The 2013 North American Championships, or Optinam sailing regatta, one of the most important events on the Optimist worldwide calendar, will be held in Bermuda from July 3 to 11. The best junior sailors in North America will be facing off in what should be beautiful sailing conditions. The fleet racing will be held in the Great Sound with a 45-to-50-minute trapezoidal course, and team racing will be taking place in Hamilton Harbour.
Bermuda is host for the first time since 2002, when Olympian Jesse Kirkland secured the top spot. This year there will be new young sailors, aged 10 to 15, taking part. Bermuda has been allocated 15 spots for sailors, who will represent the island after a qualification process involving at least 15 to 20 races.
Sailing is the only youth sport in Bermuda that consistently sees world-class performances. With 174 Optimist sailors from around the world coming to sail, the competition should be stiff, but Bermudian Optimist sailors have achieved three consecutive first-place overall wins, and the Bermuda Optimist Dinghy Association is confident that their young sailors will be able to stand out from the crowd.
The event will not only be an opportunity for Bermudian youth sailors to gain the experience of sailing in an international competition while on home surf, but it will also be an excellent occasion to raise Bermuda’s profile within the international sailing community. Organizers hope Optinam will help raise the stature of sailing on the island as a third national sport.