Taylor sweeps Bacardi Laser Nationals

| 15/12/2009

Cayman Islands sports news(CNS): The Bacardi Laser National Championships was dominated by Nick Taylor, who grabbed first position in all seven races over the two days of competition. The Championships were held over the weekend of 28 and 29 November at the Cayman Islands Sailing Club (CISC) in Red Bay. This was the biggest sailing championship held in the Cayman Islands for over a decade, a release from the CIDC said, reflecting the growing interest in sailing as a sport in Cayman, and is considered to be the most important annual dinghy championship in the club’s sailing calendar. (Left: Nick Taylor in action)

According to CISC, Taylor’s participation in several international regattas over the summer had "upped his game" as he separated, rather handily, from the fleet, particularly on the tricky reaches. Rick Caley, the club manager said, “Nick is considered a great asset by the club, thanks to his frequent racing, and generosity with quality tips regarding technique, strategy and tactics. Nick certainly ’brought it’ out on the race course in true champion form.” (Below: Taylor recieves his award)

Cayman Islands sports newsThe sailing conditions were challenging as the two-day event was held in the tail-end of a Nor’wester that was affecting the whole region. On the first day sailors had to contend with the winds between 15 and 20 knots and some significant chop. However, this didn’t prevent a big turnout of 17 racers over two divisions (13 Standard rig, and 4 Radial). The second day saw the conditions easy a little much to the relief of the competitors, who were exhausted from the first day.

The Laser is a single-person performance dinghy which is hugely popular around the world and a staple fleet at the Olympics. The Laser fleet at the Cayman Islands Sailing Club has been growing steadily since hurricane Ivan and this year there was sufficient depth to hold the Championships in both the Standard and Radial divisions. The Radial configuration, featuring a smaller sail, is generally more suited to lighter sailors, but comes into its own in high winds, as it is less susceptible to being over-powered.

Out-going CISC Dinghy rep, Jon Faris was particularly excited by being able to support the new division and said, "Cayman has really terrific sailing conditions most of the year, but you have to be in the right boat to enjoy them. I’m glad the Radial rig is coming into its own. It will get sailors out on the water, even on those windier days."

Olympian, Mark Clarke kept the heat on Mr Taylor, putting his size and experience to good effect in the strong winds, and took second place in the Standard Division, as well as the coveted Clydesdale trophy sponsored by Compass Marine. Meanwhile only one point separated Mark Clarke and Charlie Grover, an active club sailor and consistent performer in all conditions, who took the third position.

The remaining spots were each a battle unto themselves, and no one had an easy ride, especially given the challenging conditions. Race Officer, Peta Adams noted that, "there has been a noticeable improvement of the fleet on the whole, mostly due to the frequency of informal racing going on at the club these days. The mid-fleet finishes were remarkably tight."

In the Radial Class, youth sailor Chris Delaney proved to be a real force, impressing and surprising everyone with a great display of skill, smarts, and strength. National Sailing Centre Head Coach Mike Weber was out on the water to catch the action and commented that, "Chris has developed so rapidly in the Laser, it’s fantastic. He’ll be racing internationally after Christmas and with performances like this I expect good results for him even in the larger, tougher regattas."

Olympian Tomeaka McTaggart gave Delaney a run for his money and took second place, and also appreciated the competition and growth of the Radial division, which is her boat of choice, saying "Chris did a great job. I was giving at least 100% out there, so I have no regrets. There should be some good races ahead!" Ken Holland, a relative new-comer to Laser sailing and very recent adopter of the Radial rig brought in third place, clearly pleased with his performance and the rig.

With the sponsorship of Bacardi for a second year in a row, and the Doghouse, the Bacardi Laser National Championships has developed into a premiere event at the CISC, with hopes for further growth in the future. The CISC continues to develop its Laser racing calendar to promote the skills of its member sailors. After a well-earned restful December, the Laser fleet will be looking forward to the much-loved race fixture, The East End Regatta, 23rd-24th January 2010.

Laser nationals results

Place Standard
1 Nick Taylor
2 Mark Clarke
3 Charlie Grover
4 Jon Faris
5 Eduardo Bernal
6 John Bodden
7 Aaron Gardner
8 Dave Stephenson
9 Nick Rogers
10 Steve Williams
11 Stuart Jennings
12 Wiekert Weber
13 Rick Caley

1 Chris Delaney
2 Tomeaka McTaggart
3 Ken Holland
4 Jo Richards


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