East End race attracts big fleet

More than 30 sailors took off to the eastern districts to sail in the idyllic waters inside the reef on the northeastern tip of the island over the Heroes Day weekend.

It was the eighth annual regatta held in memory of Capt. Leroy Watson. Raised in East End, Capt. Watson rose to become a sea captain of super tankers before retiring. He tragically drowned in an accident in 2006. The regatta has been sponsored throughout by Donald McLean from Health Care Pharmacy.

The Pico double-handed division saw a number of parents joining their kids in the racing, which summed up the great family spirit of the whole weekend. Matthew Hanson and Ethan Slocock ran out winners from Ian and Georgie Hider with Will Roberts and Tyler Lawson in third. In the Youth Optimist event, Allena Rankine showed why she is a champion sailor with another dominant performance taking first place in all the races. Will Jackson was second, closely followed by Charles Allen.

The Open dinghy class featured Lasers and Bytes, a mixture of adult and youth racers. The winds were good but sailors did have to watch out for the odd shallow reef. Seven races over the two days saw the club coaches coming out on top, with Coach Raph nudging out Coach Kelvin to take top honors. Charlie Grover took third, and Thomas Bishop was the highest ranked youth sailor.

A new feature of the regatta was the participation of the catboats. Jerris Miller of Morritt’s coaxed them out and they proved a wonderful spectacle. Capt. Kem Jackson saw Miller off to take line honors.

Club Manager Rick Caley explained, “Everyone enjoys coming out here every January. It really does feel like traveling abroad, and the conditions are fantastic. It is a huge undertaking to transport so many boats out to East End and a lot of work, and we are grateful to Compass Marine for their help in that respect. Give us a few days to recover and we will be looking forward to doing it all again next year.”

The Cayman Islands Sailing Club runs dinghy racing every first Sunday of the month. If you would like to take part, contact [email protected]