Mark Hayes on Monday November 9, 2015 09:10PM

Benton Amthor

The Fall Opti Race Team has won the inaugural South Carolina Yacht Club Invitational Optimist Team Race Regatta! The regatta was sailed last weekend, November 7th-8th, in Calibogue Sound, near the entrance to Windmill Harbour, at Hilton Head, South Carolina. Our team was made up of Benton Amthor, Nathan Smith, Guthrie Braun and Reed McAllister; and was coached by our Spring/Fall Opti Coach, Bob Lippincott.

FBYC received the invitation to sail in the regatta last spring, along with Opti teams from the Chicago Yacht Club, the Edgewater Yacht Club, the Florida Yacht Club and the Royal Canadian Yacht Club of Ontario. The host club, South Carolina Yacht Club, also competed. The regatta consisted of a round-robin and final series. Our team won all but one race throughout the entire regatta!

Nathan Smith and Guthrie Braun

The format consisted of standard Opti team races of 3 on 3; and was sailed over short “box” shaped courses. Team racing is very different from fleet racing. Each race is lightening fast and normally takes only 5-10 minutes to run. The scores are combined to determine the winning team for each race, using the low point scoring system. Tactics and team work are at a premium, since the cumulative finishing order determines the winner. For instance, a team finishing 2-3-4 will beat an opponent finishing 1-5-6 in a race. For this reason, a boat leading a race will often circle back to blanket an opponent to help out a teammate. The teammates have to make instant decisions on the course and work flawlessly together. The regatta winner is determined by the number of races won. The teams in this regatta were allowed to have a 4th member to rotate between races to give the sailors a break. Kids love the fast action! We also fielded a team at the 2015 Opti Team Race Nationals, and finished 8th overall in the country. 

Benton and Reed discussing team tactics

The regatta was sponsored by Zim Sailing, North Sails, and the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa. Everything-the new charter boats and sails, the accommodations and food, was FREE! This was a big change from our usual CBYRA and USODA regattas; and the parents still can’t believe it! SCYC even put the sailors’ names on the boats they sailed.

This was the Junior Division’s last scheduled event for 2015. Our race teams sailed in 19 regattas in 2015, and won first overall in either the Opti or Laser Radial in 10 of those regattas, and placed in 17 of them! We had a record number of kids sail on our various race teams in 2015-a total of 54 different sailors. Come join the fun next year! We are always looking for new racers for our Opti and Laser Development Teams. Our future depends on new kids replacing those who age out and leave for college.

Racing experience is not required-we will give it to your sailor!

Tags: juniorraceteam

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