Storms postpone Optimist US Nationals
Published on July 24th, 2015
Pensacola, FL (July 24, 2015) – Once more lightning has cut a day short in the 2015 USODA National Championship.
The total fleet of 278 sailors were divided into new groups for the second day of the competition, with the sailors assigned into different groups for each day of the Qualifying Rounds.
The fourth set of races was completed in good order, but when the fifth set boats were on the course, a thunderstorm moved toward the bay from the northwest.
By Opti Championship rules, when lightning is visible the race is abandoned. Therefore, races in the fifth set for the Pink and Purple groups do not count and will be re-sailed on Saturday.
Once the fifth set of qualifying flights are raced, the sailors will be redivided into Medal groups, with the top 33% of the competitors advancing to gold and silver for the rest.
The top three after combined preliminary results with four flights for each group saw Luke Arnone of Mantoloking Yacht Club CERT in first at 2-2-1-1 and 6 points. Tayte Stefaniuk of Bermuda’s Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club LOOT dropped to second with scores of 1-1-2-3 and 7 points. Third is Brice Tone of Sarasota Yacht Club with 2-5-3-2 and 12points.
Big changes will come in the standings when the sailors get in their fifth race and can drop their worst score. Some of the top sailors in the championship were black flagged Thursday for being over the starting line within a minute of the start will be able to throw out 94 points.
Winds for the day were like Jekyll and Hyde — a nice 7 knots from 270º from 12 to 2PM and and a gusty sea breeze from 185º that gusted from 16 to about 18 knots.
Racing starts sat noon on Saturday.
Report by Talbot Wilson.
Background: The USODA Team Race National Championship had 26 teams racing on July 19-21, which was followed by the 81-boat USODA Girls National Championship on Wednesday (July 22). The finale is the boys and girls racing in the 278-boat USODA National Championship on July 23-26.