This year’s event was the first Anguilla Regatta to be held since the opening of the Anguilla Youth Sailing Club (AYSC). The Anguilla Sailing Association started this regatta in 2003 with the idea of increasing business in Anguilla during the traditionally slower tourism period of early/mid May as well as creating a sailing school for the children of Anguilla. Business was definitely more robust on Anguilla over the weekend … but the highlight of this regatta was the participation of the children who have been a part of the Anguilla Youth Sailing Club over the past year.
Two yachts, Juluca and Charm III, both from Anguilla, sailed for two of the three days with crews made up of children from the AYSC. The 1928 Alden schooner Charm III, skippered by Richard West, was filled with the laughter, smiles and occasional gritting of teeth throughout the weekend as she was brought to victory with the help of six young sailors from Anguilla Youth Sailing Club. Each of the kids had a unique job to perform, from trimming sails to steering the vessel. Mr. West gave them a great deal of responsibility and a chance to see what they were made of.
Success didn’t come without hard work and sweat, but in the end it was worth it: Charm III was the overall winner in her class. A sense of pride and accomplishment lit up their faces as the youth finished the final race on Sunday. Juluca also finished first in her class and gave the kids an opportunity to work hard on a different type of sailing boat. The Anguilla Sailing Association wishes to thank Richard and Maryse West and Steve and Suzy Donahue for their continued commitment to the kids and the AYSC.
Another racing yacht, Lin, from St. Martin also sailed with children; this time the kids were from Lycee d’ile du Mer – a vocational/technical school in French St. Martin that teaches kids about boats, sailing, boat maintenance and the sea. After losing a sail on the first day of racing, the crew was lucky enough to have found a friend in Philip Herve who gave over his yacht Vanille for the kids to race on for the remainder of the regatta. The participation of all these children in the fifth annual Anguilla Regatta made the event extra special as the crowd and participants all realized what a positive contribution sailing can bring to the youth on the islands and the future of sailing in the Caribbean.
Five members of the Anguilla Youth Sailing club racing team took to the waters of Road Bay just off the main stage for the Optimist Exhibition Regatta on Sunday afternoon. Exhausted after just having completed an exciting and grueling race on Charm III, they battled it out for the unofficial title of Optimist National Champion. The racing team prepared for this event with a practice regatta on May 5 also held on Road Bay which gave them extra time in the boat to practice their boat handling, strategy and tactics.
Five races were sailed in a shifty southeast trade. The small triangle course kept the action tight and exciting as spectators looked on from the beach just 50 meters away. Among the ardent competition, there was also displayed some great acts of sportsmanship most notably by Romero Gumbs. Throughout the regatta he demonstrated the essence of sportsmanship by following the rules and performing penalty circles even when not told to do so when he committed unintentional fouls. Any disagreements that occurred on the water stayed there and no hard feelings were brought ashore. These young sailors epitomize the spirit of camaraderie, teamwork and friendship. They were able to work as a team to lead Charm III to victory and then turn around to race against each other in the Optimist Regatta, all the while maintaining a positive and vibrant amity.
The Anguilla Sailing Association wishes to thank all the sponsors and participants, in particular the Anguilla Tourist Board and the Festivals Office for their continued support. For more information on the ASA, the Anguilla Regatta, or the AYSC: www.sailanguilla.com or www.anguillaregatta.com.