South Americans Officially Opens… Finally!
It has been a long road for the Organizers to host the Optimist South American Championship since it was postponed in March 2020 at the very start of the COVID Pandemic. The 2020 Event was then cancelled later in the year. At the 2020 IODA AGM, the Members supported a proposal from Brazil so that Argentina could host the event in November 6 - 13th, 2021. It was then postponed to December 11-18th to allow Argentina the time to open to international travel.
The long-awaited Opening Ceremonies for the 2021 SAMS has finally taken place. It was a celebration of the long journey as well as the excitement and anticipation of racing the week ahead. 156 sailors, proudly representing 12 countries (ARG, BER, BRA, CAN, CHI, ECU, LTU, MEX, PER, PUR, USA and URU) were happy to be on the brink of the championship after several days of measurement, preparation, and training in the legendary sea conditions off the coast of Mar del Plata, Argentina.
The ceremonies themselves had some challenges. First was the rain, so the Parade of Nations and Ceremony were taken inside the hotel. Then the power went down and there were no lights or audio system. So speaches were done under phone lights and a megaphone. Finally, the rain stopped and the ceremonies concluded outside. After all of the months of angst leading up to this championship, nothing was going to stop it from starting!
Sigrid Beckmann, IODA VP Americas, welcomed the teams and officially opened the Championship. Her welcome message captures the sentiment of the day, “For almost two years you have waited for this moment. So many changes, questions, disappointments and unknowns have finally given way to the joy and excitement to he here, meet your friends, sail with the best and enjoy what you like doing most….sailing your Optimist. Your grit and perseverance through all these difficult months have been an inspiration to us all and especially to the organizers who have never waivered in delivering the best possible Championship to all of us.”
The 2021 South American Championship is being hosted by the Club Nautico Mar Del Plata and is supported by the Federación Argentina de Yachting, and the Asociación de Optimsts Argentina. The Organizing Committee Chair, world renowned photographer Matias Capizzano and his team of volunteers have worked tirelessly for over two years to finally welcome all the sailors, coaches and supporting team members to this legendary venue to celebrate the finest of Optimist Sailing.
Racing starts tomorrow with the first day of the qualification series. The IODA PRO will determine if two or three races are sailed depending on the sailing conditions.
To follow the action on your smart phone, download the IODA App for free from the Apple Store or Google Play or go to the event microsite here to view it on your laptop computer.