Drawn from five different continents, 198 young sailors drawn from 23 Nations competed at the 2009 IODA OPTINAM (North American Optimist Championship) at Boca Chica, DR from June 30 to July 8. The organizing committee was the Dominican Optimist Association (ADO).
For the first time since 2000, an American won the challenging event, 14 year old Christopher Williford from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. From day one, Williford led the fleet. Only on the last day of racing he showed some weakness, but managed to stay ahead with a two point lead over Brian Higgins from Argentina. American Axel Sly took bronze and Puerto Rico’s Juanky Perdomo finished fourth.
During the last three OPTINAMs and at World level, Puerto Rico has been doing extremely well, but the top sailors aged out of the class. Juanky Perdomo and Victor “Tito” Aponte (17th) now set the example for the next generation PUR Sailors.
Both countries with three sailors in the top 10, America and Argentina dominated the fleet. First girl Claudia Mazzaferro finished 12th and Dominican Rodrigo Delgado proudly took the 15th spot on the podium.
Finishing seventh, Eugene Hendrikx (AHO) scored the best result ever for Curacao. The AHO team, with nine sailors, showed a lot of progress, as seven improved their personal records. Odile van Aanholt improved to 56th this year after finishing 189 last year at the Curacao OPTINAM.
In team racing, AHO was the North American team race Champion, and Peru the overall champion. The team racing took place just in front of the beach in Boca Chica, where Optimist fans gathered to have a close view of the matches and encourage their teams.
Eduordo Verdeja and his OPTINAM 2009 Dominican Optimist Association (ADO) Team can look back on a well-organized North American Championship: 198 sailors representing 22 countries from five continents (North and South America, Europe, Oceania and Asia) sailed 11 races and a team race championship in perfect conditions. At the Optimist Worlds in Brazil, the venue will be decided for 2010 OPTINAM—
Canada and Mexico are the candidates for the next edition.