2020 Optimist Pram Team Race Invite
Hampton Yacht Club along with over a dozen other yacht clubs around the country submitted an application several months ago in hopes of an invite to the 2020 Optimist Pram Team Invitational presented by Zim Sailing and hosted by South Carolina Yacht Club. HYC was honored over the summer to be accepted for one of the five available invitational berths. HYC parents, coaches, and team traveled to Hilton Head with gallons of hand sanitizer, masks, and disinfectant wipes to keep our players safe but provide them with an incredible sailing opportunity.
MEET THE TEAM
A World Class Event
One of the most amazing and vital pieces to this event is the charter fleet. Eighteen brand new color-coordinated Zim Zforce International Optis, all with the same race spars, blades, and rigging. SCYC provides each team with coach boats and accommodations with the help of sponsors. Each sailor proudly gets their names on the transom of each boat and each club has their letters and
burgee displayed on the sides of the hull. Needless to say, these kids were STOKED! A HUGE thank you to Bob Adams and Zim Sailing!
A Competitive Event
Team Dynamic: Calm, Cool, Collected
In preparation for this event HYC Opti Coach Nathan Smith worked with ODU Head Coach Mitch Brindley to help develop a very good team dynamic between the three sailors. Smith, a graduate of Christ Church School won the Baker Trophy for the ISSA National Team Race Championship, largely due to the fact that the team had the best communication on the water.
Coach Smith starting drilling communication between team members during practice and throughout the event it was our team you could hear constantly!
First Two Rounds
Saturday was light and a king tide in Hilton Head made for a twelve foot tide and 3 knots of current unfortunately making sailing impossible. Sunday, however, the breeze was sustained 10 knots with some higher gusts but the indefatigable 3 knots of current would make for a tricky race course. Losing all racing Saturday meant there was enough time for roughly two rounds of sailing and then a final knock out round.
The mental toughness of any athlete is crucial. The entire event the coaching philosophy was promote the good, calmly critique and explain the mistakes, and send them with simple goals for the next race. All around us we saw teams cracking throughout the event except for SCYC. The HYC team had suffered two losses to SCYC, if HYC could beat them in the first race of the final SCYC in the HYC athlete’s minds would become “beatable.” That’s what we needed and that is precisely what happened.
Protests are part of the team race game and SCYC fouled at Mark 3 and was spinning, a miscommunication between their team left an opportunity for Hampton to go for a stable winning combination up the final beat. The team was amped, perhaps a little too excited, this was still not over… The coaching was simple: “composure.” Focus, stay conservative, have a good start, win your pair, cover, and sail fast. The start was on, each team jockeyed up the first beat of the Digital N course, SCYC was in an unstable winning pair at Mark 1, which HYC converted to an unstable winning pair, and worked hard on the downwind and at Mark 3 to convert to a stable winning pair for the final beat. However, the pairs were so close and the finish so tight that both Nathan and I believed they did but we weren’t sure, perhaps we were just in shock…But then over VHF Channel 72 came the race committee RED defeats GREY! They had done it!
Amelon Rule, Leila Pfrang, Coach Nathan Smith, and James Allgeier celebrate at the outdoor awards ceremony at South Carolina Yacht Club after winning the 2020 Optimist Pram Invitational. Coach Smith is holding the Paul Miller Perpetual Trophy for the second time in his life! James, Leila, and Amelon will have their names engraved next to their Coach’s name along with his Fishing Bay teammates that won the event in its inaugural year. Coach Smith and myself are incredibly proud of the team’s accomplishment and excited to announce that we will have the chance to defend their title next year. We would like to thank the membership, Junior Advisory Board members, and The HYC Board, and Commodore Leigh Chapman for supporting us. Thank you to SCYC, the umpire team, PRO Chip Till and Kevin Jewitt and Zim for an incredible eventThe Paul Miller Trophy will be on display at Hampton Yacht Club for the year.