Team USA claimed victory at Monaco Optimist Team Race

Monaco made the podium

The 11th edition of the Monaco Optimist Team Race (MOTR) was organised by the Yacht Club of Monaco (YCM) from January 9-12, 2020, with support from FxPro, Eventica, Fon, clothing supplier SLAM and boatyard Erplast. Americans arrived in first position, followed by Sweden, with Monaco climbing to the honorable 3rd step of the podium (Photo: Prize Ceremony at YCM @Mesi BD). This competition, launched back in 2009, gave the chance to 80 young sailors (under 14 years old), grouped in 20 teams representing 19 countries, to battled under perfect weather conditions oscillating between 6-15 knots on a flat sea, during four days of racing without a pause.

  1. USA Optimist National Team (USA)
  2. KSSS – Royal Swedish Yacht Club (Sweden)
  3. Yacht Club de Monaco (Monaco)

It’s always an honour and absolute pleasure to host this regatta,” said YCM General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri. “We are pleased to continue working on this format, the team spirit concept of which is much more advanced than at other events.”


Racing workshop

Before racing started, teams from Germany, Ukraine, China, The Netherlands, France and Monaco attended an International Clinic run by world team race expert Chris Atkins, one of 14 world known umpires present for the event.It was the perfect warm-up for these teams who spent three intensive days working on starting procedures, race rules, communication and of course teamwork. 

Chilling suspense

Third last year and equal on points with the Swedes from KSSS, the American national team arrived determined to dominate. In the lead throughout the three-day qualifying round robin phase, they lost only two of their 19 matches, two defeats conceded against the Yacht Club Italiano, then the Ukrainians from the Odessa Black Sea Yacht Club. It was a game of musical chairs for the Monaco team, comprising Noah Garcia, Leonardo Bonelli, and Alessandro and Matteo Asscher.  At the end of the first day they were 4th behind the Finns from Helsingfors Segelklubb, then seemed to pose a threat to the top trio on Friday as they rose to 3rd in the provisional ranking, before being over-taken by the Ukrainians on day three of the qualifying phase.

The suspense was all over in a few hours on Sunday with final victory going to the United States. Leaders in the overall ranking from the start, team USA well deserved their first place against fierce competition from a committed Swedish team tailgating them. Monaco finally snatched 3rd place from the disappointed Ukrainians.

Global exchange

Always striving to boost international relations, the YCM plays a key role in the Principality’s reputation abroad. This year an exchange between Monaco and China sees the first three teams in the Monaco Optimist Team Race 2020 heading to Sanya in August 2020 to the Visun Royal Yacht Club, which is also a member of La Belle Classe Destinations, the YCM’s label of excellence for marinas and yacht clubs. 

All three have been invited to take part in the Monaco Optimist Team Race China Regional Qualification Trail. The final regatta at the Sanya club comes after four qualifying contests held in China, and decides who will make up the Chinese team for the following year’s MOTR. This year Lu Saiya and Chen Nan (Ironrock Sailing Club – Xiamen), Chen Qiyun (Fuzhou DH Yo Sailing Club – Fuzhou) and Luo Tianxuan (Visun Royal Yacht Club – Hainan) proved the best and enabling them to come to Monaco.

Peace through sport

Above all the MOTR is an occasion for competitors to get together, as evidence by the opening ceremony when everyone brandished a White Card as a sign of peace in the world. An initiative of Peace and Sport, chaired and founded by Joël Bouzou, it is a reminder of the importance of the values sport upholds.

Coming up

Next weekend, January 16-19 will be Act III of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series, a must for J/70 and Melges 20 fleets in the run-up to the 36th Primo Cup – Trophée Credit Suisse from February 6-9, 2020.  

Today’s Quote

“A sailor is an artist whose medium is the wind.” Webb Chiles  


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