Junior sailors make their mark at Optimist North American Championships 2014

Copyright © Matias Capizzano

Copyright © Matias Capizzano

Junior sailors Rayne Duff, Thad Lettsome, and Nathan Haycraft represented the British Virgin Islands in the Optimist North American Championship 2014 which took place July 9 – 16 in Nayarit, Mexico.

The four days of fleet sailing saw 175 competitors aged 11 to 15 from 19 nations racing in Banderas Bay. After seven races, Jodie Lai from Singapore won the overall and top female title, while Ivan Shestopalov (USA) was overall runner-up to win the North American title.

Rayne placed 15/59 in the Yellow Flight and 15th overall. Rayne was also the highest placed sailor from the Caribbean. Thad placed 11/58 in the Blue Flight, and Nathan placed 39/58 in the Red Flight.

The sailing conditions were difficult with the wind varying from 5 knots one minute to 15 knots the next then back to 5 knots, there was also 3 knots of current that didn’t seem to have any rules.

Due to the very light winds a lot of time was spent waiting for the wind to fill in so far less sailing was done over the 4 race days, only 7 races were completed.  This made it harder for our BVI sailors to settle in and adjust to the sailing conditions.

That said, Rayne showed his dominance in the class with a very clean and stable result board.  If there had not been a discard Rayne would have taken 3rd place overall.

Thad had some good results and showed his maturity, towering above the rest of the fleet he managed to keep good results in difficult conditions.

Nathan, the youngest team member, learnt new tactics when dealing with such large fleets and the effects of a black flag.

OptiNAM 2014 comprises three separate championships, The Optimist Individual North American Championship (INAM), The Optimist Team Racing North American Championship (TRNAM) and The Optimist Nations Cup (NC).

Countries represented include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Japan, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Switzerland, United States, and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Mexico. Singapore, New Zealand and Australia.

Following OptiNAM, and the concurrent European Championships, the Optimist World Championships will be held in San Isidro, Argentina this coming October.

http://www.optinam2014.org/results-display  for the full results.

About Optimist sailing
The Optimist, a 7 1/2 foot flat bottomed boat, is the biggest and fastest growing dinghy class in the world, and the only dinghy designed exclusively for children under 15 recognized by the International Sailing Federation.

As one of the most intensely competitive classes worldwide, despite the youthfulness of its sailors, the Optimist has emerged through the years as the premier developmental boat for young sailors. Optimist sailing provides a secure foundation for children entering the sport to develop into world class sports men and women.