Sixty-four sailors representing 16 nations
The boats are back on the port at the end of the 13th Monaco Optimist Team Race, January 11-15, 2023, an international regatta for the team racing elite in this class, organised by Yacht Club de Monaco with support of FxPro, technical clothing supplier SLAM, boatyard Erplast and Peace and Sport. With 16 nations and 64 under-14 sailors racing, the event reflects a sports policy led by YCM where “transmission is one of our core values but also central to our Monaco, Capital of Advanced Yachting approach,” said YCM General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri.
Croatians claim victory
The grand finale played out between America and Croatia kept the suspense going from start to finish throughout this event. Having got out of the starting blocks in fine style, the Americans fell at the last hurdle on this final day ceding victory to the Croatian team, having won it twice, in 2020 and 2022. But it was the outstanding control and consistency of the JKU Deep Blue team from Croatia who emerged victorious. “It was difficult as we are a small club, and to beat America’s national team is a really big deal. We lost the first race in the final so we had to calm down and refocus our efforts to win the next two matches,” explained one of the delighted team.
Hare & tortoise
“Nothing is gained by running if you don’t start on time. Fabulist Jean de la Fontaine could not have described the Spaniards’ superb comeback on the last day any better. Always just adrift of the top trio, the Club Náutico de Cambrils team proved to have nerves of steel, especially at the end of the 120 races in the round robin, comfortably booking their place in the quarter- and then semi-finals. Technically brilliant, the Spaniards progress was truly fabulous ending in a well-deserved 3rdplace just ahead of the Swedes from KSSS.
Level playing field
Ideal conditions of 5 to 10 knots throughout the four days witnessed some top flight exchanges. Among the 16 teams competing almost all had a chance of winning. Always one of the teams to watch, the Monegasques finished 6th overall “which augers well for the next one,” said their coach Margaux Meslin. “They will still be the right age to take part next year (January 10-14, 2024) and in the Team Race European Championship that YCM is organising October 2024,” she added.
There’s no let up for YCM with Act III of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series coming up 2-5 February with around 30 J/70s already registered. That fleet then returns to the Principality for the fourth and final act of that circuit, 2-5 March, at the same time as the 39th Primo Cup-Trophée Credit Suisse when the J/70s join the Smeralda 888, Longtze Premier and RS21 one design classes.
Monaco Optimist Team Race 2023 podium
1st: JKU Deep Blue (Croatia)
2nd: US National Team (USA)
3rd: Club Nàutic Cambrils (Spain)
I wanted freedom, open air, and adventure. I found it on the sea. Alaine Gerbault, French Sailor