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Schoelcher Week

At Schoelcher (pronounced shell-share), on Martinique’s west coast between the 17th and 21st February, the 18th International Sailing Week took place with over 200 participants coming from Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Canada and mainland France, as well as other Caribbean islands such as Barbados, Cuba, Curacao, the Dominican Republic, St Barths, St Lucia, St Martin and Trinidad.

Nine racing series were run: windsurfing with the Formula Experience and Bic 293, Optimists, standard and Radial Lasers, 4.7s, Sunfish, and beach catamarans. Sailors took to the waters of Schoelcher and Fort de France during four days.

The wind conditions grew steadily: the first day had little wind but magnificent weather, the second a little more, until on the third day bad weather arrived for a few hours with a big squall bringing 35 knots, which affected course organization. The committee boat dragged anchor and finally broke free, while the windward buoy also came free. The windsurfing leg was cancelled as a result. Luckily, the next day returned with regular winds (around 25 knots) and four legs were able to be completed.

Worthy of note was the good participation of 55 windsurfers with a good duel in Formula Experience between the Martiniquais Remi Vila and the Peruvian Nicolas Scheur, which the former won. Despite all those youngsters at his heels, he never gave up his place!  In Bic 293, Sebastian Luchel was the winner and suggested a great future to come. There was also a good battle in the 4.7 class between Anthony Ngo and Eliot Merceron, two Martiniquais sailors. Merceron emerged the winner.

However, in the Optimist class, it was the Guadeloupeans Antoine Lefort (Benjamin Optimist) and Yvann Thelier (Minimal Optimist) who won. This 18th edition brought extra joy to participants, since last year it could not be held, with work being carried out on the sea front and on the beach at Anse Madame. Not only is it a learning experience, but it also allows Martiniquais trainers to scout out possible helmsmen, since this trial influences the imminent national selection trials.

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Photo: Gertrude Fotography

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