Optimist US Nationals comes to Florida
Published on July 14th, 2015
The three-event US Optimist Dinghy Association (USODA) National Championship will be hosted by Pensacola Yacht Club in Pensacola, Florida. Racing starts with the three-day USODA Team Race National Championship July 19-21. The second event, the USODA Girls National Championship, follows on Wednesday July 22 and the big wrap-up is the four-day USODA National Championship sailed July 23-26.
When registration closed July 10, there were 26 teams for the Team Race Nationals with 118 sailors. There were 86 girls in their nationals and 303 boys and girls entered in the overall championship. Sailors are aged from 8 to 15 years old.
The week of daily racing starts Sunday July 19 with the first warning at 10:00AM on Pensacola Bay and continues through the last race of the day. On the last Sunday a new race will not start after 3:30PM to accommodate the prize giving ceremony at Pensacola Yacht Club. On the water spectators are welcome, but must keep well clear of the race course.
Spectators are invited to come to the Pensacola waterfront at Plaza de Luna, Pensacola Maritime Park, Sanders Beach or Pensacola Yacht Club. A ‘Food Truck’ food court will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner daily at Pensacola Yacht Club.
Summer racing conditions on Pensacola Bay are usually predictable. “During the US Sailing Junior Olympic Festival over the 4th of July weekend, the sea breeze filled in to 16-18 kts,” said Jim Baus, PYC’s USODA Opti Nationals Chairman. “That’s quite normal for Pensacola. We often have a northerly land breeze early in the morning that switches around to the south and southwest as the sun heats up the land and the thermal builds. We have a barrier island to the south that protects Pensacola Bay; so even with a fresh breeze, we only get about a one to two foot chop. Pensacola Bay is one of the top one-design sailing venues I’ve seen.”
The 2015 National Championship regatta is a USODA Team Trials Qualifying (TTQ) event. The top 50% of Team Trials eligible Championship Fleet competitors, as defined by the USODA, based on the final results using the total number of boats registered in both the Championship and Green Fleet, are eligible for entry into the 2016 USODA Team Trials. The top team in the Team Race National Championship will be invited to represent the USA at the Opti Team Cup Berlin in October.
Pensacola Yacht Club welcomes all of the young Opti sailors for these elite events from beginners to experts. A ‘beginners’ Green Fleet will race in the shallow waters off Sanders Beach adjacent to Pensacola Yacht Club. In total, PYC expects over 2000 people to be involved in the championships as participants, coaches, race officials, volunteers and parents supporting their young green and championship fleet challengers.
Event website: www.usoda2015nationals.com
Report by Talbot Wilson.