Junior sailors got another chance to shine recently and the high level of competition was immense credit to the coaches and staff who have taught the youngsters.
The 2012 Scotiabank Youth Sailing Championship was held over the weekend of 20-21 October in the North Sound, hosted by the Cayman Islands Sailing Club.
This annual regatta, sponsored by Scotiabank, proved to be the most successful one yet in two respects; the number of sailors was the largest on record and the youths were more competitive than in previous years.
Peta Adams, the club’s sailing officer, said: “This year all the competitors that started on day one also went on to compete on day two which is particularly impressive as the conditions on day two were tough and dinghy racing is a physically demanding sport.”
There were a few standout performances over the weekend, but most notable was that of Pablo Bertran and Trey and Drew Milgate – Optimist championship and RS Feva fleet competitors respectively. Both Bertran and the Milgate brothers had seven first place finishes in as many races.
But it was not all smooth sailing for Bertran who faced stiff competition from the three-time champion, Allena Rankine, who was constantly nipping at his transom around the racecourse. But Bertran was just too fast on the day.
In the hotly contested Laser Radial class, the 2010 Youth Olympian, Lizzy Wauchope, and 2014 Youth Olympic hopefuls Jesse Jackson, Shane McDermot and Thomas Bishop all battled for laser supremacy.
After a dominant performance in the first two races on day one, it looked like Wauchope was going to sail away with the first place trophy – uncontested.
But a resurgent Jackson came back on day two and fired three bullets, which catapulted him into first place – earning him his first youth championship.
There was also a strong challenge from Bishop who sailed very well and finished the last race of the series with a bullet, which guaranteed him a second place finish, two points ahead of Wauchope.
In the Optimist green fleet, Charles Allen was in full flow, dominating both days of sailing and in the end winning quite comfortably by an 18 point margin.
In the Pico class Jonathon Wight sailed a consistent regatta to hold off competition from Jade Wilkinson and Sam Bailey and Matthew Hanson and Doug Rowland who finished in second and third place respectively.
The final day was not one to miss with 10 to 16 knots of north-easterly winds. The youth sailors showed off their prowess in the stronger winds – despite a few capsizes. For the families and friends watching from the sailing club’s dock it was quite the spectacle.
Raph Harvey, the sailing club Lead Instructor, said: “The turn out, performance and endurance that these youth sailors showed demonstrates that the youth sailing programmes are yielding results and that sailing in the Cayman Islands has a bright future.
“All of this would not of course have been possible without Scotiabank’s unwavering support for youth sailing in the Cayman Islands and we thank them again for another year of sponsorship.”
While this year’s competition had the biggest turn out ever, the Cayman Islands Sailing Club is very excited about an even bigger event next year which will be announced shortly.