Mark Hayes on Sunday November 8, 2015 06:38PM

2015 has been a banner year for FBYC’s junior race teams! We had 3 race team members sail in international events in 2015; and 3 of our sailors have already committed to represent the United States in Optis in 2016! The United States Optimist Dinghy Association holds two qualifying regattas yearly to set the teams which will represent the United States in upcoming international competitions. It is the ultimate for an Opti sailor to be invited to be a member of “Team USA”! We sent our FBYC Opti Race Team to the qualifying regattas, along with our coaches, when these sailors qualified. In addition, in 2015, we had a race team member helm a J70 in 2 international events!

Ian Street, second from left, with Team USA in Belgium

Ian Street
Ian represented the US at the 2015 Topsport Vlaanderen Regatta, held in Niewpoort, Belgium; July 3rd through 8th, 2015. There were 101 Opti sailors competing from 10 countries. The conditions were extremely “challenging” with winds in the 20 knot range with gusts to 35 knots (yes they sailed!), 8 foot swells, and a 25 foot tidal range with 6 knot currents. Ian reported that eating Belgium Waffles was the best part of the regatta-they actually do eat Belgium Waffles in Belgium! Ian and his parents especially enjoyed getting to know the other 4 kids and their families on the US team, who were from across the country.

Nathan Smith in Wales

Nathan Smith
Nathan, along with 14 other sailors, represented the US at the 2015 Volvo Gill British National & Open Championships in Pwllheli, Wales, in the United Kingdom. The regatta was held July 25th through 31st, 2015; with an astounding 432 total Opti’s participating in fleets ranging from “Mini” to “Senior” divisions. These divisions take the place in the UK of our Green, White, Blue and Red fleets. Nathan finished 38th out of 164 in the Senior Fleet! In keeping with sailing in the British Isles, winds were in the high teens and often gusted to over 20 knots throughout the regatta; and the water and air temperatures were in the 50s, with pelting rain and large swells. All of the kids wore drysuits, even though it was the middle of summer. The US team stayed together in a quaint historic inn named Llysfor Bed & Breakfast, in Abersoch, Wales. One of Nathan’s fondest memories from the trip was the Segway tour the team took on a lay day!

Gannon Troutman at the helm of Pied Piper, in La Rochelle, France

Gannon Troutman
But the fun is not limited to Optis! Gannon Troutman sailed his family's J-70, Pied Piper, internationally in 2015. The class is extremely competitive. The top boats carry professional crews, although the helmsman must be the owner. Gannon is the helmsman on Pied Piper. In 2015 Pied Piper sailed at both the J-70 Worlds, in La Rochelle, France, July 6th through 11th; and at the J-70 North Americans, in San Diego, California, September 22nd through 27th. Gannon steered Pied Piper to 15th out of 78 boats at the World Championship; and to 17th out of 49 at the North American Championship. As an added bonus, Gannon sailed in the North Americans with a broken left arm from a skateboarding fall!

And a look ahead to 2016
Benton Amthor and Boyd Bragg were both invited last month by the USODA to represent the US at the 2016 Asian Championship in Sri Lanka! However, after a lot of soul searching, both finally accepted an invitation to represent the US next spring at the XXXIV Lake Garda Optimist Meeting, to be held on Lake Garda, Italy. There will be over 400 Optis competing. Finally, Nathan Smith has accepted an invitation to sail for the US at the 29th Magic Marine Easter Regatta in 2016, to be held in Braassemermeer, Netherlands. This will be especially exciting for Nathan, who holds duel citizenship in both the United States and in the Netherlands.

FBYC kids are unstoppable!

Tags: juniorraceteam

Fishing Bay Yacht Club
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