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USODA Southeast Championship - Lightning limits day 1 racing

by Talbot Wilson on 22 Sep 2013
Optis away. The first race in the US Optimist Dinghy Association Southeast Championship got underway under a general recall after two general recalls led to a black flag start. 107 young 8-15 year old Red, White and Blue fleet sailors are in the in the champiomnship. 31 are in the beginners in the Green Fleet. Talbot Wilson - Copyright
At the US Optimist Dinghy Association Southeast Championship, two leaders emerged following the one ’set’ that was sailed on the first day. The fleet is divided into four divisions. Pink Sailed against Purple and Yellow sailed against Lt. Blue today in the first set today. According to provisional results, Sebastian Clark of Key Biscayne Yacht Club, Key Biscayne, FL finished first in the initial race and Dylan Ascencios of Lakewood Yacht Club, was first in the final race of the set.

Since there are four divisions, scoring is quite complicated. After all the completed sets are scored the low point boat wins. If there is a tie, it will be broken under the process outlined in the Racing Rules of sailing.


The first race was delayed about 35 minutes waiting on wind to fill in. When it did the skippers were so anxious to get going that they forced two general recalls. On the third attempt, PRO John Matthews hoisted the black flag of sudden death and got a good start away with five unfortunately aggressive boats disqualified for being over early… OCS.

The Yellow vs Lt Blue divisions race, the second race of the set, got off without incident. Those sailors had been in the waiting area watching the first racers push the line to the limit. This is big regatta and an OCS in the first race is an albatross to carry to the end.


Just after all 107 boats finished their first race, a frontal system squall sporting 20kt winds and driving rain hit the fleet. More storms were expected along with possible lightning, so the Race Committee brought the youngsters ashore for safety. With little improvement expected, racing was finally delayed till Sunday, but with a 1hr earlier starting time.

PRO John Matthews said, 'We just want to make sure we make the safe decision for these young sailors. They could have raced in these winds this afternoon but they couldn’t see the weather mark in the rain. Tomorrow we’ll get in some great Pensacola Bay racing.'

After the front passes overnight, winds in Pensacola are expected to be somewhat brisk northerly in the morning and ease through the afternoon. Racing on Sunday cannot start after Event website

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