TEAM USA beat Team China in a dramatic, hard-won, winner-takes-all 'Sail Off' in the team racing portion of the Optimist World Championship 2017, retaining its hold on the IODA Challenge Cup team racing trophy for the second year in a row.
In high winds of 13-18 knots, huge swell, and choppy seas, the Americans set
off in the morning alongside 15 other teams, each determined to do their
best on the final day of the team racing championship.
The day opened with a series of flights which ensured each of the top 16
teams had a chance to race twice before being eliminated if they lost twice.
Team USA skillfully bested Ireland, Germany, Thailand, and Singapore in turn
to earn the first assured place in the final Sail Off.
The final Sail Off was a best-of-three race series, the first race won by
Team USA, the second by Team China. This made the third race a 'must win'.
As the race committee, described it, the deciding race was a "great race",
the winner unclear until the very end.
The 2017 Optimist World Championship, which has a record-breaking 281
sailors from 62 countries participating, is organized by the Royal Varuna
Yacht Club with the endorsement of the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand
and the Junior Sailing Squadron of Thailand under the International Optimist
Dinghy Association. It is supported by strategic partners including Pattaya
City, the Sports Authority of Thailand and the Thailand Convention and
Exhibition Bureau. Co-sponsors include The Pizza Company, Apollo (Thailand),
Thai Airways, and True Corporation.