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Following the previous updates of this exciting new series, on December 6th, Key Biscayne Yacht Club hosted the third event of the 1st Winter O'pen Bic Series of the 2009/10 Florida season.
In line with the excitement generated by the previous events, 58 sailors showed up on race day making it the largest event to date on this side of the Atlantic.
'What is interesting for me about this series, is not necessarily how crowded the start lines are getting event after event, but the level of competitiveness in the front pack' Said Jim De Silva from Liquid Surf & Sail which distributes the boats in South Florida, 'I can clearly see a bunch of 20-25 kids really fighting the front on each race, with most of them targeting the World's in France next summer'.
Kids competed in two fleets (Advanced and Sail 4 Fun), and ran a variety of courses with windward/leeward, slalom, supercross and figure eights. The downwind slalom was very exciting, with high-speed gybes, lots of crashes and some extra freestyle maneuvers thrown in on occasion! The Advanced fleet focuses mainly in performance and racing and although they race unconventional courses, they do race 'Solo' to maximize acceleration and speed.
On the other side, the Sail 4 Fun fleet emphasized FUN over performance and got to choose between racing 'Solo' or in tandem. 'This is like the party of green fleeters... where the beginners get the have a blast without the pressure!' said Hernan Peralta, MYC coach, 'during the first year, focusing on the fun of sailing rather than performance seems to be working for us with the beginners... much more kids are staying and willing to move to the next level of teamwork and commitment with the sport than on previous years of our program'.
Freestyle was a big hitter with both fleets. How do you do freestyle in a sailboat? You have to see it to believe it....because the O'Pen Bic does not take on water, you can do all the moves in it....wheelies, capsizes, turtles, Supermans, Spidermans, King Kongs (where you climb up the mast as your crew balances the boat down below), 360's, 720's, Rock and Rolls and a variety of other unnamed maneuvers that are seemingly invented on the fly. With the announcer MC'ing the live action, the kids competed in 4-7 boats heats, narrowing down to a semi-final and then a final. In the fun spirit of the competition, several kids not in the heat jumped into the water during the final and tried to take over, or 'pirate', some of the boats competing in the final. Hilarious!
The Results with 7 races completed and several heats of freestyle were as follows:
1st- Geronimo Nores
2nd- Ian Macdiarmid
3rd- Briggs Lalor
1st- Blair Lalor
2nd- Ciara Rodriguez-Horan
3rd- Celine de Araujo
Advanced Under 10:
1st- Geronimo Nores
2nd- Blair Lalor
3rd- Ciara Rodriguez- Horan
Sail 4 Fun Overall:
1st- Manuel Nores
2nd- Mathew Weissmann
3rd- Anthony Cervone & Diego Leon
Sail 4 Fun Girls:
1st- Mia Steinfeld
2nd- Emily Somohano
3rd- Victoria Giacian & Sofia Falero
1st- Brian Hollenbeck & Juan Cruz Nores
2nd- Michael Eschmann & Enrique Gaston
3rd- Chloe Namias & Alexia Gallian
Following the growth of the O'bic one design class in the world, the first series of 6 different regattas has been coordinated between different clubs in the South East during the Fall '09 and Spring ‘10 seasons. The purpose of the series is to mix it up with the opti calendar and keep the kids well raced to end the season with the US O'pen Cup in the summer. And finally, choose a team to represent TEAM USA in the World O'pen Cup 2010 to be held in Europe at the end of Summer.
The fourth event is scheduled for the weekend of Jan 16th-17th @ Alex Caviglia Blue Water Classic in Shake a Leg, Coconut Grove.