Cayman hosts international regatta

| 25/03/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Sports News, Cayman sailing club(CNS): The Race Cayman 2010 regatta reached a successful conclusion on Monday 15 March, with Ian Barrows of US Virgin Islands winning the Byte CII North American Championships and Cayman’s Compass Marine Team of Mike Farrington, Matt Diaz and Sam Dawson claiming victory in the CISC J/22 International. Both events were run simultaneously by the Cayman Islands Sailing Club (CISC) with excellent conditions prevailing in the North Sound where a total of 25 races were held over 6 days. Jane Moon, the event organiser, said it was the biggest international sailing event that Cayman had ever hosted. (Photo: Marina Maffessanti concentrating on the upwind leg of the Byte event)

"A total 17 countries from the Caribbean, Europe and the United States took part. Within the overall Race Cayman event there was a youth event, racing in single-handed Bytes, and an adult event racing J/22s, a fixed keel boat typically raced by a crew of three or four,” Moon said.

The youth regatta combined the Youth Olympic Gamesregional qualifying event and the Byte CII North American Championship, while the adult event was the CISC J/22 International regatta.

Moon continued, “The event exceeded our expectations and the hope is that we will be able to continue to host more major international sailing events in the future. Over 100 visitors came to Cayman for Race Cayman and they were very excited by the ideal natural sailing location that the North Sound offers. The water is warm, the sea is sheltered and there is always an ideal sailing breeze.”

Cayman Islands news, Grand Cayman sports news, Cayman sailingIn the Byte class, Ian Barrows US Virgin Islands (ISV) put in an awesome display of sailing skills to run out clear winner of the Byte CII North American Championships and the North American and Caribbean qualifier for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG). The top four nations in the boy’s and girl’s division qualify for the inaugural 2010 Youth Olympic Games to be held in Singapore in August 2010

Behind Barrows, Eugene Hendrix from the Netherlands (AHO) took the silver medal, with Spain’s Marti Llena, already qualified for the YOG but in the Cayman Islands to get some additional racing practice, taking third.

In the battle for the Youth Olympic Games qualification places, the top four qualifying counties were the US Virgin Islands, the Netherlands Antilles, Bermuda and Cuba. In the girl’s division the four places went to Canada, USA, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Oliver Fogarty was the top Cayman finisher in 12th place whilst Marina Maffessanti finished in 2nd place in the girls division. However, due to age restrictions Fogarty and Maffessanti are not eligible to participate in the Youth Olympics.

Mike Weber who, with his instructors, runs beginners to advanced racing classes at the sailing club together with the government schools sailing programme commented, “We were really pleased with the performance of our Cayman sailors. This event really put Cayman on the map in the sailing world and reinforces all the hard work the team has been putting in to raise the standard of competitive sailing in Cayman. Having a formal programme in place to teach Caymanian kids at a grassroots level will feed this enthusiasm and hopefully produce future sailing Olympians.”

In the J/22 event, eleven teams battled it out in the North Sound with nine races being held over the 3 days of competition. The Cayman teams Compass Marine and Ciao! led a strong field of international competition and faced tough challenges from Peter Harper’s Jamaica team from Montego Bay Yacht Club and the Bahamas team skippered by Jimmie Lowe from Nassau who were constantly in contention for the top spots. However, consistency paid off and Compass Marine finished in first place with seven first place finishes in the nine races, securing victory by a margin of eight points. The Ciao! team of Tomeaka McTaggart, Nick Taylor, Paul Johnston and Lindsey Macfee claimed second place with the Bahamians edging out the Jamaicans by 1 point to finish in 3rd place. Sailors were able to enjoy perfect Cayman sailing conditions with steady north to north east breezes at 12-15 knots.

The Regatta was organized by Cayman Islands Sailing Club in conjunction with the Byte CII Class with support from Cayman Islands Government Ministry of Sport, Cayman Islands Olympic Committee and a large number of local sponsors. Particular thanks were expressed to His Excellency The Governor Mr Duncan Taylor and Mrs Taylor for inviting participants to Government House for an Opening Reception, Acting Governor Mr Donovan Ebanks, Sports Minister Mark Scotland, CIOC Olympic President Donald McLean, Chief Executive Officer Carson Ebanks and the army of volunteers who manned race committee, mark and safety boats, organized shore administration and socialevents, hosted visitors, secured sponsorship, lent boats, all of whom contributed to the event’s success.

Visiting officials assisted with race management and jury processes and according to International Judge Harry Keith “the sailing was excellent as was the Race Committee work. The hospitality of the CISC and the general friendly atmosphere of the Island was fantastic. The whole trip was a total pleasure”.

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