Storms curtail Optimist US Team Race Nationals
Published on July 19th, 2015
Pensacola, FL (July 19, 2015) – The US Optimist Dinghy Association (USODA) National Championship began today with the Team Race Nationals, but irritable weather cut short the progress of the race schedule.
“The Alpha Course and PRO (Principal Race Officer) Dwight LeBlanc got off twelve races in an hour and fifteen minutes and my committee on Bravo got off eleven,” said John Alden Meade, PRO for the Bravo Course. “It is too bad we had to bring the kids in because of lightning. We were getting off eight races or more an hour.”
Circle A Preliminary Qualifying Series overall standings see Fishing Bay Yacht Club, Austin (TX) Yacht Club, Long Island Sound Opti Team Black and Lake Ontario Opti Team 2 leading the way, all tied with two races and two wins.
Circle B Preliminary Qualifying Series overall standings find six teams tied with one race and one win…. Colie Elite Racing Team (CERT), Lakewood Blue, Lake Ontario Opti Team 3 (LOOT 3), Long Island Sound Opti Team Gold, Southern Yacht Club Red and Lake Ontario’s team 1.
Lake Ontario’s three teams are in the top standings on both circles. They got off to a hot start on Circle A with LOOT 2 handily defeating Pensacola Yacht Club A. The three LOOT teams have sailors from Canada, Bermuda and the USA.
All the sailors and race officials and volunteers were disappointed today because they had their sights set on getting in 78 races finished on each course. The day had started off hot and humid with a predicted heat index of 108ºF. As the sea breeze filled in sailing conditions improved and every two or three races the mark boats had to extend the weather legs to keep the races about eight minutes long.
But clouds in the south west were harbingers of the pop-up thunderstorm building in the distance. Racers were called in from the course because of lightning within three miles of Pensacola Bay and when the rain cleared out the rain had killed the thermal and the sea breeze with it.
The USODA Team Race National Championship, the first event of this sailing trifecta of youth championship regattas, is scheduled for July 19-21. Then comes the 86-boat USODA Girls National Championship on Wednesday (July 22) and the boys and girls racing in the 306-boat USODA National Championship on July 23-26.
Event website: www.usoda2015nationals.com
Report by Talbot Wilson.