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Ocean Elements 2018

Monaco Optimist Team Race - Overall

by Isabelle Andrieux 14 Jan 06:18 GMT 10-13 January 2019

Turks triumph ahead of Monegasques

64 sailors - 16 nations from 4 continents - 124 matches in a closely-fought 10th edition

For a decade the Yacht Club de Monaco has hosted an original team race contest for under-14 sailors from all over the world, with 16 teams representing 16 nations: a regatta without borders, organised by the Club with the support of FxPro, Eventica, Fon and technical clothing supplier SLAM that puts the emphasis on team-work.

Organised as duels for teams of four Optimists, supplied by boatbuilder Erplast, it highlights the tactical and technical skills of these budding young sailors, many of whom could go on to represent their countries in future international competitions and the Olympics.

"The event is at the heart of our vision to position the Principality as world capital of yachting and continues to develop, as evidenced by the international field this year from four continents. Four days of racing and sharing experiences around the values sport can bring to the new generation," commented YCM General Secretary, Bernard d'Alessandri.

Note that the Chinese team were selected at a qualifying regatta, organised in the autumn in Sanya in collaboration with the Visun Royal Yacht Club, a La Belle Classe Destinations member.

At the end of a Round Robin totalling 120 matches to ensure all teams got to meet each other, four teams made it into the semi-finals: the American national team, 2017 World Champions who were competing here for the first time; KSSS (Sweden), 2018 European Champions; the Turkish ARM Urla Sailing Club; and the Yacht Club de Monaco who finished at the top of the qualifying stages with only one defeat in 15 matches.

"Wow - a very high level! I have not seen a regatta of this quality for many years," enthused the highly experienced international umpire, Piero Occhetto.

Perseverance pays off

In the final stages, it took two wins out of three matches in each of the finals to decide between the teams, with each match going down to the wire in the last 10 metres before the finish line.

Finalists last year, the Turks again booked their ticket for the finals. They faced the Monegasques who created the surprise of the event with a young team not very experienced in the highly tactical skills required for team racing. It was a close-run finish between the two with victory going to the Turks (2-1) after the Monegasques won the first race.

"I am so proud of our sailors. They put into practice all they'd learned in the training sessions organised before the regatta. Highly motivated on their home turf, they really surpassed themselves. It bodes well for the upcoming season," said the delighted Monegasque coach, Margaux Meslin. The combative Swedish and American teams shared 3rd place.

Promoting Peace and Sport

As well as the sports aspect, this event is a great opportunity to bring young sailors together to share their passion for sailing and their cultures. During the prize-giving, the 64 youngsters brandished White Cards, the symbol of peace and solidarity through sport.

"It's important to educate children from a young age about the values of sport and the notion of peace through sport," stressed Joël Bouzou, Peace and Sport President and Founder. "Sport is universal and unites people of all ages and nationalities around a common goal: peace."

The date is already set for the 11th edition: 8-12 January 2020.

Racing continues in Monaco...

The Yacht Club de Monaco's winter season continues with Act 4 of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series (18-20 January) for the J/70s, before the 35th Primo Cup - Trophée Credit Suisse (7-10 February 2019) kicks off.

2019 Monaco Optimist Team Race podium:

1st: ARM Urla Sailing Club (TUR)
2nd: Yacht Club de Monaco (MON)
3rd: KSSS Royal Swedish Yacht Club (SUE)
3rd: Team USA

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