1) Mike, you are the head Opti coach for CERT. Tell me about the program you run and what opportunities there are for local Opti sailors. CERT is an Optimist racing team for sailors wanting to extend their sailing season beyond the summer sailing weeks. We hold weekly clinics from September to December and from March to May. The majority of our clinics are at Toms River Yacht Club, and we almost always practice at each regatta venue for at least one day prior to each event. We attend the majority of USODA regattas, team races, and open international events like the famous Orange Bowl. This year we are adding the Saint Thomas IOR and CORK to our schedule! Our sailors get the opportunity to attend these events as a high performance travel racing team, rather than a yacht club program. Families do not need to be a member of any yacht club or organization to be a part of CERT. We utilize top local coaches as well as bring in some of the best Opti coaches in the world for our sailors!
2) The Team Trials is arguably the most important regatta of the year. I know you guys are preparing hard for it right now. Tell me about the event (where, when), what's on the line, and how you best prepare your sailors to peak at this event.
The Team Trials is a seeding event for the US National Team, the World Championships, North Americans,
Asians, and other international optimist events. To attend Team Trials the sailor must first qualify by finishing in the top 25 percent in a USODA regatta. This makes Trials more competitive because its the top 25% of Optimist sailors in the country. There should be around 250 sailors and only 55 of them can make the National Team, while the top 80-100 may qualify for an international event. We have been working very hard on perfecting our speed in
chop, Anyone who has sailed in Miami has experienced the “Sunday Funday” boat wake that can come from every direction! We are also focusing on our start consistency. Starting well every race will set you up for a successful regatta. Our Spring season leads directly into team trials and we only have a month and a half to prepare after winter. We take advantage of every minute on and off the water and I think the sailors try that much harder because they understand we have less sailing time than some other teams. Maintaining a positive attitude, keeping it fun, stress free, and getting everyone feeling as prepared as possible, are the ingredients for a great regatta.