Optimists make coach happy

Cayman’s youth sailors did their country proud with a fabulous overall result at the inaugural 2012 Race Cayman Optimist Open & Western Caribbean Optimist Championship hosted by the Cayman Islands Sailing Club.

The youngsters representing the Cayman Islands finished second, third, fourth and eighth overall and first female after the three day championship held over 15-18 March in the North Sound.

The Sailing Club and National Sailing Centre thanked the Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sport & Culture, and HSBC for being major sponsors. Flowers bottled water continued to support the racing team.

USA sailor Jordan Wiggins – who just a few weeks earlier narrowly missed out on a place on the American Optimist team – was the overall winner with a dominant performance, winning 11 of 15 races.

It was not as easy as the score suggests though. There were some extremely close finishes in every race with Florence Allan (Cayman), Evan Langford (Jamaica), Tyler Cartwright (Bahamas) and Allena Rankine (Cayman) all pushing Wiggins but his experience paid dividends in the end.

Cayman sailors Florence Allan (first female), Pablo Bertran, Allena Rankine and Finley McDougall came in second, third, fourth and eight respectively – results which the Sailing Centre coaches are extremely proud of considering it was only their second regatta against international completion.

Andrew Moon, the Commodore of the Sailing Club, said: “All the hard training paid off. The kids showed huge dedication in the pre-championship training programmes and the results speak for themselves. We really have some very talented youth sailors in the Cayman Islands.”

The regatta took place about 150 metres off the sailing club dock in Red Bay – which meant that parents, family and well-wishers could all watch the intense action. The regatta was over three days with winds speeds of up to 19 knots in the gust at times. This did not make racing any easier for our light and relatively inexperienced local racers.

Head coach Raph Harvey said: “At times I wished the wind would just drop off – if only just for the upwind legs – a few knots, to make it a bit easier on their tiny frames, but they dug deeper and got on with the task-at-hand, and for efforts like that you can ask for no more. I am very proud.”

The regatta was a major success and the sailing club is already looking forward to Race Cayman 2013. All the competitors were raving about what a good time they had both on and off the water and can’t wait to return next year.

“This is a world class venue you have got here – we will be spreading the word back home,” said Bill Wiggins, Jordan’s dad and avid sail boat racer.

For more information contact Charles Grover, Communications Officer at the Cayman Islands Sailing Club, on 946-3200, Cell: 926-0099, Email: [email protected],

For more information contact Charles Grover, Communications Officer at the Cayman Islands Sailing Club, on 946-3200, Cell: 926-0099, Email: [email protected],

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