VYC Fall Optimist Regatta – Ventura, CA
Just as Fall is a time of transition, so too was the Ventura Yacht Club Fall Optimist Regatta-the second of five regattas that make up the annual “SoCal Series”. With some of Southern California’s elite-level Opti sailors either aged out or noticeably absent, an opportunity for new talent to shine was borne under sunny autumn skies against the backdrop of Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands. Over 40 young sailors from Santa Barbara to San Pedro came together in Ventura for two-days of exciting racing showcasing both the fleet’s next generation of young rock stars and many for whom this was their first competitive sailing experience.
On the championship course, 25 sailors completed four races both Saturday and Sunday in idyllic conditions. Each day’s racing was started in 6-8 knots, building throughout to almost 15 knots by days’ end. Competitors are allowed to discard their worst race result of the eight races sailed.
Chance Weston of Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club dominated the score sheet winning five of the eight races sailed. His key to success was mostly upwind boatspeed-Chance simply out-worked the majority of his competitors hiking harder and using aggressive body movement to work his seven-foot pram through the wind chop of Pierpont Bay’s shallow waters.
Frankie Dair of California Yacht Club and Lucas Pierce of Santa Barbara Yacht Club battled throughout the weekend for the second and third spots. Despite a strong finish to the regatta with second-place finishes in both races seven and eight, Lucas couldn’t quite pass Frankie in the overall standings finishing just three points back in third overall and second in Blue Fleet (ages 11 & 12).
Lucas sailed a very consistent regatta with no race worse than a fifth. When asked about his thoughts on success over the course of the weekend, he responded, “Clear air. I did a better job of picking good lanes.” Despite inconsistent starts, Lucas did good job of staying in phase, leading small packs to the next shift and sailing fast to put himself in the lead group.
Paul Harteck and Shanara Brewer rounded out Santa Barbara’s small contingent at this event as the rest of the SBYC Opti Race Team members had other sports commitments (one being an advanced Optimist clinic in San Francisco) over the weekend. Both Paul and Shanara showed considerable improvement over the course of the event and gained valuable hours in their boats learning lessons that will serve them well at future events.
All three SBYC/SBYSF sailors sailed very well, made new friends, had fun and represented the Santa Barbara sailing community admirably.