Young Sailors narrowly miss Olympic qualification

| 06/09/2013

(CISC): It was a steep learning curve for the Youth Sailing Team at the Byte C11 World Championship and 2014 Youth Olympic Qualifier held in Newport, Rhode Island, 24-28 August. The regatta attracted the very best sailors from around the world aged from 14 to 16, as a position in the top five qualified their country for the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing China in August 2014. With 38 sailors representing 21 countries, our sailors knew it would be tough but would afford them invaluable experience in competing against top sailors in big fleets.

With over five days of competitive sailing it was also a test of their stamina and skill, and a chance to see how the many hours of training on North Sound waters would equip them against sailors such as Jonatan Vadnai of Hungary, the 2013 World and European Laser 4.7 Champion, and Optimist North American Champion Odile Van Aanholt of Curacao.

Pablo Bertran had some great results finishing in the top ten a number of times and at one point looked like he might be challenging in the top 6 but a couple of bad starts and rule 42 infringements in the light airs of the last two days cost him. He did storm back to take 5th place in the final race and finished a very respectable 9th boy and 11th overall.

Shane McDermot and Jesse Jackson represent themselves very well, considering it was only their second regatta overseas. In the medium to heavy winds (typical Cayman wind conditions) they excelled, racking up a number of top 10 finishes, which catapulted them into 11th & 15th respectively. However with just five races to go the wind dropped to around 4.5 – 5 knots and the boys struggled,  finishing up the regatta in 15th and 20th. Hungary, USA, Croatia, Singapore and Canada took the qualifying positions.

Florence Allan was within a whisker of qualifying, narrowly missing out on the final fifth spot in the girl’s division on the very last day to Celeste Lutmeijer, of the Dominica Republic. Hungary, Netherlands, Bermuda and Singapore were the other qualifiers.

Coach Raph Harvey was quick to put their achievement in perspective. “They all did a fantastic job. They might have suffered the agony of just missing out on qualifying for the biggest prize of all, but they still have that chance, and will benefit immensely from what they learned here. The variable winds (5 – 18 knots) on the world-renowned waters of Narragansett Bay combined with its daily five feet tidal range, and some of the world’s best youth sailors, pushed the Byte team to their utmost physical and mental limits. They represented themselvesand the Cayman Islands very well. They now know what it takes to compete at such a high level and are very keen to get back to training".

Indeed, just two days after returning they were back out on home waters racing against the adults in the Sailing Club monthly dinghy racing. The team have now got their eyes firmly set on the North American and Caribbean qualifier, which will be held in Jenson Beach, Florida  at the end of February next year.  

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Great job to our Caymanian youth and also to the coaches and all those involved. Its dedication and hard work that get you to where you want to be. Keep up the good work and best of luck for the next qualifier. Make Cayman proud, we are right behind you in this, its a great sport.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well done! You guys will make it just keep traning and focus and never give up! Great future ahead of you!!

  3. pmilburn says:

    Being a past Olympic sailor I know how hard one has to work to get to that level.Fitness hard work and dedication to your goal of representing ones country.Keep up the good work you young ones and you will reap the rewards of all your hard work I certainly wish you all the best for a bright future in sailing Its a great sport.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Awesome!! You guys did very well!! You are our Caymanians Champions!! You have great future ahead!! Keep it up!! 

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Well done guys and keep up the good work. You will get better and better and your goal is in reach.

  7. Well done! says:

    This is a great story about our youth….Well done and well sailed.

  8. Hammock says:

    Well done to all of them. Did themselves, their families and Cayman proud.