Coach Harvey storms around but it’s not all plain sailing

The Cayman Islands Sailing Club hosted the fourth annual Stormchaser dinghy regatta last weekend.

The Stormchaser regatta was introduced to mark the arrival of the hurricane season and takes place in June every year. It is one of only two regattas held during the year where different classes of sailing boat sail together. Once again the weather didn’t disappoint for this year’s Dinghy and Cat Boat regatta. Strong winds and choppy seas tested both the resilience and the skills of the sailors.

Saturday saw four races run and there was plenty of capsizing and equipment failure as the racers pushed themselves and their boats to the limits. In the Laser fleet Raph Harvey showed why he is very much the man in form winning three out of four whilst Chris Delaney dominated the Laser Radial fleet as did Pablo Bertran in the Optimist fleet.

“The conditions were not easy and it was good to see the youth sailors coping with the extra wind and wave action” said Harvey. “A lot of people find their fitness levels challenged in stronger wind but they had the skills to adjust and preserve energy.”

On the Sunday the Cat Boats joined in the action. They too found the conditions challenging but Jerris Miller in Whittaker Cat showed how to handle them by sailing a fast but cautious race. The scratch team of Kelvin Brown, Andrew Moon and Mark Macfee, sailing Chisolm Cat seemed to be giving Miller a run for his money until disaster struck on the downwind leg.

Brown couldn’t deal with a ‘death roll’ and the boat capsized and sunk leaving the club coach, commodore and ace sailor floating amidst the pieces of their boat. Fortunately the boat which had been loaned by the Catboat club was soon back in good shape and the sailors just a little wet. “It was definitely a learning experience,” said coach Brown. “Everyone was ready for a Red Stripe after that.”

In the Lasers Harvey went on to win all three races taking the championship with ease. Delaney took second place overall with Charlie Grover sailing a steady regatta to take third. In the Optimists, Allena Rankine had been on Pablo’s tail in every race and she took two of the three races on day two but it wasn’t enough and Bertran took the championship by three points.

“I was exhausted by the end but it was a great sailing experience,” said Bertran.

Dave Stephenson, the fleet rep for dinghies, thanked all those who made it such a successful event. “Race committee once again ran the racing with true professionalism and our generous sponsors at Red Stripe gave the event a true regatta feeling once again.”