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July 15, 2018 Optimist Championship Video

On the opening day of the 2018 Optimist National Championship on Pensacola Bay, the racing committee and the 283 sailors got in 4 sets of races. Three divisions / three races per set. Here is a little bit of the racing scene with tunes. (Barnes & Co., Inc.)

About the 2018 opti nationals @ PYC

The Racers

The regatta is a week-long sailing spectacular, hosted by PYC on Pensacola Bay, showcasing the best Optimist dinghy sailors (both national and international) between the ages of 8 to 15 years old. 

Three Great Championships - One Comprehensive Event

The event is really three big championships: (1) the overall Optimist National Championship; (2) the Optimist Girls National Championship; and (3) the Optimist Team Race National Championship. There will be Green Fleet coaching and racing for beginners, too.

Regatta Schedule (see NORs for details)

Check-in and Measurement:  Friday, July 13 and Saturday, July 14, 10 am to 6 pm

Saturday at 5 pm, Downtown Pensacola:  A gathering of Opti Sailors with their state or nation flags with photos will take place. A Gala Celebration will follow.

Opti National Championship Racing: Sunday, July 15 through Wednesday, July 18
Awards Ceremony w/Heavy Hors D'Oeuvres: Wednesday, July 18, following final race 

Regatta Dinner: Monday evening, July 16

Opti Girls National Championship Racing: Thursday, July 19
Awards Ceremony w/Heavy Hors D'Oeuvres: Thursday, July 19, following final race

Opti Team Race National Championship Racing: Friday, July 20 through Sunday, July 22

Awards Ceremony w/Heavy Hors D'Oeuvres: Sunday, July 22, following final race

Finalize Your Plans

Organizers expect more than 300 young sailors, one coach per 10 participants, plus sailors' parents and family. The 2018 Opti Nationals will likely be the largest sports tourism event of the year in northwest Florida with more than 1,500 people expected to arrive for the week-long regatta. For this reason, participants are urged to make hotel or rental reservations early because it is "high season" in Pensacola, and the very popular “Blue Angels” summer airshow at Pensacola Beach happens on Saturday, July 14. 

Make lodging reservations through Pensacola’s central tourism bureau at and get more Pensacola area sports information at Pensacola Sports and the Florida Sports Association both support the Optimist Nationals at PYC. 

About the Optimist Dinghy

The Optimist Dinghy: "Opti"

  • The Opti is being raced in over 120 countries by over 160,000 skippers. It is one of only two yachts approved by World Sailing exclusively for sailors under 16. At the London Olympics, nearly 80% of all boat skippers were former dinghy sailors, most of them having reached international level in the International Optimist Class.

How It All Began

  • The history of the Optimist pram (forerunner of the dinghy) began in August 1947 in Clearwater, Florida. Major Clifford A. McKay came up with the original concept and then asked Clark Mills, a boat designer, to build it. In November 1947, a fleet of eight raced in Clearwater Bay. The first large regatta was held in December of 1948 . . . Read more about the Opti's origins here.

PYC Junior Sailing

  • Pensacola Yacht Club's Jr. Sailing program offers year 'round sailing instruction, including summer sailing camps and regional competitions for the youth of the community. Optis, monohull keelboards, Flying Scots, sailboards, Lasers, and 420s are sailed. Visit the PYC Junior Sailing website.   

2015 opti nationals Video

Check out this awesome YouTube video from the 2015 Opti National Championship Regatta held at PYC, produced by Sean P. Brown, a Little Red Boat Studio Production

To view the other 2015 Opti Nationals videos, click on the VIDEOS tab at the top of the page.

PYC Junior Sailing Program

PYC's Junior Sailing Program  (PjYC) encourages camaraderie among young sailors and promotes sportsmanship on and off the water. PjYC is pleased to have world-renowned racer, César Travado, from Spain as Sailing Director. He has established a relentless training program for our young sailors. For more information on joining the program, contact César at

PYC: "The South's Finest Yacht Club"

Pensacola Yacht Club, chartered in 1908, is a private club for members and their guests situated on 17 acres at the mouth of Chico Bayou. Enjoy the full-service restaurant and bar, banquet, and meeting rooms, and large, modern swimming pool.


The club offers breathtaking views of Pensacola Bay, a totally new marina, and a sandy beach for swimming, kayaking, and launching small boats. PYC is an exceptional venue for large racing regattas, training programs such as US Sailing's Safety at Sea Courses, and special events.

Local Sponsors

local grant partners

USODA Gold Partners

USODA Silver Partners

Contact Us

PYC 2018 Optimist Nationals Regatta

Chairman: Tom Pace, Jr., Email:

Cell: 850-572-6727


Principal Race Officer (PRO) and Fleet Captain: Hal Smith

Email:, Cell: 864-275-6290


Marketing and Communications Director: Talbot Wilson

Email:, Cell: 850-217-7138

Social Media / Webmaster: Marci Carson

Email:, Cell: 857-207-2008

Pensacola Yacht Club

1897 Cypress Street, Pensacola, Florida 32502 USA

Phone: 850-433-8804