Ben Darbyshire leads Bahamian sailors at U-19 Sail Canada Youth Championships

2015 Cork Sail Can Youth - Ben Darbyshire (right), 3rd place 4.7 Class Fleet, with 1 and 2 finishers.

2015 Cork Sail Can Youth - Ben Darbyshire (right), 3rd place 4.7 Class Fleet, with 1 and 2 finishers.

BEN Darbyshire led a five-member team of Bahamian youth sailors ages 14-16 at the Under-19 Sail Canada Youth Championships in the Laser Class Sailboat in Kingston, Ontario.

Four of them remained in Kingston to compete in the Laser Radial Youth World Championships, which commenced on August 15.

In the 4.7 Class, which is for persons under 145 pounds, our youngest competitor 14-year-old Darbyshire finished in third place overall. He had a fabulous regatta with three first place finishes in 11 races.

In the Radial Class, ideally for persons between 145-170 pounds, The Bahamas had four competitors - three from Nassau and one from Abaco.

In a fleet of 166 competitors from 14 countries, Paul de Souza was 15th place in the Gold Fleet and overall, Spencer Cartwright was 10th in the Silver Fleet and 67th overall, Branden Sands (Abaco) was 29th in the Silver and 86th overall and Cochise Burrows got 3rd place in the Bronze Fleet and 114 overall.

“These results are very promising particularly in light of the fact that this event was for sailors 19 and under and Paul is still 16 and Brandon, Cochise and Spencer only 15,” said Lori Lowe, president of the association.

“The regatta was a great learning experience for the sailors as all but Paul, who has previously represented The Bahamas in sailing at the ISAF Youth Worlds, the CAC Games and the Youth Olympics, have limited international exposure.

“The event was held in a broad variety of conditions from very shifty and light winds, to moderate and even heavy wind conditions on the last day.”

All but Darbyshire, who does not meet the age requirement, remained in Kingston for the Laser Radial Youth World Championships, which is currently ongoing.

“The Laser Class, like our Bahamian Sloop Class, has different size sails and masts,” Lowe said. “Unlike the sloops, whose rules allow competitors to decide what size sail and mast they use for any given condition to decide how many crew sail on the boat and allow boats with different size masts and sails to compete against each other.

“The Laser Class rules require that all boats competing against each other must have only one crew member and must have the same size mast and sail.

As a result, competitors choose the class they sail based on their weight.

“There are three different size masts and sails in the Laser, the Full Rig, which is an Olympic men’s event, for persons 170-200 pounds, the Radial Rig for persons 145-170 pounds and the 4.7 Rig for persons 120-145 pounds.

Lowe noted that all of the Bahamian sailors are young and on the light side for the boat they sailed. “As they get older and closer to the mid range of the ideal weight for their rig their results should improve significantly,” she said.


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