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Little sailors big in Bahamas

Sports 09 Oct, 2023 Follow News

Head coach Raph Harvey, right, with his successful sailors

All Cayman’s sailors were outstanding in the Bahamas

Cayman Junior Optimist Sailors impressed at the Bahamas Optimist National Championship Four last week, dominating the final placings.

Eight junior Cayman optimist sailors finished in the top ten of this year’s Bahamas Optimist National Open Green Fleet Championship.

This event is a prestigious sailing event held specifically for children competing in the International Optimist Dinghy Class. This year was even more special because sailing was designated a national sport in the Bahamas. Eighty-eight sailors from the Bahamas, Cayman Islands and USA competed, aged between 7 and 15.

The sailors were split into Championship (Red, White, and Blue) and green fleet (beginners). All eight Cayman sailors were in the beginner’s green fleet, which had a total of 35 competitors. The two-day event saw winds of no more than 12 knots, which was ideal for novices.

After the first three races Katerina Butterworth and Ebba Collins were tied on points at the top of the table, closely followed by Marisa Miller and Lucas Calleja in fourth and sixth respectively. On Day 2, Ebba’s two bullets (first place races) were enough to fend off all challengers and secure her first every sailing championship.

Head coach Raph Harvey said: “Special mentions go out to Alexander Butterworth, Myles Miller, Sebastian Calleja and Lucas Bourke. This championship was their first ever international competition. The boys started training on the triangle course three weeks prior to the start of the event. By day two all the nerves were gone.

“The event was an all-round success for both sailors and coaches. It has sparked the racing fire amongst them which is exactly what all coaches want from their students.”

The other sailor was Alexander Butterworth who competed well.

The kids were all enthused from their experience. Marisa Miller said: “The Bahamas Optimist National Championship was an amazing experience for me. Meeting sailors from other countries was exciting. This experience has inspired me to continue to work hard and do my best to become the best sailor I can be. We are so lucky in Cayman to have world class coaches and an amazing parent support group.”

Ebba Collins said: “I loved going to the Bahamas to race and get to know my team better, make new friends and meet sailors from different countries. I really enjoyed the experience and opportunity to represent the Cayman Islands in the Bahamas Optimist National. I would like to say a big thank you to my coaches, I have learned a lot from this experience.”

 “I really enjoyed sailing for Cayman,” said Katerina Butterworth said. “It was really challenging and lots of fun with so many other sailors competing. Our coaches were great. I wish even more people sailed here in Cayman.”

Lucas Calleja said: “I really enjoyed meeting kids from other countries and the challenge of racing.”

“I was so inspired and had a wonderful experience competing at the Bahamas regatta. Sailing is (now) my favourite sport,” said Lucas Bourke.

“I loved being in the Bahamas,” Myles Miller gushed. “It was my first sailing regatta. I was nervous at first but after the first race I had so much fun and loved racing. I learned a lot. Thank you to my coaches and my mom and dad for helping me sail and letting me go to the regatta.”

“I was nervous about racing but it was the best weekend ever,” said Sebastian Calleja.

Cayman’s next major event will be the Youth National Sailing Championship on 2-3 December. This event is open to all youth sailors in the Cayman Islands under 19.

Sailors will be competing in Optimist, Hartley 12 and ILCA classes.

Cayman’s top finishers:

Ebba Collins 1st

Katerina Butterworth 2nd

Marisa Miller 5th

Lucas Calleja 7th

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