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8th Annual Chief Minister’s Cup – Intl Youth Regatta

Teams from over a dozen Caribbean islands, from the Caymans
to Trinidad, are expected to compete in the 8th Annual Chief
Minister’s Cup International Youth Regatta, set for July 8 to 11 and sailed out
of Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola.

“The idea for this
youth team sailing event was conceived in St. Thomas at the then Governor’s Cup
Youth Regatta,” says regatta organizer, Tom Gerker. “At the time, our chairman,
John Lewis, and I reflected about how the kids were just getting to know each
other at the end of the one-day competition. We thought it would be nice to get
them together for the entire weekend. We started out housing the teams on
borrowed charter boats docked at Nanny Cay, but it soon became obvious that we
needed to do something different. So, we bought a tent village through KATS
(Kids and the Sea) and now house each team in two spacious tents arranged in a
big circle around a "commons" area right behind Peg Leg’s Landing.”

Teams consist of
six junior sailors from 10 to 18 years of age accompanied by a coach and
chaperone.

“The coach has
traditionally always sailed on board with the team,” Gerker says. “This year,
we are considering having the coaches stay off the boats. If this does come to
pass, we will make exceptions for the more novice teams where such an
arrangement might not be prudent.”

He adds, “We
encourage all teams to come and participate regardless of skill level. If the
kids can get around the buoys, they are qualified to attend. The skill level of
the less experienced kids increases exponentially throughout the two days of
racing anyway.”

Boats sailed will
be IC24s. “This year, we hope to have a boat for every team,” Gerker says.
“This will enable us to have longer, varied courses, yet maintain a large
number of races.”

This event is
hosted by the Rotary Clubs of the BVI, whose members welcome the kids,
transport them, feed them, house them, supply them with boats and fix the boats
when they break. Many Rotary Clubs in participating teams’ home islands sponsor
the junior sailors’ airfare to Tortola.

For more
information and to register, teams should contact John Lewis at Email: yonder50@hotmail.com, or Tom Gerker at
Email: tom@partsandpower.com.

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