Kids are breezing towards top level

Mike Weber was brought over from
Canada to develop Cayman’s youth programme and the club’s sailing director is evidently
doing a fine job.

At the North American and Caribbean
Youth Olympic Games Qualifier last weekend, all his youngsters excelled.

“The Cayman kids did really well,”
Weber said. “All of them met their individual goals which is great and they
learnt a lot from being able to sail against some very good sailors.

“So we’re very happy, not just from
a learning perspective but also from individual performances.

“We had one eligible girl sailor
who may still qualify, Lizzie Wauchope. We’re still waiting on some processes
and fingers crossed she will qualify in a week or two because she just missed
it. She was the hardest working sailor and we’re very happy with her progress.

“In terms of our development plan
that we set out five years ago, one of the things that we wanted to do was to
host a major international regatta.

“It gives our kids an excellent
opportunity to race against good sailors and I hope it also adds to the way
we’re trying to legitimise sailing in Cayman.

“If we can attract all these
countries here and they say it’s a fabulous place to sail then hopefully in
years to come the regatta will continue and people in Cayman will realise that
this is a place where you can train for the Olympic Games.”

Oliver Fogarty, 16, won Cayman’s
national championships two weeks ago and the Scotiabank races in November.

He said: “I’m too old for the Youth
Olympics but I entered this regatta just to test how fast I was. I got twelfth
overall out of 30 bytes.

“Hopefully, I’ll move up into
lasers and sail for England at some point. I really enjoy the byte, it is my favourite
boat at the moment.

“I would like to go to the Olympics
one day, that’s a dream.”

Marina Maffessanti moved to Cayman
from her birthplace of Jamaica four years ago so competed for the neighbouring
island.

She has been sailing bytes for four
years and was second female overall last weekend.

“Bytes are difficult to sail but
they’re fast,” Maffessanti, 16, said. “This was great experience for me because
the bytes here are also sailing in the world championships which I hope to go
to in France in a couple of weeks. So it is good to sail against some of the
competition before the regatta starts.

“For now I hope to
keep progressing and eventually make it to higher regattas.”

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