Lakewood Yacht Club's sailing coach Bernat Gali was selected along with one other to coach at the U.S. Optimist National Championships at Royal Bermuda Yacht Club this past weekend in Hamilton, Bermuda.
Lakewood sailors Noah Zittrer, Tony Slowik and Scott Mather were among this elite group representing the USA, U.S. National Team and Lakewood Yacht Club.
"USODA, the National Authority for the Optimist Class, selected two USNT Coaches for the event," said Coach Gali. "I was honored to be one of them, which recognizes the work we are doing at Lakewood with the Opti program and increases the reputation the program already has across the U.S. Omari Scott, Head Opti Coach for Coral Reef Yacht Club, was the other Coach selected, and I must say it was a pleasure working together with him."
According to Gali, conditions were close to perfection, with winds ranging from 16-24 knots on Saturday, 13-18 on Sunday and 10-14 on Monday, with beautiful blue waters and great chop conditions which made sailing challenging, fun, and spectacular. Not to say we sailed in the Great Sound, where exactly five months ago the AC35 boats competed for the America's Cup Trophy.
Results were very successful in general for Team USA, as we got all the Top 5 sailors, top female, top junior sailor and we placed 12 sailors in the Top 20. Considering we had the Canadian and the Bermudian National Team, we were very satisfied with the results. Stephan Baker, representing Coral Reef Yacht Club, no surprise here, claimed the overall for Team USA.
Lakewood Team showed great skills and once again got some honor places. Noah Zittrer was the 4th best USNT sailor and finished in a great 4th position after a great comeback on the last day, followed by his teammate Tony Slowik in 5th after a great series of 1, 2 and 8 on the last day. They both got awarded a trophy for Top 5.
Scott Mather was the third Lakewood representative and finished 21st overall after struggling all Championship to get off the starts. Note that he was one of the youngest inside the USNT and he will have many other opportunities to show his potential.
Coach Gali relayed that it was a great experience overall; coaches and kids were hosted by local families, and everyone made friendships and memories for life.