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11th Monaco Optimist Team Race at Yacht Club de Monaco - Overall

by Isabelle Andrieux 12 Jan 23:42 PST 9-12 January 2020
2020 Monaco Optimist Team Race © Yacht Club de Monaco

Organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco with support from FxPro, Eventica, Fon, clothing supplier SLAM and boatyard Erplast, the curtain fell on Sunday on another successful edition of the Monaco Optimist Team Race (MOTR).

This event has become a must in the team racing calendar as a unique opportunity for under-14 sailors from all over the world to compete on equal terms at a venue ideal for big events like this one. "It's always an honour and absolute pleasure to host this regatta," says YCM General Secretary Bernard d'Alessandri. "We are pleased to continue working on this format, the team spirit concept of which is much more advanced than at other events."

No downtime

From start to finish this 11th edition kept its promises with 20 teams in competition from 19 nations represented by 80 young sailors, a first since the event launched in 2009. The exceptional conditions oscillating between 6-15 knots on a flat sea undoubtedly played a big role in the event's success, enabling 207 matches to be completed without a pause over the four days of racing.

Invaluable warm-up

Before racing started on Thursday, some of the teams including Germany, Ukraine, China, The Netherlands, France and Monaco benefited from an International Clinic run by world team race expert Chris Atkins, one of 14 international umpires here for the event.

It was a fantastic warm-up for these teams who spent three intensive days working on starting procedures, race rules, communication and of course teamwork.

Bit between the teeth

Third last year and equal on points with the Swedes from KSSS, the American national team arrived determined not to share but to dominate the podium. In the lead throughout the three-day qualifying round robin phase, they lost only two of their 19 matches, two defeats conceded against the Yacht Club Italiano, then the Ukrainians from the Odessa Black Sea Yacht Club. It was a game of musical chairs for the Monaco team, comprising Noah Garcia, Leonardo Bonelli, and Alessandro and Matteo Asscher. At the end of the first day they were lying 4th behind the Finns from Helsingfors Segelklubb, then looked like posing a threat to the top trio on Friday as they rose to 3rd in the provisional ranking, before being over-taken by the Ukrainians on day three of the qualifying phase.

Suspenseful final day

The suspense was all over in a few hours on Sunday with final victory going to the United States. Leaders in the overall ranking from the start, the team from across the Atlantic well deserved their first place against fierce competition from a driven Swedish team always hot on their heels. Monaco finally snatched 3rd place from the Ukrainians, disappointed to see a podium finish slip from their grasp.

International orientation

Always striving to boost international relations, the Yacht Club de Monaco plays a key role in the Principality's reputation abroad. This year an exchange between Monaco and China sees the first three teams in the Monaco Optimist Team Race 2020 heading to Sanya in August 2020 to the Visun Royal Yacht Club, which is also a member of La Belle Classe Destinations, the YCM's label of excellence for marinas and yacht clubs.

All three have been invited to take part in the Monaco Optimist Team Race China Regional Qualification Trail. The final regatta at the Sanya club comes after four qualifying contests held in China, and decides who will make up the Chinese team for the following year's MOTR. This year Lu Saiya and Chen Nan (Ironrock Sailing Club - Xiamen), Chen Qiyun (Fuzhou DH Yo Sailing Club - Fuzhou) and Luo Tianxuan (Visun Royal Yacht Club - Hainan) proved the best and were here in Monaco as a result.

Peace through sport

Above all the MOTR is an occasion for competitors to get together, as evidence by the opening ceremony when everyone brandished a White Card as a sign of peace in the world. An initiative of Peace and Sport, chaired and founded by Joël Bouzou, it is a reminder of the importance of the values sport upholds.

No peace for YCM

But there is no let up for the Yacht Club de Monaco as it heads into the new year. With the MOTR in full swing below, the Clubhouse's upper deck welcomed 500 guests for its annual Russian New Year Party with music provided by international artists, including DJ Martin Solveig. Next weekend (16-19 January) is Act III of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series, a must for J/70 and Melges 20 fleets in the run-up to the 36th Primo Cup - Trophée Credit Suisse from 6-9 February.

Monaco Optimist Team Race 2020 podium:

1st: USA Optimist National Team (USA)
2nd: KSSS - Royal Swedish Yacht Club (SUE)
3rd: Yacht Club de Monaco (MON)

More information at www.ycm.org.

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