Calling All Optimist TEAM Racers . . . MAY 21 is the NEW Registration Deadline!

Pensacola Yacht Club (PYC) - 1897 Cypress Street, Pensacola, Florida 32502 USA
Pensacola Yacht Club

Pensacola Yacht Club and friends of US Opti Sailing invite you  to come to Pensacola for the USA Optimist Nationals July 13-22, 2018. Register at Team entry deadline is  May 21.

Enjoy this fun & fast-paced regatta video

USODA 2015 Opti Nationals at PYC

Team Racing / Music Video  

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

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

Opening Ceremony: Sunday morning, July 15, before the Skippers Meeting

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

Practice Racing: Opti racers can perfect their skills at PYC the week before the 2018 Opti Nationals and also during PYC’s US Sailing Junior Olympic Sailing Festival earlier in July. For more information, contact PYC's Sailing Director, César Travado, and visit the Junior Sailing website.

Start Planning Now

Organizers expect between 350 to 450 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. 

How to Register

Visit the United States Optimist Dinghy Association (USODA) website to register for the race. 2018 Opti National Championship racers need to be USODA members in good standing. If you are planning to race but are not currently a member, click on their "Join USODA" link to purchase a membership first.

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.   


It takes many dedicated volunteers to make this regatta possible. 

PYC’s USODA Committee needs your HELP. 

Check-in and measurements for the 2018 Optimist Nationals takes place on  Friday, July 13 and Saturday, July 14,
and one week of daily racing starts July 15th and ends July 22nd. Please consider signing up for:

Race Committee / Check-In Staff / Information & Hospitality / Parking Directors & Land Management

Patrol Boats with Drivers / Press Boats with Drivers / Spectator Boats with Drivers / General All-Around Help

Email Tom Pace, Regatta Director, at to sign up.

Be sure to indicate where you'd like to volunteer, along with the dates/times you're available.

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.

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

Pensacola Yacht Club

1897 Cypress Street, Pensacola, Florida 32502 USA

Phone: 850-433-8804