Visit Pensacola

Optimist US Nationals coming to Florida

Published on July 2nd, 2018

Pensacola Yacht Club believes they have the best venue and will be showing it off July 14-22 for the Optimist US National Championship.

“Of all the bays in the (Florida) panhandle, Pensacola Bay is the best,” said Hal Smith, the PYC fleet captain. “The depth, the lack of current, the access to Pensacola Beach and the Gulf of Mexico … it’s a dream place to host these type of events.”

In 2015, the PYC hosted the Optimist Nationals with an estimated economic impact of $1.2 million, when 323 young sailors participated. The Pensacola Sports Association believes this year’s event for sailors age 8-15 could have an economic impact of $1.98 million.

It’s a massive undertaking that encompasses a lot of different groups and efforts, not to mention a recent, $1.3 million upgrade to the PYC’s marina, and the incorporation of the U.S. Sailing Events app.

There are 20 committee chairs for the Optimist Nationals with almost 100 volunteers and between 40-60 safety and support boats working at all times. There’s even going to be a Kona Shaved Ice Truck available to the sailors all seven days of competition thanks to a generous donation from a parent, and over 2,000 sandwiches from Subway for the participants.

“You don’t want to be up at 5 a.m. with that big bottle of mayo, making sandwiches,” said Optimists Nationals Chairman Tom Pace. “Let me tell you, that is not the fun part.”

The championship week will be divided into three events with the largest, the Nationals on July 15-18, with 275 entrants. The focus then shifts to the Girls Nationals on July 19 with 70 entrants and the Team Race Nationals on July 20-22 for 24 teams.


Source: Pensacola News Journal

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