Racing was very tight in the Optimist A class at the Curacao Youth Championship which was sailed at sea near Jan Thiel Bay. The CYC2008 was decided in race nine and 10. After eight races, Eugene and Louis Hendrikx and Just and Ard van Aanholt were only a few points apart and each had a serious chance to take the title.
Louis Hendrikx, the youngest of these four, had been sailing in the shade of the others for years, but in the last two races, Louis excelled and eventually left Ard behind by three points. His boat speed, his understanding of the current and his usage of the wind shifts were impressive. It made the difference with his opponents.
In the Optimist Class the level has not only been rising, the top has also become broader. Louis, only eleven, is a clear proof of the positive development of youth sailing on Curacao. At world class events, Ard van Aanholt had already shown his talent and revealed that he is possible to show some excellent results, but this championship has made clear that the whole fleet has reached a much higher level.
Well-known Morgan Kiss, the highest Worlds USA qualifier, was sent back to an overall fifth place by the four Curacao sailors. This is promising for the Optinam 2008 which will be sailed at the same location at the end of June this year. Mackenzie Cooper from Bermuda, who was coached by his private coach Pablo Webber, finished ninth. The best Dutchman finished fifteenth.
Dennis van den Berg ruled the Splash Class by miles. The victory was quite a relief for Dennis. Years he had been close but never made it to a big title. Now he was reigning with a very consistent series of 1, 1, DNS, 1, 1, 1, 3, 1, 2, and 4. The second place was decided between Philipine van Aanholt and Vincent Pietersz only just before the finish line of the last race. Philipine passed Vincent and took second by just a few meters. Conrad Jacobs, now representing the Netherlands, finished fourth and Vincent Taams took fifth.
The Optimist B and the YSCO Optis conquered the waves in Spanish Waters at the “Stormplas”, the windiest spot. Races were tense and competition tough. In Optimist B, Romy Toornend sailed her Optimist to a first overall followed by Colombian Laura Velasquez. Curacao sailor Kyra Maas completed the all-girl prizewinners. Aimee Voigt won the YSCO Opti class, followed by Tomothy van Romondt and Myrthe Paarlberg.
The prize giving ceremony of the 4th ENNIA & Banco di Caribe Curacao Youth Championship was festively opened by the “Never Give Up” brass band. The accompanying dancers widened the eyes of many spectators. Prime Minister Emily de Jongh Elhage, assisted by Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee director Remco Tevreden and representatives of the main sponsors Ennia and Banco di Caribe, handed out the prizes and thanked the many volunteers.
The Race Committee can look back at 10 exciting and well organized races, where strong currents, deep waters and keeping marks in the right spot were the biggest challenges. The organization, with event manager Inga van Uchelen, will now direct its energy to a much bigger youth sailing event, the Optinam 2008, the North American Championships in the Optimist. This event will also have Jan Thiel Bay as its venue.