Three-peat for Fishing Bay Yacht Club

Published on November 12th, 2017

Six talented Optimist teams from across North America met for the 3rd annual Optimist Pram Team Invitational (OPTI) on November 11-12 in Hilton Head Island, SC.

This event provides a platform for yacht club teams to compete against one another on a level playing field. It breaks from traditional Optimist 4v4 team racing and uses the standard 3v3 format used in high school, college, and adult team racing.

The OPTI mimics the Rolex Cup, New York Yacht Clubs’ premier One Design club vs club international event as teams compete in 18 new ZForce Optimists with matching sails, spars, and blades provided by Zim Sailing for use without a fee.

The South Carolina Yacht Club sent invitations to several yacht club across North American. Based on resume, The Florida Yacht Club (FL), Royal Canadian Yacht Club (Ontario), American Yacht Club (NY), South Carolina Yacht Club (SC), Annapolis Yacht Club (MD), and two-time defending champions, Fishing Bay Yacht Club (VA) were selected to compete for the Paul Miller Perpetual Trophy.

Several competitors at this year’s OPTI train with the USODA National and Development teams and represent their country internationally.

Fishing Bay YC, comprised of Guthrie Braun who placed 4th at the USODA Nationals and Tommy Sitzmann who finished 2nd at the USODA ACC’s, have made numerous National Teams and set the bar high. The Annapolis team comprised of twins Matt and Nick Budington have traveled internationally with team USA and looked to dethrone the defending champions. The all-girl team from the Royal Canadian YC, also with international team familiarity hoped to make a run at the finals. The South Carolina YC team lead by team USA member Thomas Mazzeo, hoped to guide the young SCYC sailors to their first ever finals.

Saturday morning (Nov. 11) were greeted with a strong current and 10-20 mph winds from the north east which created an unforgiving wind across current race course. However, the conditions were perfect for the starboard box course which nearly allowed the race committee to complete a double rotation on day one. The course, set close to the slipway piers, allowed easy viewing with a bird’s eye view of the action.

Sunday saw champagne conditions with an 8-14 mph easterly. The second rotation was quickly completed which provided the following standings going into the knock out rounds. Fishing Bay Yacht Club was in the lead with 9 points, Annapolis Yacht Club 7 points, South Carolina Yacht Club 7 points, Florida, and Royal Canadian Yacht Club were tide with 3 points, and American Yacht Club had 1.

Semifinal knock out (2 vs. 3 and 1 vs. 4), Best of five races:
South Carolina YC: 3
Annapolis YC: 2

Fishing Bay YC:3
Florida YC: 0

Finals, best out of five races
Fishing Bay YC: 3
South Carolina YC: 0

Consolation Race:
Florida YC: 1
Annapolis YC: 0

Congratulations to Fishing Bay Yacht Club sailors, Guthrie Braun, Josh Bendura, and Tommy Sitzmann who won the Paul Miller trophy for the 3rd consecutive year.

The OPTI is open to yacht clubs across North America. Team members must have been a member at their respective clubs for 1 year prior to the OPTI.

Send an email to if you have a team interested in competing. Additionally, invitations to apply are sent in April. For more information, visit the OPTI Facebook page . The South Carolina Yacht Club will be hosting the USODA 2018 Team Race Midwinters on January 12-15.

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