By ROBERT DUNKLEY
THE Bahamas National Sailing School and Nassau Yacht Club hosted the Cecil G Cooke Memorial Jr Regatta for the second year at the weekend.
Sponsored by Subway and organised by Sandra Cooke, the regatta honours the late Cecil Cooke, who competed with Sir Durward Knowles in the 1960 Tokyo Olympics Star class sailing when they won the first ever gold medal for the Bahamas.
This regatta was the largest junior sailing event ever in Nassau and is one of four major junior regattas held each year in The Bahamas, attracting sailors from a number of Family Islands. With 57 participants from New Providence, Grand Bahama, Harbour Island, Long Island and Abaco, the results showed just how competitive the country’s young sailors are. The juniors, depending on age, size and skill level, raced in different classes/fleets, such as the Optimist Dinghy Championship fleet for experienced eight to 15-year-olds, Optimist Green fleet for beginners, Sunfish, Laser Radial and Laser 4.7 for older, more advanced sailors.
Sailing conditions for the two-day, seven-race regatta were perfect with a steady 10 to 12 knot breeze out of the east.
While there are winners of each fleet, the overall winner and sailor whose name is inscribed on the Cecil G. Cooke perpetual trophy is the first place finisher in the Optimist Championship fleet as this is the class in which juniors begin their sailing. It is the youngest group and because of this, the group Cecil Cooke would have been most supportive of.
The overall 2015 winner was Tristan Eldon, a 13-year-old from Nassau. He won convincingly in a competitive 26-boat fleet by placing first in all seven races. This was his third major win this year, the other two being the KPMG Championship Regatta and The Bahamas Youth Olympic Regatta.
The Long Island trio of Isaac Fox, Luke Knowles and Enrique Wells battled it out for the second and third place trophies. Isaac and Luke were tied for second and Enrique was one point behind them with Isaac taking second on the tiebreak. Melisha Higgins from Harbour Island was top female. Carson Miller, from Long Island, won the Optimist Green fleet, ahead of Joshua Weech and Jaxon Parker Searcy, both from Nassau.
Helena Wassitsch took top honours in the Sunfish fleet closely followed by Jaqueline Frode and Harbour Island’s Antwuan Dean took third.
The Laser 4.7 class was won by Tahj Ramirez with five firsts and two seconds. Robbie Carey took second and Daisy Tinkler third - all from Nassau.
The Laser Radial class, in which the most advanced sailors compete, was won by Spencer Cartwright, of Nassau, with five firsts and two seconds. Branden Sands, from Cherokee Sound, Abaco, was second and Cochise Burrows, from Nassau, was third.
Robert Dunkley is the National Sailing School Director