13 November 2017 -Six teams representing American, Annapolis, Fishing Bay, Florida, Royal Canadian, and South Carolina Yacht Clubs gathered this past weekend to compete for the Optimist Pram Team Invitational Regatta, hosted by South Carolina Yacht Club on beautiful Hilton Head Island.
While USODA and IODA Optimist team race events are 4 on 4, this event was 3 on 3; Vive la Difference! Most all team racing, including high school, college, and adult, is all 3 on 3. The combos are easier, which tends to make the sailing simpler and ultimately, more fun.
South Carolina Yacht Club has put together quite an event, complete with a well-organized staff, great umpiring, friendly & receptive club, and more. The event was sponsored primarily by Zim Sailing. Zim, in fact, brings 18 new Optimists, team-coded sails and hull colors, with players names on each boat for good measure. This really gives the event some flair, and makes the kids feel like stars.
The weather cooperated with wind, although the temperatures were unseasonably cool. The venue is a really neat river just outside a tidal lock that protects the clubs harbor. Lots of current, waterfowl, and dolphins make for fun and exciting sailing. The RC sailed all races in a starboard box-course, which allowed for maximum racing and minimal wait.
After a double round robin (30 races) and then a full knockout round with consolation(s), the team from Fishing Bay Yacht Club (VA), skippered by Guthrie Braun, Josh Bendura, and Tommy Sitzmann, emerged victorious, winning all their races except one over the two-day event.