Youth sailors experience Sol St Maarten Optimist Championships – title remains with VI sailor

14282038191_2fa2125808_zThe Royal BVI Yacht Club Youth Sailing Programme ‘Race Team’ traveled with Commodore Haycraft to attend the St. Maarten Yacht Club Optimist Championships November 8-9. Team BVI comprised 6 youth sailors and included Ryan Lettsome, Nicholas Haycraft, Kyle Roose, James Rajic-Knight, Nathan Haycraft and Rayne Duff, along with Coach Rob.

The weather on day one was nothing if not trying. Sailing the first day inside the lagoon where there were very gusty and shifty winds, without sunshine to encourage made it a hard effort in challenging conditions. On the second day, the racing moved to the outer bay, offering longer courses and more consistent and pleasant weather which suited the young sailors well.

In what was an interesting variation, two of Team BVI’s youngest sailors, Ryan Lettsome and Nicholas ‘Nico’ Haycraft were made to compete in the age division championship fleets, instead of the expected, beginner only ‘Green Fleet’. The challenging conditions and strong wind combined with Championship level courses were hard on the young boys, but both slogged it out and completed many of the races, ending wiht Ryan just edging Nico out of last place – a steep learning curve but a rewarding one as well.

Kyle and James both had a much improved second day to finish in 14th and 9th respectively, James recovering from an OCS (early start penalty) and a capsize on the first day to claw places back. Nathan was successful in winning one of the races which helped him to secure a 4th place overall finish.

Rayne Duff retains Sol St Maarten Optimist Championship title. Photo: RBVIYC

Rayne Duff retains Sol St Maarten Optimist Championship title. Photo: RBVIYC

Rayne achieved a convincing victory to carry the title of Sol St. Maarten Optimist Champ for another year.

“Encouraging international relationships and community bonds among its youth sailors is an important element the youth sailing programme,” said Commodore Haycraft. “The friends and connections made through this sport build good will and even promote future business between the communities. The RBVIYC makes efforts to attend many regional events around the Caribbean and we hope this strong showing will encourage more Caribbean sailors to travel to events as well.”

Click here for the results.