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28 June 2005, 01:02 pm
Shifty Conditions In Tobago Challenge Opti Sailors
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Optimist North American Championship 2005
Store Bay, Tobago

Shifty conditions interspersed with puffs gusting from 15-20 knots made for challenging conditions for the 185 junior sailors competing in the first day of racing in the Optimist North American Championships, sailed off of Store Bay, Tobago.
The first of three races for the day got underway yesterday just after 1000 hours local time. Of the 18 nations represented, sailors Peru and Brazil, the USA and Bermuda, and the Caribbean islands of Trinidad & Tobago were amongst those at the top of the fleet.

'We brought a strong team from Peru,' says Peter BARCLAY, vice president of the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA), who hails from Peru.

Twelve year-old Ivan APONTE, from Puerto Rico, had a great day. 'I got a third and fourth in two of the races,' said APONTE, with a big smile.

'It was tough,' said a tired eleven year old Ard VAN AANHOLT, who is representing Curacao, along with his nine year old brother Just and 13 year old sister Philipine. 14 year old Matthew SCOTT, from Trinidad agreed with Van AANHOLT, with a caveat. 'It was tough and tricky out there, but I'm up to the challenge and I think I have a good chance of doing really well. We've really trained hard for this event.'

Full fledged support by the Trinidad & Tobago government has moved sailing into the forefront and positioned the dual-island nationality to be one of the countries around the world to make sailing a national sport.

'We're more than just footballers,' says David LEWIS, president of the Trinidad & Tobago Optimist Dinghy Association (TODA). He added, 'We'd like to see other Caribbean island governments follow suit and put the region on the map as a powerhouse for sailing.'

Racing continues today.

Carol Bareuther (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Martinique's Mattis NAUD shows determination:© Dean Barnes/caribbeanracing.com
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