Cayman Opti team skippers handled the intense high-wind sailing conditions with poise and control at the 2017 Sunshine State Championship March Regatta on March 4 and 5.
The competition, held at the U.S. Sailing Center in Jensen Beach, is a USODA qualifier for the 2017 team trials. USODA is the United States Optimist Dinghy Association.
The Optimist class of sailing is for single-handed sailors ages 15 years and younger. Girls and boys compete against each other in a single category.
The Cayman Championship Fleet, ages 10-15, “displayed tremendous perseverance and athleticism all weekend, and it was evident that the Green Fleet sailors gained new confidence in the fierce winds” said Alan Jenkinson, executive director of the U.S. Sailing Center in Jensen Beach.
“Conditions were so intense, with wind blowing up to 30 cold knots and bow-breaking white-capped waves, the race organizers came close to cancelling the regatta, particularly on the second day of racing,” a press release from the Cayman Islands Sailing Club states.
“The young Cayman sailors persevered and were incredible ambassadors for their country,” the press release states. “We had four sailors start the regatta and all four finished without missing a single race, despite almost 30 percent of the championship fleet of 227 boats retiring during day 2 of racing.”
The top finisher for Cayman was Chloe Bentick-Lalli, who was 87th overall out of the 227 boats, with a 13th place finish in the last race of the regatta. Charlotte Webster was second from the Cayman fleet at 98th, followed by Matheo Capasso at 114th, and Ava Hider in 131st.
Sailors from the CISC are slated to compete at the 32nd Magic Marine Optimist Easter Regatta in The Netherlands in April, the Optimist North American Championships in Toronto in June, and the Volvo Gill Optimist British National and Open Championships in Weymouth, England, in July.
On May 13, the Opti fleet will be in action at the Cayman Islands Spring 2017 Regatta from noon-6 p.m. at the Cayman Islands Yacht Club and Morgan’s restaurant.
The regatta will feature 18 international youth Opti Sailors from Cayman, Turks and Caicos and Canada competing for trophies and prizes. The CISC J22 fleet will breeze through Governors Harbour for a lunchtime spinnaker finish and social event.
The public can see the Cayman Islands catboats in action and take a ride, and try a pico sailboat too. There will be a barbecue, plus a bouncy castle and entertainment for the kids.