Team USA Holland 2009

Welcome to the 2009 Optimist Team USA site for the

Magic Marine International Easter Optimist Regatta 

at The Braassemermeer, Roelofarendsveen, Netherlands

Day 4 - Easter Monday - Final Report

April 13, 2009. Team USA awoke Easter Monday to the fifth sunny day in a row in Holland, yet this day the air had a bit of a bite with temps in the upper 40s. Everyone was down to the club early in preparation for the final day of sailing in which the fleet was now divided into gold, silver and bronze.

Team USA, with 17 sailors in gold, including 7 sailors in the top 20, was feeling the pressure.  Everyone knew that with the fleet now grouped by finishing position, changes in the standing were likely one way or the other. Those atop the leader board needed to work hard to stay there, and those in mid-fleet had a oppty to make up a lot of ground in the two races that were scheduled for the day.

The team was one of the first out on the water, with the sailors immediately doing speed checks and split tacks to check the wind. Coaches Amanda and Peter keep the team focused and calm, as they had done the whole week.

The RC got the first gun off on time at 09:55.  But as the sequence progressed along, the 10 knot wind increased a few knots and banged left about 30 degrees. The fleet was now heavily stacked at the pinboat end which resulted in a general recall. After waiting a few minutes to see if the breeze would clock around again, and letting out a lot of scope on the anchor, the pin boat weighed anchor and reset.

The breezed stayed left, and with the start under black flag went off clean. The fleet was very tight on the line as they moved up the course. The left had been looking good – even with a line that was squarer, and many went that way.  About 1/3 of the way up the beat, the breeze eased to about 7-8 knots, the air temp immediately rose a few degrees and the breeze shifted right about 25 degrees. Those who’d been at the boat end and played the middle-right at the start were looking really good. But no less than 5 minutes later, as was going to be the case the entire day, the right side collapsed and the breeze built back in from the left with a colder bite.

A few lead boats came out of the starboard layline, but the vast majority of the fleet came in from the left – some having overstood and now reaching down with a good head of steam.

As was the case all week, the RC set a very square course with long downwind runs.  However, unlike race course layouts in the US, the course this week usually resulted in the second fleet arriving at the left weather mark at the same time as the first fleet was arriving as well. This always led to the two fleets being intermingled as they headed downwind – gold for their final run, and silver for their first.

This overlapping of the fleets made downwind tactics critical, and many places were often won or lost on the run. With the fleets now groups by finishing places, the mark rounds were very tight.

The RC completed two races, as scheduled, in breeze that remained cyclical. Those that timed the right shift, and played the left middle, did well. Those that got too far right were often unable to make it back to the center.

The regatta ended with Team USA as the 2nd place country and with 4 sailors in the top 10 - Roger Dorr (6th), Brendan Shanahan (8th), Geoffrey Nelson (9th) and Mason Mings (10th)!

After sailing, and after the charter boats were returned, a frenzied hour of gear trading took place on the lawn behind the club house. As parents watched from the balcony, the kids exchanged just about anything they could. Most of the trading took place with teams from Great Brittan, Ireland, Holland, Finland and Sweden.  Just about everyone wanted a Dutch National Sailing Team jacket – which were really nice and loaded with sponsor logos. But none were to be had as these are their national team uniforms and not for trading.

The awards ceremony wrapped up around 4pm and everyone headed back to our home base for the past 10 days, the Hotel Leiden, to freshen up for the final team dinner in historic downtown Leiden.

As the team had become accustom, team leader Erik Eenkema Van Dijk had arranged for another wonderful group dinner at a  restaurant in the heart of the old city of Leiden. After a few brief speeches, the kids presented Erik and coaches Amanda and Peter each with a wooden shoe signed by all the sailors.

Following a nice dinner and a short drive back to the hotel, it was time for a last of what had become the nightly “coaches meeting.” And on this Easter Monday night the “coaches” were successful in cleaning out the bar of red wine.  Likewise, many of the kids who said they were "going to sleep” did anything but, and heard in groups hanging out what had become their ‘meeting’ room  - #215 (hmmmm, could that have been Shanahan’s room?) and the stairwell nearby.

After a few short hours of sleep, many were up loading their cars and heading off for the quick 15 minute drive to Schipol and flights back to the States.

The 10-day adventure saw amazingly warm and sunny days, very shifty and lighter than normal wind, marvelous team organization and many new friendships amongst Team USA and with sailors from other teams -  what Opti sailing is really all about.

Next stop: Darien Connecticut for US Team Trails. 

Race Day 3 - Easter Sunday

April 12, 2009. Team USA again arrived for a 8:45 dock start. The day started with a birthday surprise for Julia Lambert (13) who's boat was fully rigged for her! Sailors then found the Easter Bunny had stopped by with some chocolate eggs in everyone's boats.

Racing got off right on schedule and the RC ran Races 4 and 5 under partly cloudy skies, temps in the mid-60s and wind around 8 knots.

