When Optis Attack!

This past weekend I was out on the water to shot two regattas.  And while it took me a while to complete both these projects with all the hours of culling, editing, cataloging, posting and emailing involved with each, I finally finished!  

First up, on Saturday, was the Sail Newport Youth Challenge, an annual event hosted by Sail Newport as a season opener for young sailors.  Participants came from far and wide including Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and even Florida, to compete in the races.  There were 5 Club 420s competing and 95 Optis, with the Laser Radials encouraged to sail in the Wickford Regatta instead.  That's right, 95 Optimists!  The starting line was almost as long as the first leg, and all Red, White and Blue Fleets were together in one starting sequence.  Sailing a trapezoid without any inner or outer loops, races were about 30-40 minutes long with a stiff 15 knot seabreeze that kicked up promptly at noon.  Choppy conditions and a few gusts made it difficult for some of these little sailors to compete, and sure enough you could hear boats retiring one after another over the radio.

But wind and chop didn't stop some of the more seasoned Opti sailors.  Don't let their size fool you, some of these kids are in it to win it!  I love shooting this event, with an abundance young energetic sailors eager to compete.  They never cease to impress and they make the most hilarious faces I've ever seen!

Here are some of my favorites from the one day of racing, including one I like to call "Opti Scape" showing the endless sea of Optis sailing upwind.  

For all the shots, visit the Sail Newport Youth Challenge Photo Gallery.  Results have been posted here.

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