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26 October 2005, 11:44 am
Optimists Splash Down In Simpson's Bay Lagoon
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St. Maarten Optimist Regatta 2005
Simpson Bay, St. Maarten

On Saturday 22 October the St. Maarten Yacht Club hosted their first youth Optimist regatta in the Simpson Bay Lagoon. Two teams competed, one from St. Maarten and one from St. Barths, with twelve youths ranging in age from nine to 15.
The St. Maarten team was comprised of Stephen LOOSER, Kippy GILDERS, Jasmijn and Karlijn VAN DER BURG, Jolyon FERRON, Harry ANTROBUS, Max HOOTMANS and Frederique SINKE. The St. Barths team was made up of Leo JORDIL, Cesar HARDELAY, Michael ECMAILER and Guy MAXIME. There were seven races for the day.

The race officer of the day was Lyn RAPLEY while ISAF International Judge David DE VRIES officiated on protests.

The first race of the day started with bad weather conditions and a strong gust causing mayhem within the fleet with most of the boats capsizing and only four finishing the race. After a short recuperation in the club house at the St. Maarten Yacht Club and some repairs to the boats the fleet was back on the water with the weather conditions improving constantly through out the day.

LOOSER was the overall winner of the day with JORDIL beating out his countryman HARDELAY for second place. HARDELAY's performance was more consistent in the afternoon earning him the third place. GILDERS capsized in race three but by the end of day was much closer to the front of the fleet to take fifth place. The most improved sailor of the day was Jasmijn VAN DER BURG whose consistency and coolness at a young age makes her a sailor to watch. She took seventh place behind MAXIME who fell ill during the final races.

Many parents and well wishers were in the spectator's fleet to watch the action as the young sailors rounded the racing buoys located between Port de Plaisance and Palapa Marina.

Although the St. Maarten Yacht Club has had a youth programme for many years, not much racing has taken place. The energy and hard work of Ernst LOOSER on the available equipment at the Yacht Club has resulted in great improvements to facilitate this racing and the new focus on racing is creating greater interest.

St. Barths availability of coaches and good equipment was evident from the day's results. The St. Maarten Yacht Club is working to raising the standard of youth sailing on St. Maarten.

Caribbean Racing. Image:© Caribbean Racing
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