2006 Florida State Opti Team Race Champs an Overwhelming Success


Imagine attending an Opti regatta where you don’t need to bring your Opti.  OK, so many of you do just that when you charter.  Well, then imagine not needing to pack blades, spars, a sail or any gear other than your PFD, your rule book and sunblock.  How about an event where coach boats are not necessary?  In fact, they are not allowed.  Could attending a regatta get any easier?  No!

The weekend of May 20-21, Lauderdale Yacht Club hosted the Florida State Opti Team Race Championships.  Eighty-two skippers, representing 19 teams from 7 yacht clubs and sailing organizations, raced on the waters in front of the club.  We hosted teams with sailors from as far away as New York and Michigan.  A unique aspect of this regatta, as far as Optis are concerned, is that LYC and Coral Reef Yacht Club supplied all of the boats, sails and blades.  Thus, when Team X decided to participate, they did not need to bring all the Optis, coach boats, or other gear typically required to attend any other Opti regattas.  All they needed to do was to book their flights and come on down. 

All of the action took place within a couple of hundred yards of the club’s docks.  For some wind directions, a mark was only 20 to 30 yards from the floating dock.  Therefore, onlookers were treated to front row seats for all the action, without the need for spectator boats. Heck, you didn’t really need binoculars.

A special scoring procedure, based on a Modified Swiss League, was designed just for this regatta.  The format featured multiple divisions of 3 or 4 teams sailing a round robin against the other 2 or 3 teams within their division. Points were awarded for each win, and a running total was kept for each team.  At the end of each flight of round robins, the teams were ranked in order, based on their cumulative point totals. The top four then made up the top division, the second four the next division and so on.  Next, another flight of round robins was run, and points were again tallied.  With this procedure, by the end of the event, the top teams had risen to the top divisions, and they then raced a final round robin to determine 1st-4th places.

Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny.  After breakfast at the sailing center, the 18 LYC boats were sailed to the floating dock at the other end of the club property.  There, they were joined by the 6 Optis provided by CRYC.  After a skippers meeting, the sea breeze began to fill in right on schedule.  The first few races were sailed in light winds of about 4-5 knots, which is good for team racing.  By lunchtime, the winds were “up” to around 6-8 knots. The race committee had two races sailing on the course at any one time, so that umpires were available for each race.  The course set was a traditional team racing “Digital N”.  Because the teams switched boats on shore, the skippers were able to meet with their coaches between races, and then enjoy watching the other races.  If they did not want to watch races, there were plenty of other diversions.

At noon the club set out a delicious buffet for the competitors featuring hamburgers and hot dogs, grilled right next to the dock.  Parents were offered several dining options as well as the comfortable poolside pavilion bar.  Then there was the newly refurbished, swimming pool to relax next to.  Parents were able to sit beneath the swaying palms, next to a beautiful pool, and still watch the races.  When it comes to traveling to Opti regattas, it doesn’t get much better than that!  Just ask anyone who was there.

On Saturday night Steve and Jody Lewis hosted a fantastic party at their beautiful waterfront home. All of our out-of-town guests were treated to a delightful evening of great food, cold drinks and warm camaraderie under the stars.

The weather Sunday morning was as nice as Saturday’s, and we were back on the water by 0930.  The third flight was completed, and the teams were re-seeded according to their point totals.  The top eight teams were ranked, and divided into two divisions for the penultimate flight.  After that round robin, the top four teams were ranked and placed in one division for the final round robin.

By the end of the weekend the Race Committee led by Jorge Agnese and Patricio Sly had managed a stunning 108 team races of four against four.  With the able assistance of Starting Officer Kent Fox, who was responsible for sending each group of 8 kids to the racecourse, they were able to run race starts every 6 minutes.  A fantastic group of umpires included Tom Rinda, John Lee, Bobby Meagher, and two “assistant umpires” Colin Smith and Andrew Fox.

Winning the regatta, and now the reigning Florida State Champs, were Team For A, comprised of Jason Kuebel, Mary Hall, Cam Hall, Michael Booker, and Parker Polgar.  Rounding out the top four were Team For B in second, St. Petersburg Yacht Club 1 in third, and Coral Reef Yacht Club 1 in fourth.  Atlantis Weathergear, manufacturers of sailing apparel, provided generous accommodations towards the way cool trophies. Atlantis is a major sponsor of team racing in the United States, and we look forward to their continued support.  First place received a Max Velocity Spray Top, embroidered with the event branding.  Second through fourth received a fleece-lined vest, also embroidered with the event branding.  Harken also donated a huge box of cool stuff for the kids.

This event would not have been possible without the guidance and diligent efforts of our youth sailing coaches, Ben Williams, Patrick Rynne and Frank Ustach.  A special thanks goes to each of them for their efforts.  Likewise the excellent staff of Lauderdale Yacht Club once again showed why we enjoy such a great reputation for hospitality.  They made each of our guests feel at home.  Many thanks go to Cynthia and Francois for putting out the red carpet. 

Those of us who organized the event look forward to making this one of the premier Opti regattas in the nation.  Be sure to watch for the race announcement next year, and get your entries in early.  You do not want to miss it!


2006 Florida State Opti Team Race Champs



Final Rankings













Team FOR A






Team FOR B






SPYC 1 O.G.'s






CRYC 1 Red






Team X 1






CRYC 2 Blue












LYC 2 Pumas






Team X 2












LYC 1 Pink Zinc






CRYC 3 White






CRYC 4 Green






LYC 3 Flying Foxes






























LYC 4 Rough Ryders