There were two exciting races that concluded the Optimist World Championships 2021 at the Riva del Garda, at Lake Garda, in Italy. The gold medal was fought for by the top sailors in gold fleet, and it was an intense battle straight to the end.
The Bahamian boys performed well for a proud nation. Joshua Weech, who participated in the 2019 edition, improved his results, finishing 23rd in the silver fleet. Finley McKinney Lambert, 11, was able to finish eighth in one of the races on Friday, and ended up 20th in the bronze fleet. Craig Ferguson finished right behind him in 21st. Zane Munro and Matthew Reid also performed well in the bronze fleet, a little further down the pack.
Weech and Ferguson represented the Nassau Yacht Club, Reid and Munro are young sailors of the Royal Nassau Sailing Club, and McKinney Lambert is a member of the Eleuthera Sailing Academy.
Brazilian Alex di Francesco Kuhl won the gold and overall title, and American Gil Hackel finished in the silver medal position. Italy’s Alex Demurtas won bronze.
Approximately 300 young participants from 59 competing countries took part in the optimist world championships.
Compared with most of the top sailors at this event, the Bahamians were somewhat inexperienced. Coupled with unfamiliar freshwater lake sailing and wind/weather conditions, they all performed well, battling against the world’s top young sailors. The foreign waters presented a different set of challenges to the ocean sailing for the young Bahamian sailors, but they expressed honor in representing The Bahamas at this global event.
The five sailors returned home just in time to celebrate the country’s Independence Day.