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2019 USODA Midwinter Team Race Championship at St. Petersburg Yacht Club
On January 17-21, two Annapolis Yacht Club Opti teams and their supportive parents traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida, for USODA’s Midwinter Championship hosted by St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

Junior Fleet

2019 USODA Midwinter Team Race Championship at St. Petersburg Yacht Club

Robert Lippincott, Optimist Program Manager

On January 17-21, two Annapolis Yacht Club Opti teams and their supportive parents traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida, for USODA’s Midwinter Championship hosted by St. Petersburg Yacht Club. These two teams consisted of eight Opti racers. Team AYC Capitals had Hugh Carty, Ava Cornell, Kyle Reinecke, and Julian Dahiya.  Team Vote for Pedro! had Madeline Amthor, Willem DeSimone, Bo Angus, and Walker Angus. Our teams had a difficult two days of practice in light to no wind, however, we made the best use of our time and had a couple of discussions of plays and strategy for the week ahead.

Day 1 conditions saw 12-15 knot winds gusting 16-18 knots with a temperature about 55-60 degrees and sunny skies. Our AYC sailors were eager to get out on the water.  The RC informed the racers and coaches that the first day of racing would qualify them for either the Gold or Silver Fleet at the end of the completed first round robin.

Team AYC Capitals raced 10 races with 5 wins/5 losses with a winning percentage of 50%, qualifying them for Silver Fleet. Team Vote for Pedro! raced 11 races, with 3 wins/8 losses with a winning percentage of 27.3%, qualifying them for Silver Fleet. These were the results for Stage 1 Gold Qualifying Round Robin at the conclusion of the first day. Even though both teams did not make the Gold Fleet round, they were very excited to have beaten a couple of the power house teams along the way.

Day 2, the sailors awoke to cooler temps in the low 40s and howling winds for rigging. We saw 8 wins for both Team AYC Capitals and Team Vote for Pedro! There were choppy seas and 18-33 knots of breeze for the second day of racing, which made it very difficult for some of the smaller teams. Our two teams had a much better day in the heavier breeze. I am so proud of both teams for stepping up the pressure for day two and improving on their finish percentile.

Team AYC Capitals was one of the only teams to have practiced Team Racing together once or twice in their practice schedules this past summer. They finished in 5th place, with 22 races sailed and 13 wins (59.1%).  

Team Vote for Pedro! had never been given the opportunity to sail together as a team. Team Vote for Pedro! finished up the regatta with a total of 23 races, 11 wins, and with a winning percentage of 47.8%.

In the end, Team Vote for Pedro! placed 6th in the Silver Fleet Round, only 7 wins out of first place. For team AYC Capitals, it came down to the last four races, and they were only 4 wins away from tying it up for 1st place in Silver. The team racing was extremely close. It just goes to show you that every race counts! Having run out of time, we weren’t able to get a Knock Out Round series in, which would have given both of our teams a fighting chance to win the overall Silver Division.

Overall this was a great weekend of very competitive Team Racing over the Martin Luther King Holiday. I am very proud of both AYC teams for sailing their hardest and maintaining good sportsmanship to fellow sailors and judges throughout the regatta. They went up against some of the hardest competition in the country and sailed respectably for the amount of practice they had prior to coming to the event.  

I hope our Opti team race sailors will continue to love the sport of team racing and will want to do more in the coming months, as our team prepares for the next big Opti Team Race regatta (Opti Team Race Nationals which will be held in Grosse Pointe, Michigan) this coming summer.

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