164 sailors (some winners with their trophies below) between the ages of 12 and 15 competed in this year’s Optimist North American Championships in Montagu Bay. The big event, hosted by the Nassau Yacht Club and Bahamas National Sailing School, has become the largest youth regatta in North America and the Caribbean.
NATIONAL team head coach Keir Clarke said the Bahamas’ 16-member team exceeded expectations for a group relatively new to an elite level of international competition in this year’s Optimist North American Championships.
The big event was hosted by the Nassau Yacht Club and Bahamas National Sailing School in Montagu Bay.
The team was led by three-time national champion Joshua Weech, who qualified for the Gold Fleet and finished No.47 among the 164 sailors in competition. Agriculture Minister Michael Pintard addressed young sailors during the closing ceremony.
On the final race day, Weech finished 38th and 42nd. He produced a final net score of 209. On day one he began the competition 14th in race one, went unflagged in race two and finished 19th in race three.
On day two, Weech rebounded with two of his top three outings at the championships. He sailed to a 10th place finish in race four, 20th place in race five and capped off the day with a seventh place in race six. He finished 21st in race seven and 40th in race eight.
The 16-member team of student athletes includes products of the Bahamas Nassau Sailing School (BNSS), Nassau Yacht Club (NYC), Royal Nassau Sailing Club (RNSC), Lyford Cay Sailing Club (LCSC) and the Hope Town Sailing Club.
Matthew Reid was the next best finisher at No.130. He concluded the event with a ninth place finish in race nine and sixth place in race 10 for a total net score of 281.
Kaemen Floyd finished at No.141 with his 41st place finish in race nine and a ninth place in the final event of the championships for his net score of 333.
Patrick Tomlinson also finished with a score of 333, No.142 overall. He finished 21st and 24th respectively on the final day.
Zane Munro was ranked No. 143 with his score of 334, 22nd and 26th on day four.
Jasmin Aberle was The Bahamas’ top finisher among girls at No.144 and a net score of 337, 28th and 17th yesterday.
Cameron Eldon was ranked No.145 and finished 11th in race nine but suffered a black flag disqualification in the finale for a score of 346.
Finley McKinney-Lambert highlighted the day for team Bahamas with a pair of top five finishes. He finished fifth in race nine and concluded the event with a third place finish in race 10. His final score of 349 was ranked No.146 in the field.
Maison Koepke was ranked No.148 with a score of 355.
Craig Ferguson highlighted his championship appearance with a fourth place finish in race nine and produced a score of 370 for a finish of 150 in the field.
Mary Jacqueline Nash was No.154 (392 points), David Huber finished at No. 155 with a score of 392, Conry Raine was No. 157 and Amy McSweeney was No.158, both with scores of 414. Saoirise Duffy was No.159 with her score of 428 and Scarlett McCarroll was No. 163 with a score of 447.
Gustavo Campos of Brazil took first place with his score of 55, followed by Rocco Wright of Italy with 57 and Lucas de Freitas of Brazil at 58.
The International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA) event showcases the International Optimist Dinghy, largest sailing fleet, and the number one junior class in the world. The sailors ranged between 12 and 15 years, from more than 20 countries, participating in what has become the largest youth regatta in North America and the Caribbean.