Racing begins at Optimist North Americans
Published on June 27th, 2017
Toronto, Ontario (June 27, 2017) – The 2017 Optimist North American Championship got underway today for 178 sailors representing 20 countries. Qualifying races are planned for the first two days, with Peter Foley (USA) leading followed by Lorenzo Balestrin (BRA), and Owen Hennessey (USA).
Athletes sailed the chilly waters of Lake Ontario around a single course in three separate flights – Yellow, Blue and Red – to determine who will be the 2017 North American Champion.
The race course was located to the south of Toronto Island on Lake Ontario with the Toronto skyline standing proudly in the background. The fleet racing series was stationed in the lake to maximize the wind strength and help stabilize the conditions. Winds averaged today between 10 to 13 knots with minimal waves, however passing weather systems influenced wind direction, resulting in some of the legs of the race being adjusted.
Enthusiasm got the better of some athletes as a general recall was called for Race 1 of the Yellow flight, followed by a black flag start. Once the Yellow flight started racing with a clean start, Blue and Red flights followed around the course. Top countries finished today included Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Peru, United States, and US Virgin Islands.
Due to the challenging wind conditions, each flight completed two races on this first day of the qualifying series. Despite the wet weather, athletes raced an average of five hours on the race course and were greeted with hot chocolate and a warm snack when they returned to shore.
After two days of qualifying races athletes will be ranked and split into gold, silver and bronze fleets for the finals on Friday and Saturday. Three races will be planned for Wednesday in order to get enough races in for the qualifiers.
Racing continues to July 1.