Sixty-six of the best Optimist sailors from the United States took part in the “2015 USODA (United States Optimist Dinghy Association) U.S. National and U.S. Development Team Boot Camp Practice” at the Annapolis Yacht Club, June 10-14. The boot camp was designed to help the elite young sailors prepare for the year’s busy national and international regatta schedule.
Sports psychologist, Dr. Tim Herzog, and US Sailing Sperry Technical Director, Grant “Fuzz” Spanhake, oversaw the practice along with ten of the best Optimist coaches from around the country.
The coaches, who represented the summer’s U.S. international Optimist teams, used the four-day practice as a training platform to prepare their teams for a multitude of high level competitions around the world, including Wales, Poland, Belgium, Flanders, and Antiqua.
One of the coaches who also helped to organize this year’s boot camp was AYC Optimist Head Coach, Tomas Ruiz de Luque, who explained, “Everybody enjoyed it last year. This boot camp provides a great opportunity for guest sailors to experience a different sailing environment and meet new friends. The quantity and quality of coaches and sailors is amazing.”
He explained that daily practice activities involved on-the-water training, practice races, drills, and a series of seminars conducted by Dr. Herzog and Mr. Spanhake. Sailors were then treated to a dinner and party at AYC’s clubhouse at the conclusion of the camp.
Although this was the first USODA practice of the season, for AYC, this was the second year they were chosen to host the event by the United States Optimist National Team.
“Everyone at AYC worked really hard to prepare for it. Parents of Junior Fleet members opened their homes for guest sailors to stay and provided transportation to and from the airport. Last year was a bit of a challenge since it was our first time hosting, but this year was a really great event. Our goal was to get everyone to enjoy the Club as much as we do year round and I think we achieved that,” said Mr. Ruiz de Luque.
Eleven AYC Junior Fleet sailors attended the boot camp and will be participating in the national and international regattas this summer, including Mariner Fagan, Sam and Jordan Bruce, Maddie Hawkins, Owen Hennessey, Edward Cromwell, Will Cornell, Ian Street, Boyd Bragg, Benton Amthor, and Nathan Smith.