Luke Arnone leads qualifying at Optimist US Nationals
Published on July 25th, 2015
Pensacola, FL (July 25, 2015) – Sailors in the Optimist US National Championship had another long wait before getting races started on Day 3, but it was worth it. By getting the fifth race for each of the split #3 Divisions — pink, purple and yellow — all sailors will now be able to drop one race from the qualifying round. That’s what many sailors were working for because they had carried a black flag penalty with 94 points or other penalties in their 4-race total.
After finishing Qualifying Race Five, Principal Race Officer (PRO), Ron Hopkins, quickly got racing started again for Flight Six to give the sailors one more score to “let the cream rise to the top,” as he explained it.
The top three after the combined unofficial, preliminary Qualifying results with six flights finished saw Luke Arnone of Mantoloking Yacht Club CERT in first at 2-2-1-1-(drop 7)-2 and 8 points. Emma Cowles, Larchmont YC LISOT was second with (drop 20\ZFP)-1-1-5-2-1 and Tayte Stefaniuk of Bermuda’s Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club LOOT goes on in third place with scores of 1-1-2-3- (drop 41)-7 and 14 points.
The top 93 (33%) of the sailors move into the Gold Division of the medal round. The other sailors will be equally divided between Silver ‘A’ sand Silver ‘B’.
A protest stemming from the storm on Friday had kept the jury busy last night. When the fifth set was attempted that day a thunderstorm moved toward the bay from the northwest. At the time, Pink and Purple had finished their fifth races but yellow was still on the course.
By Opti Championship rules, when lightning is visible the race is abandoned. Therefore, to keep the competitors racing in the same conditions, races in the fifth set for the Pink and Purple groups did not count, so they could all be re-sailed together.
Nineteen sailors requested redress, or compensation, for the good scores they had in those races and wanted the PRO to keep the Pink and Purple results and just sail Yellow on Thursday morning. A public Redress hearing was required and held by Chief Judge Mike Posey. The young sailors posed their cases before all the competitors. The PRO’s decision was upheld by the jury and all races of Set Five were re-sailed on Saturday.
The final day of racing starts early Sunday morning if the wind cooperates. The first warning on the course is scheduled for 0900.
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.