Optimist Team Race Regatta

Published on May 15th, 2013

Lauderdale Yacht Club (LYC) won the three day, invitation only, International Marco Rizzotti Opti Team Race Championship last weekend in Venice, Italy, against 17 teams from five countries. Coral Reef Yacht Club (CRYC) was second, an unprecedented result for the United States at the Opti-world’s most prestigious team racing regatta.

LYC and CRYC had qualified to represent the United States at the USODA Mid-Winter Team Racing Championships. Competing for LYC were Calli Lewis, Sophia Reineke, Alie Toppa, Liza Toppa and Mack Fox. Competing for CRYC were Sean Brenan, Sean Harvey, Eddie Mintzias, Ivan Shestopalov and Wiley Rogers.

The format was to sail a complete round robin series – over 130 races – which went well into Sunday. The seeding after the round robin would determine which top two teams would advance to the finals and a chance to win.

LYC started the final day in 3rd place with a 10-3 record. Slovenia was 2nd with a 10-2 record and CRYC had the lead at 12-0. By the 3 PM Sunday deadline, CRYC had lost only a single race and finished at 15-1. LYC swept their Sunday races and had to rely on other teams to lose, which they did, allowing LYC to squeak into the finals by a single percentage point.

The best of 3 finals started in a dying five knot southwest breeze. CRYC won the first race. LYC won the second, setting up a final winner take all race. It was a close all the way around. At the final mark 4, CRYC had a winning combination. LYC started a fierce tacking duel on the last beat, and the fleet condensed again at the finish. With the lead CRYC boats finishing 1-2, the last 6 boats finished closely overlapped with neither team knowing who won. After about 40 seconds, the RC signaled LYC had the winning combination. According to the RC, the margin of victory was about 30 CM, less than a foot.

This is the third time LYC has won the Marco Rizzotti Trophy in the last five years, and due to sizing or aging out, it was the last Opti Regatta for all the LYC sailors. CRYC won the sportsmanship award and should have another strong team to compete next year, while LYC is reloading.

Photos of the winning LYC team.


Rizzotti Prize Giving (2)

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