Sunday, 10 July 2011

Closing Ceremonies

Tavira put on a good show for the Closing Ceremonies.  Big screen Capizzano photos set to great music, poolside dinner and even Opti sailing in the Albacora pool made for a superb last night in Portugal.

Romain and Cooper were MIA dealing some last minute trades but if we can get some snaps of them we will upload to the blog ASAP.

Where's your PFD?

Everyone in the Pool!

Dad, Just Don't Throw Me in the Pool OK?

Capizzano=Most Amazing Pics on the Big Screen

International Sailors Still Trading Gear to the End

Jill, Ian, Juan & Alex

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Ian MacDiarmid Day Six Interview

Final TeamUSA Results for the 2011 IODA Optimist European Championship

* Ian MacDiarmid   34th overall

* Romain Screve     38th overall

* Alex DelBello       42th overall

* Cooper Weitz       67th overall

TeamUSA had a blast off the water too!

The Fat Lady has Sung...

It's all over here in Tavira.  Alex wrapped up her final international Optimist regatta with a 9th in race 12A Girls, Romain came back from a tough two days to finish 13th in 12A Boys, Cooper wrapped up his international Optimist career with a 24th in 12A and Ian wrapped up his event with a 24th in 12B to finish the Europeans as the top American finisher.

Final scores to come.

Now it's time to derig, clean up the charter gear and get cleaned up before the Closing Ceremonies and the Final Speed Round of the gear swap... will your TeamUSA Fast Five get their way, or will they be left with too many t shirts and just not enough time?

TeamUSA Boys chomping at the bit to get out of the box.

Alex on fire downhill, passed at least 8 boats and now 12th around her last gate in International Optimist competition. Go girl!

Race 12A Girls On Course at Gate. 12B Girls in sequence. Boys up shortly.

1:15PM Update: Tracker still offline. Parents on the hard getting antsy.

Opening Ceremonies TeamUSA clip... finally!

Broadband just went down at Race HQ for 5 minutes. Had to peel all the bloggers off the ceiling! Back up and running now...

TeamUSA's Alex DelBello Day 5 Interview

Texas Youth Race Week

Good morning to our friends in Houston, TX on the opening day of Texas Youth Race Week.  Looking forward to seeing you for US Nationals!

Day Six 12:15PM Update

All boats are launched.  The ripping North AM breeze that destroyed TeamUSA's tent has given way to the more Westerly afternoon Tavira direction at 10-12 with more velocity expected by the 1PM first start.

TeamUSA did another morning RIB trek to the East this morning after breakfast.  Great fun to poke around the relatively deserted barrier island early in the mornings...

The Remains of TeamUSA's Tent after the Overnight Breeze
Spirits are high among our Fast Five as they look to Race 12 as a one race regatta.  Time to let loose, get in phase, nail the first shift and make it happen.

TeamUSA's Cooper Weitz Interview Day Five

The Final Day is here

It's hard to believe but this is the last day of sailing.  Overall standings for TeamUSA going into the last race of the series:

Ian  38th
Alex 44th
Romain 45th
Cooper 72th

Yesterday our team had to swallow two black flag penalties, rats!  When the current shut down a bit it forced the sailors to recalibrate a bit on the line and we didn't always get it quite right.  No matter, it's sunny once again, the biggest morning breeze rattled the room door this morning as a natural wake up call and as I type on the pier of the Clube Nautico de Tavira it's time to get to the final day of the 2011 Europeans.


The Swap Meet is in full swing

Anyone who had attended a major international Optimist event knows gear/kit swapping of official gear is a highlight of activities ashore.  In fact, TeamUSA packed two extra bags of logo stuff to make sure our Fast Four were well equipped to handle the trading schemes...

Last night as the Team Leader approached our sailors' room for lights out it looked like a street party outside the room!  Sailors from Germany, Japan, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Argentina and At least Austria were moving in and out of TeamUSA's open door in the Opti world's version of Let's Make a Deal.  Our sailors have learned to never fall in love with a jacket, t shirt or life jacket and be willing to walk away if the swap doesn't make sense - and they are, Duh, Winning the rush for gear!

Who says Optimist racing doesn't teach life lessons?  Ha!

As of now it's clear our "TeamUSA European Summer Tour" shirts are a big hit and bring substantial value to the trading floor for our sailors in the lobby at the Hotel Albacore.  Cooper has already secured a super cool IRL pfd, Ian has some Italia kit coming in trade for one of his much sought-after Team USA Baltic pfds, Alex has accumulated quite the global t shirt collection and Romain is getting ready to pull the trigger on a number of negotiations he has been developing during the week.

Time for dinner here in Tavira.  We're waiting for today's results, will update when they are available.  One Day to go and TeamUSA is ready to close the Europeans on a high note.

Standing by in the Albacore bar because it's where the wifi works...

Friday, 8 July 2011

TeamUSA's Ian MacDiarmid Interview Day Five

TeamUSA's Romain Screve Interview Day Five

Quote of the Day

USA Country Rep:  "Romain, with three races to go are you planning to play it safe or hang it out a bit today?"

Romain: "I'm planning to beat Ian!"

Current... currently

Today will offer a slightly different set of conditions with the current.  While the last 2 days many sailors - and coaches! - have been confounded by the current here, today the first race appears to be starting at slack water.  We'll see if the fast kids who were current challenged can get launched today.

12:20PM All boats are launched, breeze on and race 10 and 11 are on deck

Random thoughts while waiting for lunch

Why is it TeamUSA's sailing gear make their room smell like farm animals live there?

