& Tobago’s Matthew Scott came in an astonishing second out of 241
competitors in the 43rd Optimist World Championships, held on lake Silvaplana,
Switzerland in July.
52 countries attended, with Caribbean
representatives from T&T, the Netherlands Antilles, US Virgin Islands,
Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Last year, Scott hinted at a great future
with 7th place. This year, he confirmed it. His performance is all
the more extraordinary since, unlike many young Caribbean sailors, he has no
family background in sailing. Instead, he attended a basic training course as
recently as September 2003 and became part of Trinidad & Tobago’s intensive
“For the Caribbean Sailing Association,”
commented President Sir Robbie Ferron, “this success of Trinidad and Tobago
provides a great example of what can be done when a small territory focuses its
efforts and embarks on the necessary training schedules.”
Overall winner of the tournament was Tina
Lutz from Germany, with Argentina winning the team championship. From a local
perspective, though, the emergence of talented sailors like Scott and the
dedication of all those teams who travelled to Europe is extremely encouraging,
and a perfect prelude to September’s Youth Sailing Summit in Barbados.