The wind eased up a bit as the final flight of Race 5 was finishing, and the RC sent everyone to the YC for lunch. Since the club was upwind of the finish, it was a short sail back to the club.

Following an hour lunch break, sailors were back on the water for Race 6. Many were very pleased that the throwout would now be used, and the standing changed considerably as race 5 was scored and the throwout applied.

Race 6 started in very light air at 2:30pm, and built as the afternoon progressed.  A large number of Team USA boats finished in the top 20 in each flight. 

Team USA continued accumulating firsts. Mason Mings had TWO bullets on the day! Richard Schuurmans had 1 bullet and a 2nd. Indie Johnstone and Roger Dorr each had seconds, Geoffrey Nelson had a 2nd and 3rd, Brendan Shanahan took home a 3rd, and Cody Stansky had a pair of 4ths.

Standings thru 6 races show Team USA has 4 of the top 10, and 7 of the top 20! Team USA has 17 sailors in the Gold Fleet and 3 in the Silver Fleet.

Racing Day 2 - Saturday

April 11, 2009.  Team USA arrived at the YC for a 8:45 dock start. Unfortunately, the wind didn't cooperate, and the fleet was under AP on shore until noon. The first gun went off at 12:30, and flight 1 of Race 3 was underway. 

As flt 1 headed up the course, the RC got to business starting flight 2. After the obligitory general recall, up wen the black flag. But the wind had died down signifucantly to around 3 knots, and the RC called 30 boats BFD and had a general recall. Since the wind was dead by now, flt 2 did not start.Meanwhile, back on the racecourse, flt one was drifting around the course in 1-3 knots of breeze. Luckly there is no current on the lake.

The RC smartly finished flight 1 at the leeward mark around 2pm (90 minute race) and then sent everyone back to shore under postponent to wait for wind.

At 5pm the wind finally arrived, and flights 2 and 3 of Race 3 were successfully run in very light conditions. 

Team USA had some very good races with Brendan and Indie winning a race.

While the scores were posted Sunday morning, since they didn't have a throwout- everyone realized thing would change a lot once the throwout was factored in.

Racing Day 1 - Good Friday

April 10, 2009. The regatta got off to a glorious start. The weather was beautiful, tons of sun, warm  temperatures near 70 and decent breeze from the SSE around 13-15knots.

 210 boats comprise the fleet, which are divided into 6 color groups, racing in 3 flights per race. The first race started on time at 1:55pm.  

While sun and temperatures stayed consistent, the wind was anything but - very shifty and puffy, with the velocity fading as the day progressed. 

The RC ran two 90+ minute races, many of which were started under black flag after multiple attempts without it.

Team USA sailed well, with 11 sailors taking a top 10 finish in either race 1 or race 2.

Team USA Finishes after 2 races:

overall place - total points, race 1, race 2

6 th - 17638   Reinier Eenkema van Dijk, USA 12pts  - 9th,  3rd

11 -  16456   Brendan Shanahan, USA 18 -  13,  5

24    14752    India Johnstone, USA 24 -  6, 18

28   16487    Cody Stansky, USA 27 -  6, 21

29   16982   Andrew Puopolo, USA 27 -  18, 9

32   17115   Jacob Rizika, USA 28 - 14, 14

34   14333   Julian Moore, USA 29 -  3, 26

38   16485   Lily Katz, USA 31 -  4, 27

43   16325   Madison Gates, USA 34 - 19, 15

48   17630   Maeve White, USA 37 -  26, 11

54   12624   Katie Kelley, USA 39 -  35, 4

55   15757  Geoffrey Nelson, USA 39 -  23, 16

56   17770  Mason Mings, USA 40 -  38,  2

57   15643  Roger Dorr, USA 40 -  31, 9

76   12812  Megan Grapengeter-Rudnick, USA 50 -  33, 17

87   16636  Harrison Hawk, USA 60 -  34,  26

89   15657  Richard Schuurmans, USA 62 - 55, 7

112 17162  Sammy Stagg, USA 73 - 33, 40

160 16494  Julia Lambert, USA 101 -  48, 53

164 17090  Adele Whitmyer, USA 103 - 44, 59

Team Photos

 Click on photo to enlarge. To see all the team pictures, click  "Pictures" link or go to:

Day 4- Lay Day

Leiden, April 9, 2009. Yesterday was touring day – with a private bus and our very own Dutch tour guide, Mr. Erik EVD.

The day started with a drive past the flower fields, and then down to the North Sea coast. It was howling 20+ and driving rain. The beaches were empty except for a lone windsurfer.

The bus moved on to a stop at a wonderful village where everyone disembarked for a few hours. We visited a cheese shop to see how Dutch cheese is made, following by a really cool visit inside a working commercial windmill.

The breeze was a good 15-20 at the time, and the mill was in full operation – crushing limestone for use in paint. The kids climbed far up inside the top of the windmill, as the whole structure was moving, and you could literally feel the massive power being generated by the 4 windmill blades.

