Junior sailing champions

ON THE WATERS: Junior sailors turned in top performances at the 2024 Deltec Youth Regatta in the Optimists, ILCA and Sunfish classes this weekend on Montagu Bay.
Photo: Bahamas Sailing Association

ON THE WATERS: Junior sailors turned in top performances at the 2024 Deltec Youth Regatta in the Optimists, ILCA and Sunfish classes this weekend on Montagu Bay. Photo: Bahamas Sailing Association


Tribune Sports Reporter


JUNIOR sailors took the waters of Montagu Bay by storm over the weekend at the 2024 Deltec Youth Regatta to be crowned victors.

The competitors earned their bragging rights in the Optimists, ILCA and Sunfish classes at the first youth regatta of the year.

The event was organised and hosted by the Bahamas National Sailing School and Nassau Yacht Club in cooperation with the Bahamas Sailing Association on Saturday and Sunday.

Joshua Weech, multiple time optimist nationals title holder, won the tiebreaker against Norman Cartwright Jr to be crowned the champion of the ILCA 6 Class. Cartwright Jr also earned 10 points and came in second to Weech. Meanwhile, Katie Kelly trailed both gentlemen for third with 24 total points.

Weech said the racing was the closest he had ever seen it but was happy to pull out the victory.

“It feels great, honestly we had really close racing and I really had to fight for it in the end. I really enjoyed it and we have honestly never seen it this close before so I am just glad I came out on top,” he said.

For one of the top Bahamian junior sailors, he is expecting great things for the rest of the year and is looking forward to working hard towards more wins in the future.

Eliza Denning prevailed over her fellow sailors in the ILCA 4 Class on Sunday. She came first to hoist the winner’s trophy after amassing seven points. John Alexiou trailed behind in the ranking with 13 points good for second best. Mary Jac Nash settled for third place with 22 points in the competition.

Denning, who picked up two wins on Sunday, was grateful for the windy conditions which aided her to an overall victory.

“It was pretty windy today so that was really fun. I managed to win two of the three races from today so that was good,” she said.

As far as her expectations for the rest of the year, her goal is to perform well at upcoming international regattas.

“I have some big international regattas coming up so I am excited for them and I am hoping to perform well,” she said.

Former Optimist national champion Finley McKinney Lambert demonstrated his prowess in the Optimist Advanced racing fleet.

He totalled nine points tied with Patrick Tomlinson, who won the Bahamas Optimist National Open Championship for two straight years, but won the tiebreaker.

Armaan Manwatkar fell behind on the scoresheet with a total of 25 points for the third position.

Lambert knew it was neck and neck between him and Tomlinson but was happy to narrowly edge out his opponent to become victorious.

“It was super tight between me and my highest competitor. We were completely tied and I won the last race which made me win overall. I am very happy about it and I hope that I will have the same success later on in the year. I am hoping that I can get to a few international regattas and do my best,” the 14-year-old said.

Joel Ponnore excelled on the waters in the Optimist green fleet. A mere point separated the first and second positions of this race. Ponnore concluded first with eight points and Christian Wells dropped one position with nine points for second. Abel Ponnore joined his brother, claiming the third position of the race with 18 points.

Ponnore was grateful for his brother’s efforts which ultimately propelled him to a championship win. “The win felt good since on the first day I was losing terribly but, on the second day, my brother came and helped me to get first and he came second which resulted in the other guy losing points thanks to that. It was really good competition,” he said.

The Sunfish Class saw Delano Davis take home the championship hardware with seven points. Silas Munroe rounded up 12 points for second and Zachery Cartwright ended the class with 15 points and a third place finish. Davis, who is only 15-years-old, experienced some adversity on day one but was able to overcome his challenges on day two for the win.

“It feels good knowing that I can beat all of them in the same class as me. It was good on the waters but it was rough at first when the wind died down, but the next day it picked back up and that’s how I was able to win,” he said.

The newest champion has one main objective going forward. “I am looking forward to going back into Laser and to hopefully beat Joshua Weech and Greg,” he said.

The first youth regatta of 2024 was sponsored by Deltec Bank & Trust.


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