For those of you unfamiliar with Oppie Team Racing, it is an integral part of Optimist sailing with teams consisting of 4 boats, not the more usual University (UK) or Collegiate (US) team racing of 3 boats per team.
Not only does it sharpen up the youngsters rule knowledge, it makes them think more tactically and certainly doesn’t do their arithmetic any harm – Now does 1,3,6,7 beat 2,4,5,8? Actually yes but I bet you had to add them up. OK it’s not racing around the world – far from it and the kids taking part over the weekend are not nautical giants – far from it but when a bunch of young sailors – most under 10 – have to be pulled off the water because of 28 kt gusts it’s worth commenting on.
We watched as one young girl was hiking hard OFF THE TRANSOM as the bow of her Oppie attempted a submarine impersonation. She survived that, luffed the boat, bailed it out and sailed on to complete the race because she knew just as well as we did that to fail to do so could have cost her team significant extra points.
Another kid, who perhaps needs a little more rulebook study did so many turns WE were dizzy. Did it stop him? You bet it didn’t, he too finished his race.