Saturday, June 28 saw the start of the St Lucia Yacht Club Inaugural Optimist Championships 2008 for the youngsters of the St Lucia Sailing Training programme. This was an open event, which meant that both the girls and boys could compete against each other in a non-restrictive way.
Senior sailing coach Benjamin Todd and his junior coach Teresa Aylott arranged the event to conclude the sailing instruction given over the past two school terms. The junior sailor’s ages ranged from eight to 13 years and they performed liked seasoned sailors, a joy to behold!
The event attracted a very good turn out of 10 eager competitors despite the forecast and at the time of registration the heavy downpour of rain. The race instructions planned for a possible six races with the option of a discard of their worst result. Two safety boats were manned through out the event and watched these budding “Olympians” like mother hens! The sailing yacht II Restless graced the event as the start Committee boat and coordinator.
The skills of these youngsters had to be seen to be believed. All equipped ready for the weather and identified with a numbered bib over their lifejackets, they were professional to the Tee! The races took approximately 40 minutes to complete the really long courses and all of them stayed the programme. The 3rd and 6th races were shortened a little to combat the weather which came with some very heavy gusts, but all in all the kids appreciated the slight relief and sailed to win.
Having an ‘on the water” judges, (coach Ben Todd and assistant Fredric Sweeney) did away with the usual time-consuming protests hearings. Infringements and their penalties were settled immediately with a creditable discipline, which spoke highly of the training received during the training.
On completion the exhausted sailors were met at the beach haul out with a barbeque snack, which was devoured in an amazing short space of time. Credit must be acknowledged for all the helpers in this successful Inaugural Regatta and in particular the organizing committee of Senior Coach Ben & Sailing Instructor Teresa with a helping hand from Ted, Danielle, Uli & Lily.
Prize giving was scheduled at an End of Season Fun Day on Saturday the 5th of July. The start of the Fun Day saw early activity on the beach getting the boats rigged yet again for the onslaught of about 20 eager young participants. They were allocated into two teams who took to the spirit of the event with the same enthusiasm that they displayed in their sailing. Given the choice, they each nominated their own team names which were: Team I “Pirates of the Caribbean “and Team II “The High Sprits” Divided up equally with both boys & girls they had a ball!
Sponsors were on hand to present the Optimist Championship prizes and the occasion was MC’d by the energetic coach Ben. The kids, all in their newly acquired SLYC T-shirts, proudly accepted their prizes and were cheered on by all in attendance. The “St. Lucia Yacht Club Best Junior Helms Person 2008” trophy was donated by Edgar Roe and won by Fredric Sweeney.
Following the official Prize giving, the teams continued with the afternoon session of fun games with a tug of war, an egg throwing contest and the Sailing Baseball event sailed in 12 Optimists. Finally the ultimate test, a water borne and land assault course.
A special presentation to departing coaches Ben, Teresa and Fredric on completion of their contract with SLYC, was made by organizing director Mrs. Lily Bergasse.
Particular mention also should be made to our own photographer Danielle who has so aptly captured both occasions. Sponsors for these events were numerous and included: Ferrands Diary, Home Services Ltd, Renwick & Company, Jonathan Everette, Ted Bull, Ulrich Meixner, Cheryl Renwick, Edgar Roe, Conrad Lovell and Franck Chevrier.
Report and photos submitted by St. Lucia Yacht Club,
1st Overall Thomas Meixner
2nd Stephanie Lovell
3rd Marcus Sweeney
Ladies 1st Stephanie Devaux-Lovell
Ladies 2nd Raina Bergassse
Ladies 3rd Marion Bardief
Under 12 year 1st Marc Spurway