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Registration opens for 2018 Optimist U.S. Nationals at Pensacola Yacht Club

by Talbot Wilson 22 Feb 2018 05:44 PST 13-22 July 2018
Team Racing is a highlight of all the Optimist Nationals. Two teams of four boats each go head to head. © Talbot Wilson

Registration is now open online at www.usoda.org for the three-event 2018 Optimist Nationals scheduled for July 13-22 at Pensacola Yacht Club (PYC) in Northwest Florida. A separate Notice of Race for each of these three national events is also posted on the site.

All qualified Opti sailors, not just sailors from the USA, are invited to come to beautiful North West Florida for great sailing on Pensacola Bay in the four-day Optimist National Championship, the one-day Optimist Girls National Championship, and the three-day Optimist Team Race National Championship. Check out PYC's event site usoda2018optinationals.com and on Facebook at USODA Nationals for updates and details.

Pensacola Yacht Club is waiting with warm water, warm hospitality, lots of cool fun and big plans for a fantastic regatta. This will be a week-long sailing spectacular on Pensacola Bay showcasing the nation's best and some of the world's best young International Optimist Dinghy sailors aged 8 to 15 years old. Beginners can gain regatta experience in Green Fleet racing, too.

"We hope Opti parents will go online to register early," said Race Chairman Tom Pace, Jr. "Planning is underway for another first class regatta at the South's finest yacht club. Racing will be exceptional... as usual... and our pool, dining facilities and the 2017's 'Best Yachting Bar' are here for the whole family."

Organizers expect between 350 to 450 young sailors, one coach per 10 participants, plus the sailor's parents and family. Promotion for the event urges— "Bring the whole family for a Florida Beach Vacation."

All registration is online at www.usoda.org. Check-in and measurement for these strict one-design eight-foot prams will be July 13-14. Racing is scheduled for July 15-22, 2018.

This year, in a change from previous years, the overall Optimist National Championship leads the schedule on July 15-16-17-18. The Optimist Girls National Championship will be sailed July 19 and the Optimist Team Race Championship wrap up the action July 20-21-22. Prizes are awarded after each event.

Participants are urged to make hotel or rental reservations early because July is 'high season' in Pensacola. Also, the very popular "Blue Angels" summer airshow at Pensacola Beach is Saturday, July14th. Make reservations through Pensacola's central tourism bureau at www.VisitPensacola.com and get more Pensacola area sports information at www.pensacolasports.org. Pensacola Sports and the Florida Sports Association www.flasports.com both support the Optimist Nationals at PYC.

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 the 2015 Optimist Nationals at PYC will be back with that experience behind them to run a first class regatta that will showcase the club and the Pensacola Bay area as a choice venue for future championship regattas.

Hal Smith, the National Championship and Girls Championship PRO, will be joined by some of the nation's best race officers, umpires and jury members who will come to town to enhance the events. For Team Racing, the PRO for Course A is Dwight Leblanc; and if a Course B is needed, that PRO will be John Alden Meade.

All Opti sailors are invited to come to Pensacola early to practice. Opti racing kicks off this summer at PYC with the USA Junior Olympics-Gulf Coast. Clinics, registration and measurement will be on June 29 and racing is scheduled for June 30 and July 1. Details will be posted at Junior Sailing at PYC.

Optimists, Lasers and Club 420's will be racing in the JO's with the Optis sailing the same official trapezoid course planned for the Nationals. PYC will begin hosting its annual Summer Sailing Camps June 4th to help develop local sailor's skills for the Nationals or to build the beginners confidence up to enter Green Fleet racing during the Nationals.

Registration for the Optimist Nationals on the USODA website, www.usoda.org includes completing the online entry process - including waivers and the medical forms - and, of course, paying the entry fee.

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