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A.K.A. The "Un-Regatta" Mid Winters : While the big kids were playing down in Key West, the first OPen BIC Mid-Winter Championship, hosted by Shake-A-Leg Miami and part of the Caviglia Blue Water Classic, came off as a resounding success. Thirty-seven kids under age 17 loved the simple rules and unconventional format of the OPen BIC Un-Regatta, and most importantly, excelled at Rule Number One: Have Fun. Conditions ranged from sunny 4-9 knots on Saturday to cloudy 6-15 knots on Sunday.
The kids were divided into Under 11 and 11 age groups and were kept busy with a variety of unconventional courses which often required mandatory capsizes, 360s, stand-up sailing, downwind slalom, and other fun stuff. Many of the youngsters in the 11 division showed that they are not only great pram racers, but also talented boat handlers who want to have a blast in a modern boat. This group was led by Cody Stansky, Nic Muller, Team Williford, and others.
When not going around the marks, "Expression Sessions" were held for the two age groups. These were freestyle competitions which put a premium on style and creative boat handling in three minute heats. Unconventional capsizes, tail sinks, spin jibes, "hood ornaments", and spectacular dismounts ruled the day. Many kids were creating new moves and vying for personal "naming rights" on their fi st-time tricks. Zack Grank wow'ed the judges in the 11 division with a combination of style, boat handling, and excellent attitude. Rasmus Sayre tacked around the front of the mast to seal the deal on the U11 title. Ali and Lisa Toppa schooled the tandem division with acrobatic boom poses, mast climbs, and synchronized dismounts.
According to one Mom, "Fun was not the word for it. It provided a great diversion while still keeping the tone of competition for our seasoned Opti sailors. The format was great because most, not ever sailing an Open Bic, had no choice but to just «go for it". Their boat handling skills only excelled when asked to capsize, do a 720, etc. It provided everything the kids needed to train and compete in a relaxed way. I thank you for all your efforts and can't wait for the O'Pen Bic class to grow here in the U.S."
Eighteen races plus the Expression Sessions were packed into the two days. Combine the Un-Regatta frenzy on the water, with the incredible Shake-A-Leg hospitality, and these kids had a ball. A diffi cult decision was placed on the Judges to determine who won the overall prize for Most Fun. Although there were other excellent candidates, it was decided in favor of the Clearwater Community Sailing Team who demonstrated great attitude and dangerous levels of fun throughout the event. Congratulations to "Pippi", "Skittles", "Muffin", "Mud" from Clearwater Community Sailing!