The combination of excellent wind conditions and good attendance made the first Grenada Sailing Festival Dinghy Championship a great success. Visitors and Grenadians at Grand Anse Beach on Saturday, January 24 were treated to an added bonus as they watched 17 keen young sailors enjoy an afternoon of competitive racing.
There were some thrills and spills, but the supervision from the safety boat, provided to the Youth Sailing Program by the Four Seasons Hotel Group, and the Committee Boat, from Budget Marine, Grenada, plus technical assistance on shore from James Benoit of the Grenada Yacht Club ensured that the day ran smoothly and all the young sailors attending had some great racing.
The youngsters are all members of the Youth Sailing Program run by the Grenada Yacht Club, supported by the Grenada Sailing Association, and with the long-term support of Budget Marine, Grenada, also a Festival sponsor. There were classes for both Optimist and Mosquito dinghies for the younger sailors, with the youngest competitor only nine years old. The faster Laser dinghies were also out on the water, being raced by older, more experienced sailors, showing the youngsters what they have to look forward to in sailing as they get older.
Crew T-shirts and much sought after sailing gloves were generously contributed by Budget Marine, Grenada, and at the end of the event, after enjoying a well-deserved supper, each competitor was presented with a championship certificate from the Grenada Sailing Festival. The event was organised as a run-up to the annual Grenada Sailing Festival and all participating sailors were invited to the final afternoon prize presentation of the Digicel Work Boat Regatta on Sunday, February 1, when the winners of each class: Nicholas Cherman in the Mosquitos; Kenzo Szyjan in the Optimists and Kevin Banfield in the Lasers, were awarded trophies.
By starting this new Dinghy Sailing Championship, Festival organisers aim to increase the calendar of sailing events for young sailors. It is planned that all events and Regattas in which they take part will contribute to finding a Junior Dinghy Sailing Champion for 2009, to be announced at the end of the year. This will also be a useful aid to the sailing coaches when picking teams to participate in regional regattas, and hopefully, in the future, International events.
The organisers would like to thank Nicholas George and Budget Marine Grenada; Richard Szyjan of Turbulence Grenada; Mark Stout and Jacqui Pascall from the Grenada Sailing Association for dedicating their time and support; and Digicel for providing the event’s base tent on the beach.
Report and photos submitted by Grenada Sailing Festival