Two young sailors heading to USODA team trials

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX)

Several Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC) members gathered Friday night for a crawfish boil fundraiser. The fundraiser was an effort of the LBYC to help two members attend the USODA team trials in San Francisco on May 2.

If your not a sailor or don't know anyone who is, you may not be familiar with the prestigious opportunity awarded to 11-year-old Boyd Housey and 10-year-old Ricky Welch.

The two sailors were offered a chance of a life time to take part in the United States Optimist Dinghy Association (USODA) which is the national class organization for optimist sailing in the United States. The Opti Team Trials is the Qualifying event for the US National Youth Sailing and the US Youth Development Team. 

If selected they would travel worldwide to sail competitions in Europe, South America and several others.

According to Welch's mom, Christy Welch sailing is a sport unlike any other.

"It's not like soccer or football, sailing-you can do it forever," Christy Welch said.

The USODA is also the regatta that determines the sailors that will represent the United States at the International Optimist Dinghy Association World Championship, North American Championships, the British Nationals and the European Championship.

Team Trials is an Invitation-Only regatta. Sailors have to qualify by participating in one or more of the USODA National or Regional regattas.  To qualify sailors must finish in the top 50% of all participants at the USODA Nationals, or in the top 25% of all participants at any USODA Regional event. 

More recently, Welch came in first place in the Valentine's Regatta in St. Petersburg, Florida. There, he qualified for the USODA team trials. Ricky is now listed as one of the 265 Optimist sailors throughout the nation who have qualified for Team Trials.

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