Following the windmill we moved on to a wooden shoe factory where a craftsman demonstrated a machine that mills shoes from a block of solid wood. The wood was so damp that after it had been shaped, he literally blew into the shoe and water came out of the toe.

Many headed into a traditional Dutch pancake house for a quick lunch before jumping back on our tour bus for the drive into Amsterdam.

We offloaded in the rain for a boat trip around the canals. After piling into our own private canal boat, the kids immediately commandeered the after end of the boat, leaving the parents to the front with the captain. The tour lasted about an hour and covered a lot of ground (water) – including some most interesting sights as we floated thru the red-light district.

The afternoon’s highlight was our visit to the Anne Frank house. Again, thanks to pre-planning by Erik, we all met at 4:30pm and were promptly escorted into a private classroom for a 20 minute history lesson by the Museum staff.  With the hour-plus line outside, the quick access wasn’t lost on anyone.

After the briefing, the group spent about an hour walking thru the small rooms and watching the touching videos. One of the most powerful points was when many of our kids stood up against the same wall that Anne and her sister had done 70 years ago – too see how tall they were and realized that Anne was the same size as many of our team for the 25 months she was in hiding.

When we emerged from the Frank House, the sun had come out, clear blue skies for a stroll thru the shopping markets to dinner at an Argentinean steak house.  After a hearty dinner of protein, protein and (for a certain table of dads, a lot of Argentinean red wine), it was back on the bus to the hotel and an early night for the sailors.

Day 3 Update

Roelofarendsveen, April 7 - As the Day 3 comes to a close, a brief update. 

Coaches Peter and Amanda, and Team Leader Erik EVD have done a wonderful job at preparation and the sailors are the true benefits of all their hard work. 

And this club reporter has finally learned how to drive to, and spell Braassemermeer.  Roelofarendsveen will take a few more days practice.

Everyone's charter is now tuned and properly debugged and sailors are comfortable with their gear - there were multiple airbag failures on Sunday which have been corrected, dollies are well marked, and the few sails that were delayed by airlines have arrived. 

Sunday saw no wind, sun and temps in the mid-60s. Locals all said, "it's never like this." It was deja vu the 2007 Nationals in Minnesota. 

Monday was also sunny and warm, but with a light 5-8 knot breeze that was strongest in the morning. Team USA spent the day training with the Dutch National Team, including a number of races after lunch. 

The decision to cut practice a short on Monday so everyone could get ready for karting proved a perfect call - the wind died completely dead at 3pm just as Team USA was coming off the water. The Dutch were towed in shortly thereafter.

The team and parents made an evening at karting in the town of Delft (1/2 hour drive from the hotel in Leiden). The kids had a blast, and the parents got a good work out (for those that thought karting was not a physical sport, think again!). Plenty of photos are posted online.

Today (Tuesday) was the best for wind so far - 10-12 or so - enough for most sailors to finally get in some hiking.  Skies were overcast and temps down into the mid-50s. Team USA spent the second full day training with the Dutch National Team, and was joined in the afternoon by the Irish National Team. 

Most of the days have been spent racing, either with regular starts (afternoons) or rabbit starts. Today's "pick-up" racing was anything but - very competitive with a number of sailors sitting out a race after being black flagged at a start (no confirmation on which country's coach was calling the line). 

Peter and Amanda have set up a strong program and routine. R&R at 9:30am means it - yesterday Peter left the dock with no kids even near the water. That was enough of a message to get the sailors (and their parents) awake, to breakfast, and to the venue on time.  One parent, (who'll remain nameless - pending continued hush money), overslept on Monday and paid the price with a day of Parent-of-the-Day duty!

The kids sail from 9:30-noon, break for 1/2 hour lunch on shore, then back out for the afternoon. End-of-day debrief is at 4:40pm sharp, and over by 5pm.

Tomorrow is the layday, with many looking forward to a great day-trip tour that Erik and Arjan have arranged.


Pictures are posted at  Parents can also upload their photos to this shared photo site (user name and password was emailed to all parents today).


Lastly, follow the action on twitter where breif (140 character) updates will be posted randomly thoughout the days. Just Go to


Volunteer Lunch Duty (FINAL LIST)

Have MADE Lunches For The Morning of:
SUN   5 APR       NELSON
SUN  12 APR     GRAPENGETER (shopping) &  
                               WIGGLESWORTH (packing)
And remember to pack a box of sandwich size and a box of big Ziploc bags so we have boat-friendly containers for all.

 Message From Coaches Amanda & Peter (3/26/09)

  • Bed times should be no later than 10pm, except for the night before the day off.
  • No soda during any of the days, but the kids should be able to have one non-caffeinated soda with dinner.
  • For food: please ask the parents not to give the kids sugary junk food.   

The coaches are very much looking forward to the event and meeting all of you. 

Team USA Holland on Twitter

Team USA is now also on Twitter. you can follow all the action from Holland as it happens. 

Go to or follow @ OptiTeamHolland

Or just watch the twitter stream on this site

Team USA Website launched

Team USA's website for Holland launched today. Here you'll find all the information to make the regatta fun for everyone.