Why is it I can rent a 50 mpg clean diesel rental car from Hertz here for 50 bucks a day that will cruise at 90 mph with ease, but not in the US?

Why is it the Portugese have a different word for everything?  (With props to Steve Martin)

Why is it Coca Cola tastes so much better here?

Why is it ice is a rare commodity here?

Why is it the water seems more beautiful here than anywhere I have ever been?

Why is it I can't seem to get a ride out to the boat without begging?

Why is it this week has gone by so quickly?

It's Official: Team Audi Germany has the Coolest Kit in Tavira

Day Five Morning Adventure & New Pics!

TeamUSA finally got our act together for a field trip up the river and to the barrier island today.  We idled into a secluded basin and dropped the sailors on a pristine beach...


This region never fails to impress by its natural terrain.  The water, air and sky are like the prettiest watercolor you have seen.  While our primary plan here is to race sailboats, it's always fun to take in culture and that's what we plan to do tonight... by go karting :)

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Team USA Results at the end of Day 4

TeamUSA standings after 9 races:
Ian           33rd overall 16-8 today)
Romain    48th overall (18-62 today)
Alex        50th overall (36-14 today)
Cooper    62th overall (35-63 today)

Welcome IODA race fans from around the world!

We appreciate IODA featuring our little blog on the Europeans minisite, it's our shot at the big time!  There's something special about traveling to Europe for 10 days to compete against the best Opti sailors in the world, and it's fun to share it with you out there around the world.

It really is amazing to look around the race village and right here in the Albacore lounge to see so many teams blogging before, during and after the racing.  In fact, it's often hard to upload pics to our site in the evening because our fellow bloggers are eating so much bandwidth doing the same thing!

So take a peek back at our previous posts, enjoy the pictures and come back for updates at the last three days of the 2011 IODA European Champs begin tomorrow morning.  And don't forget to sign up for automatic updates on the right side of our home page...  thanks for joining us...


Some random thoughts at the end of Day Four

This is a very serious event!  Looking at the competition and understanding that teams like France will not be attending Worlds this year but everyone is here proves this is one of the toughest Optimist fleets in the world this year.  You can lose 30 boats missing one shift, or gain 20 with one brilliant move.

Isn't that the way championship sailing should be?

TeamUSA appreciates the continuing invitation extended by our European friends to participate in the European Champs.  This venue is outstanding, the race committee work excellent and the weather is just about perfect.  With 4 days of racing complete the competition is sure to take a leap in intensity tomorrow, and TeamUSA is up to the challenge.

Results are pending.... standing by in Tavira.

A brief indulgence by your scribe

On a personal note, I'd like to send great big hugs to my children Will and Clare back in the States.  You are missed here - a number of people who knew you from your trip to British Nationals in 2009 have been asking for you both.  Someday I'm sure you both will sail Optis here too - and chances are one of the members of TeamUSA Europeans 2011 may very well be coaching you, maybe even your brother Ian!

This week in Portugal reminds one how great it is to be involved with championship Optimist sailing.  Meeting new friends, reconnecting with old pals and learning more about other cultures is an amazing experience for both the sailing team as well as the coaches and parents.

With 3 days left, the week has simply gone by too quickly.

Now, back to the racing!

Day Four 10AM update

Good morning out there in OptiLand!

First of all, congratulations to the 2011 Optimist North American Champion Russell Clarida.  We've been following the racing off Long Beach all week and the performance of TeamUSA there has been outstanding.  Also congrats again to USA2 of Rogers, Schuurmans, Logue, Parkin and A. Toppa for coming through the losing bracket to win the OptiNAM team racing championship.  Our Worlds team will be even faster in New Zealand because of you guys keeping our Fast Five hungry.

Well done to the team leaders, coaches and our 40-strong team of sailors.  Impressive stuff.

Back at TeamUSA's European Base, we woke to 15-20 kts out of the North which was cool, dry and very New England like.  That's the good part.  The not so good part is the locals are telling us the breeze will probable clock and die as the day goes on.

Did I mention the breakfast spread the Albacore puts on each morning?  I think I've gained 10 pounds here and there's still 3 days left.  Time to add a run around the town tomorrow AM.

As the sun climbs into the sky and the temperatures ascend into the high 80s we are waiting to launch.  Later today we plan to send the sailors on a RIB ride up river to explore the beautiful nature preserve which surrounds the venue here in Tavira.

If you're an Opti sailor it just doesn't get any better than this.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

225 Optis off the Algarve

If you click on the image you will see 225 
of the fastest Opti sailors 
in the world off Tavira today!

Day Three in the books

Back from Spain and the story from Tavira is... more of the same on the water.  10-15, not a cloud in the sky and great racing!  The current was even more of a factor today and created some big line sag opportunities for those who were on the ball.  It was also a factor at the top mark where Ian - fresh off a 5th in race 6 - came storming along in 5th place at the 2 boat length circle but had called the layline a bit short and... came out in 40th.  Ouch, especially since that was the topic of Coach Juan's chalk talk today but a teachable moment he won't repeat!

Preliminary results after 3 days:

Romain  30th  (OCS-31-9 today)
Ian         44th   (26-5-44 today)
Cooper  49th   (55/23/41 today)
Alex      50th preliminary

TeamUSA has finished dinner and is owning the patio card games.  Off to bed by 9:30, 3 days to go and keeping their eyes on the prize.

Standing by at the Albacore....

Images from Day Two