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Lake Garda Optimist Meeting

Updated: Dec 26, 2023

In November last year at the Opti Midwinter championship I qualified to be a part of Team USA for the Lake Garda Optimist Meeting in Riva del Garda Italy. Fifteen kids were selected to represent Team USA. It is one of the largest regattas in the world with over 1000 boats competing. We had four days of practice followed by four days of racing.

The first 2 days of my racing were qualifying days for the finals. There are five fleets consisting of Gold, Silver, Bronze, Emerald, and Pearl. There were 200 boats on the starting line with a 3-minute black flag rule. There were two starting lines for one fleet, this means there were two pin boats and a race committee boat in the middle of the two and you could choose what side of the line u wanted to start on. This also led to a massive amount of line sag that many did not recognize. I was one of the few who did and was first off, the line on almost every start. There were also hundreds of coach boats out on the course making it very hard to distinguish your coach when almost every single coach boat is blue. Many teams solved this by using very large flags of their country or their yacht club. There were kids from all around the world ranging from Brazil to Australia. I qualified for the Silver fleeton.

On the championship fleet days, the race committee heavily prioritized the gold fleet and made the silver and bronze fleet wait almost four hours to get a start off. I ended up in 116th place in the silver fleet and 327th overall out of 1055 boats.

I would like to thank the AYC foundation and CBYRA for their financial support and contribution to allow me to sail in this regatta, and my parents and my grandma for funding my Opti career and letting me to travel around the world for sailing, I would also like to thank my coaches, Arthur Blodgett, Bobby Lippincott, Jordan Bruce, and Jake Vickers for giving me the ability and the skills to go to and qualify for this event.

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