Skunked at Optimist US Nationals

Published on July 16th, 2018

Pensacola, FL (July 16, 2018) – AP flew over Alpha today at the Optimist US Nationals as conditions kept the fleet of 256 competitors onshore for the second day of the event.

The race committee, led by Hal Smith PYC Fleet Captain and fleet racing Principal Race Officer (PRO), first hoisted the AP flag announcing a general postponement at 9:30am due to lack of steady winds barely approaching the 4 knot minimum.

Regatta Chairman Tom Pace, Jr. said, “The challenge was that if we could just squeeze one more set in now, then we could divide the whole fleet into the Gold and Silver fleets, but they can only do that after we have a total of five sets completed. The problem is that we have stormy weather coming in with lightning and rain.

“Two storm cells are about to merge and we have the sea breeze fighting this local system, so we have a north and south wind struggle. Out in the bay there simply isn’t enough steady wind and it’s doing fifty degree shifts from 80º to 130º. You cannot set a fair race course in this breeze. And safety of our young sailors in event of lightning has to be a primary concern.”

At noon, Green Fleet Chairman Bert Rice Jr. postponed all of the day’s racing for the novice sailors. The championship fleet’s PRO officially postponed the races for today at 1:20pm.

Once the fifth qualifying race is completed, the championship group will be divided into Gold and Silver Fleets. The top 33% will reach Gold and sail in a single division for the regatta’s top prize. The remainder will sail in the Silver Fleet in two divisions.

The 2018 Optimist National Championship is also a 2019 USODA Team Trials Qualifying event. The top 50% of Championship Fleet’s team trial eligible competitors based on the final results and using the total number of boats registered in both the Championship and Green Fleets, may receive invitations to compete in the 2019 USODA Optimist Team Trials.

After the four sets of races that were completed yesterday, Stephan Baker leads the 256-boat field after four races. Baker rolled a 1-4-2-1 to lead by one point over Malthe Ebdrup (DEN) in second with Peter Foley 10 points off the lead in third. Samara Walsh, the top girl so far, is in fourth with 21 points (10,7,2,2).

Racing in the four-day Optimist Nationals continues tomorrow and concludes July 18. The 2018 Optimist Girls National Championship will be sailed Thursday July 19 and the 2018 Optimist Team Race National Championship will run on July 20-22.

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

Source: Pensacola Yacht Club

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