In May 2022, all eyes in the Optimist sailing world will turn to Long Island Sound as Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club in Oyster Bay, NY hosts the 2022 United States Optimist Dinghy Association Team Trials Regatta.
“The regatta name is derived from the fact that the results are used to determine who is chosen for teams representing the U.S. in top international championship regattas in the following year – think Olympic trials for Optis!” said Event Chair Will Meyer. “Team Trials is limited to Optimist sailors who have qualified by scoring in the top third of designated USODA national regattas across the country. Team Trials is the penultimate national Opti regatta and the main way to advance to international sailing on a U.S. Team.”
Team Trials will run from Wednesday, May 4 to Sunday, May 8 and will probably feature 250 to 300 Optimists racing in the mouth of Oyster Bay Harbor. Long Island Sound Optimist sailors interested in competing are encouraged to participate in USODA regattas this winter in order to qualify for Team Trials.
“Originally conceived as a sailing centerpiece of our 2021 Sesquicentennial celebrations, Seawanhaka’s turn to host Team Trials was pushed back one year due to the postponement of the 2020 regatta in Texas,” Meyer explained. “Seawanhaka’s selection to host Team Trials is the culmination of a twelve-year effort to build on the success of our 86-year-old summer program and raise the level of youth sailing at the club. Over those twelve years, Seawanhaka has produced a year-round national Opti race team, hosted two USODA Atlantic Coast Championships, one Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Sound Championship, and given significant Race Committee support to our friends at The WaterFront Center for twelve New York State Opti Champs and two JSA Opti Champs. The return of Team Trials is an important milestone for our region and hopefully a boost for our sailors for years to come.”
Regatta information can be found at usoda.org and there are many clubs and several private teams located around the Sound that can assist with logistics and coaching. For more information, visit seawanhaka.org. ■