Camp Seafarer/Sea Gull in Arapahoe, NC hosted the 2017 Optimist Atlantic Coast Championship this year, and what a host they were. From the moment we arrived to the last hand-shake goodbye, the staff and volunteer regatta personnel worked incredibly hard to make us, and everyone, feel at home, enjoy themselves, and soak in the North Carolina hospitality and gorgeous surroundings. As a note to all one-design sailors, I would make this venue a priority for you, if possible, in the future.
Perfectly situated facing southeast on the north bank of the Neuse River, Camp Seafarer/Sea Gull is well-equipped to host USODA events, not always an easy task. Their spacious lawns, basketball courts, large swimming pool complete with zip line, enormous dining hall facility, was topped off only by a picture-perfect place to sail. We encountered almost no pleasure boat traffic, and had an amazingly gorgeous body of water all to ourselves. The weather seemed to know we were coming; forecasts of light winds were happily under-reported and the sailors were treated to two days of moderate-to-brisk NE-E winds from 5-22 knots over the six-race series. Epic sailing conditions.
When the dust settled, young sailing star Peter Foley, Coral Reef YC, FL, came somewhat from behind to defend his ACC title of last year, and win again. Peter was very good on day one, but started slowly (for him) with a 26 in the very first race in the lighter winds. Having to carry that deep race the rest of the way left little margin for error for Peter, but as the winds built, he became almost untouchably fast. His boat handling in the big waves (3-5 feet) and wind (14-23 knots) was impressive to watch. He was very fast upwind with great technique, and even faster on the reaches and downwind.
Consistency, and avoiding the big mistake, was key. Easy to say, but not easy to do in a competitive 103 boat fleet. The RC decided not to divide the fleet, so we were full-on with all 103 boats on one line. If you look at the scores, the top 5 in this event were the only boats that had all top-ten finishes (with throw-out). Within that competitive group, Peter was clearly dominant, with no finish (other than the throw-out) worse than second.
Congratulations to the Foley family for having two siblings in the top 5, and to all the competitors for an event well sailed. Most importantly, thanks to the kind people at Camp Seafarer/Sea Gull for gracefully sharing their magical venue with the Atlantic Coast’s top Optimist sailors. If you ever have a chance to visit this place, jump at that chance. FULL RESULTS
TOP 5 OVERALL:
- Peter Foley, CRYC
- Tommy Sitzmann, FBYC
- Laura Hamilton, LYC
- Audrey Foley, CRYC
- Vanessa Lahrkamp, American YC