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Gala opening ceremony featuring US America's Cup Challenger

by Talbot Wilson / PYC 12 Jul 11:29 PDT 20-22 July 2018
The Optimist Nationals at Pensacola Yacht Club are really three championships sailed in a week— the Optimist National Championship, the Optimist Girls National Championship, and the Optimist Team Race National Championship. © Talbot Wilson

Join the 300 young Optimist National Sailors, their siblings, parents, coaches to celebrate International Optimist Dinghy sailing in Pensacola and learn about American Magic, the New York Yacht Club's U.S. challenge for the 36th America's Cup.

It's happening in Downtown Pensacola at the Gala Opening of the 2018 Optimist Nationals this Saturday evening at 5:30 in the Saenger Theater.

Sailors from the four corners of the U.S. and 12 foreign countries including far away Dubai and Australia will wave their state, country and yacht club flags in a group photo shoot on the steps of the old Pensacola courthouse at 5PM, Saturday July 14. The group will then walk together up Palafox Place to the 2018 Optimist Nationals Opening Ceremony at Pensacola's Historic Saenger Theater.

At 5:30 PM, Mayor Ashton Hayward, Pensacola Yacht Club Commodore Jim Reeves, honored guests and 2018 Optimist Nationals Chairman Tom Pace, Jr. will welcome some 300 young sailors to Pensacola for the week-long sailing extravaganza with three national championship events organized by Pensacola Yacht Club and the US Optimist Dinghy Association (USODA).

Principals and team members of the New York Yacht Club American Magic, U.S. Challenger for the 36th America's Cup, will make the Keynote Presentation.

They will inspire these young sailors to pursue their sailing dreams on a path to international competition such as the America's Cup and the Olympics. American Magic will compete in the next America's Cup Challenger series. The team plans to win that challenger series and represent the U.S.A. and New York Yacht Club in the 36th America's Cup Finals in New Zealand.

Team members who will tell the American Magic story to the young sailors, coaches, families and friends of the America's Cup include:

  • Hap Fauth (Naples, FL), Team Principal and CEO of American Magic.
  • Phil Lotz (Fort Lauderdale, FL), the 65th Commodore of the New York Yacht Club
  • Bora Gulari (Detroit, MI) Helmsman and Tactics
  • Caleb Paine (San Diego, CA) Grinder

Sailors and guests will get an inside look at the team's progress, design challenges and the process of building their 75 foot foiling monohull yachts and training for the assault for the America's Cup Challenge over the next three years.

Following the presentation, one and only one lucky competitor will win a fully rigged McLaughlin Race Opti powered by a Quantum Optimist Radial Black Sail— the competitor has to be present to win.

The 2018 Optimist Nationals... the Optimist National Championship (July 15-18), the Optimist Girls National Championship (July 19), and the Optimist Team Race National Championship (July 20-22) at Pensacola Yacht Club will officially open following the ceremony.

To follow the event action Download the US Sailing Events App available for free download to your smart devices. The 2018 Optimist Nationals in Pensacola is a featured event. Getting App'd up is simple... Open the App Store, search for US Sailing Events, touch "GET" and install.

From there you can select Your Events... Optimist... and you are set to go. This site is a content aggregator so you will have access from this one site to the event website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. Video and photo links will be posted and daily results and final standings will be at the fingertips of spectators anywhere as well.

Mike Waters, Chief Technology Officer for US Sailing says, "Make the most of your experience at the 2018 Optimist National Championships and download the customized event app provided by US Sailing. The app offers spectators, sailors and race organizers a stream for specific communications about the event, including start changes, venue changes, postponements, and protest locations. Important information from the official Notice Board will be posted to the app for better accessibility and knowledge share."

"The app also features real-time scoring updates and standings." Mike points out. "We want sailors and friends of sailors and sailing to join the conversation and track social media posts about the event. Using the app is a one-stop-shop for all the buzz at Pensacola's 2018 Optimist Nationals."

The Opening Ceremony will be live streamed worldwide over Facebook. See Optimist Nationals

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