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St. Maarten Hosts Youth Optimist Regatta

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On Saturday October 22nd the St. Maarten Yacht Club hosted
its 1st Youth Optimist Regatta in the Simpson Bay Lagoon. Two teams competed –
one from St. Maarten and one from St. Barths, with twelve youths ranging in ages
9 to 15. The St. Maarten team comprised Stephen Looser, Kippy
Gilders, Jasmijn and Karlijn
van der Burg, Jolyon Ferron, Harry Antrobus, Max Hootmans and
Frederique Sinke. The St. Barths team comprised Leo Jordil, Cesar Hardelay, Michael Ecmailer and Guy Maxime. There
were seven races for the day.

The race
officer was Lyn Rapley while International judge
David de Vries officiated on protests.

The first
race of the day started with bad weather conditions and a strong gust before
the finish of the first race caused mayhem within the fleet with most of the
boats capsizing and only four finishing the race. After a short recuperation in
the club house at the St. Maarten Yacht Club and some repairs to the boats the
fleet was back on the water with the weather conditions improving constantly
through out the day.

Looser was the overall winner with Leo Jordil beating
out his countryman Cesar Hardelay for second place;
Cesar’s performance was more consistent in the afternoon earning him the
third place. Kippy Gilders capsized in race three but
by the end of day was much closer to the front of the fleet to take fifth
place. The most improved sailor of the day was Jasmijn
van der Burg whose consistency and coolness at a
young age makes her a sailor to watch. She took seventh place behind Guy Maxime who fell ill during the final races.

parents and well wishers were in the spectator’s fleet to watch the
action as the young sailors rounded the buoys that were located between Port de
Plaisance and Palapa

the St. Maarten Yacht Club has had a youth programme
for many years, not much racing has taken place. The new focus on racing is
creating greater interest. The energy and hard work of Ernst Looser on the
available equipment at the Yacht Club has resulted in great improvements to
facilitate this racing.

Barths has the availability of coaches and good equipment which was shown in
their results for the day. The St. Maarten Yacht Club is committed to raising
the standard of youth sailing here on St. Maarten.

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