It won’t be a breeze in Tortola

Five youth sailors will be representing Cayman in the Premier’s Cup regatta in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

The regatta runs this weekend from Friday to Sunday. The Premier’s Cup event was started in 1998 and was the first Youth Team Sailing Regatta in the Caribbean.

This annual regatta is organised by the joint Rotary Clubs of BVI and “Kids And The Sea”. The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman has given generous support to the team by covering the cost of their flights to the regatta.

The sailors representing Cayman are Pablo Bertran, Florence Allan, Ronan Jennings, Jesse jackson and Justino Rodrigues.

Sebastien Guilbard, incoming president of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman is excited about supporting the youth. He said: “We are pleased to be able to help these youngsters compete in such a prestigious event.

“They have shown dedication to their sport and to each other and we hope they do well but most of all enjoy the experience of meeting fellow athletes from other countries in our region. We are delighted to send the young kids to perpetuate a long time Cayman Tradition of sailing and boat building, which has recognised many Caymanians and the Cayman Islands for decades.”

The aim of the regatta is to promote friendly competition among young sailors from around the Caribbean. The Cayman Islands Sailing Club first sent a team to the regatta in 2000 and again in 2008. Both times the team was generously sponsored by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman and the Olympic Committee. In 2008 the team finished first place in the silver fleet.

Apart from the obvious benefits derived from meeting and developing friendships with other youngsters from the Caribbean region, the regatta offers the chance for local sailors to compete at a high level.

This is always one of the biggest obstacles when living on a small island. They cannot really benchmark themselves against the best and find positive models for self improvement unless they travel abroad.

The Cayman Sailing club is a non-profit organisation. The club has had a lot of success recently in promoting sailing to Cayman’s youngsters, regardless of their backgrounds.

“The five members of the team have all come through our schools programme” explained Rick Caley, manager of the Sailing Club. “This regatta allows us to choose a group of young sailors from various backgrounds to represent Cayman at an international event. The regatta will promote teamwork among a diverse group of young people, encourage sportsmanship, and foster positive self development.”

The team is currently training on the clubs J22 keel boats, a similar boat to the IC24s that they will sail in BVI. They have been taking part in the J22 fleet racing against adult teams and acquitted themselves well. The coaches have given freely of their time to make this happen. Their aim is to finish in the top three of the gold fleet in BVI.

“The team has come together from different sailing backgrounds”, said coach Kelvin Brown. “The younger members have learned their racing in single handed Optimist dinghies whilst the older kids are presently sailing Laser dinghies.

“The transition to becoming a team, each person with a specific responsibility on the boat, takes time, but they have been training for several weeks and all show a commitment to each other.”