2018 Optimist Nationals Coming to Pensacola

Published on November 16th, 2017

Pensacola, FL (November 16, 2017) – The United States Optimist Dinghy Association (USODA) has selected Pensacola Yacht Club (PYC) to host their 2018 Optimist Nationals. This will be a week-long sailing spectacular on Pensacola Bay showcasing the nation’s best International Optimist Dinghy sailors 8 to 15 years old.

The event is really three championships; the overall Optimist National Championship, the Optimist Girls National Championship and the Optimist Team Race National Championship. There will be Green Fleet coaching and racing for beginners, too.

Racing is scheduled for July 15-22, 2018. Practice racing will be offered the week before and with PYC’s US Sailing Junior Olympic sailing festival earlier in July.

This year, in a change from previous years, the overall Opti National Championship will lead the schedule on July 15-16-17-18. The Optimist Girls National Championship will be July 19 and the Optimist Team Nationals will wrap up the action July 20-21-22. Prizes will be awarded after each event. Registration is Saturday July 14th.

Participants are urged to make hotel or rental reservations early because this is ‘high season’ in Pensacola and the very popular “Blue Angles” summer airshow at the beach is Saturday July14th.

Organizers expect between 350 to 450 young sailors, one coach per 10 participants, plus the sailor’s parents and family. The promotion of the event urges; “Bring the whole Family for a Florida Beach Vacation.” Pensacola Yacht Club expects Northwest Florida to host more than 1500 people for the week. The 2018 Optimist Nationals should be the largest sports tourism event of the year in Northwest Florida.

Pensacola YC hosted the Optimist Nationals Championship in 2015. The turnout was spectacular with 323 young sailors entered for the week. The economic impact of the 2015 championships was over $1.2 million for the Pensacola metro area.

Under the direction of Hal Smith, PYC’s Fleet Captain and Principal Race Officer (PRO), many of the 115 volunteers, Race Committee and Race Officers from 2015 will be back with that experience behind them to help run a first class regatta that will once again showcase PYC and the Pensacola area as a choice area for future international regattas.

Tom Pace, Jr is the 2018 Chairman. He’ll be joined by some of the best International and National race officers, umpires and jury members who will come to town to enhance the events.

All qualified Opti sailors, not just sailors from the USA, are invited to come to beautiful NW Florida for great sailing in the National Championship in Pensacola, Florida. Pensacola Yacht Club is waiting with warm water, warm hospitality, lots of cool fun and big plans for a fantastic regatta.

Event DetailsRegistration

2018 Optimist Nationals Schedule:
Measurement and Check-in: Saturday July 14, 0900-1800 hrs.
Optimist National Championship: Sunday July 15 through Wednesday July 18
Opening Ceremony: Sunday morning July 15. prior to Skippers Meeting
Regatta Dinner: Monday evening July 16
Awards Ceremony Wednesday July 18 follows racing
Girls National Championship: Thursday July 19
Racing on Thursday July 19
Awards Ceremony follows racing.
Optimist Team Race National Championship Friday July 20 through Sunday July 22
Racing on Friday July 20, Saturday July 21, and Sunday July 22
Team Race Awards Ceremony Sunday July 22 follows racing

The International Optimist Dinghy, called an Opti, is being raced in over 120 countries by over 160,000 skippers. It is one of only two yachts approved by the International Sailing Federation exclusively for sailors under 16. At the London Olympics, nearly 80% of all boat skippers were former dinghy sailors, most of them having reached international level in the International Optimist Class. Pensacola Junior Yacht Club offers year round sailing instruction and regional competition for the youth of the community.

All qualified Opti sailors, not just sailors from the USA, are invited to come to beautiful NW Florida for great sailing in the 2018 Optimist National Championships in Pensacola, Florida. Pensacola Yacht Club is waiting with warm water, warm hospitality, lots of cool fun and plans for a fantastic regatta.

Source: Talbot Wilson

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