OPTINAM 2019 comes to close

After four days of intense action on the water by the top juniors from the region and parts of the world, the 2019 Optimist North American Championship (OPTINAM) that began on Sunday, September 29, wrapped up yesterday afternoon when the final boat of the bronze fleet crossed the finish line at Montagu Bay.

The Bahamas had 16 sailors who participated in the junior championships where they competed against 19 other countries.

These countries included Antigua, Argentina, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Ecuador, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Turks and Caicos, United States of America, Uruguay and the U.S Virgin Islands.

Overall, there were 164 sailors that competed.

The gold fleet kicked things off yesterday morning at 11:30. However, the sailors were anxious as they had to be recalled for a restart.

It was a clean start the second time around as the black flag was not raised. All three fleets were out on the water and the final day was fully underway.

It was Brazil who had a strong showing at the top, finishing first and third overall. Brazilian Gustavo Campos finished first place with 55 net points. Yesterday he was third in the first race then ended the championship with a bang to finish in first place in the final race of the competition.

Ireland’s Rocco Wright was second overall with 57 net points. In the first race yesterday, he finished 19th overall in the gold fleet. He returned to finish fourth in the next race.

Third place was locked up by Lucas De Freitas who scored 58 net points.

Peru’s Alejandra Vega was the first female finisher. She finished 14th with 88 net points.

The Bahamas had its captain Joshua Weech in the mix sailing in the gold fleet that featured the top sailors at the event. He was the only Bahamian in that fleet.

For Weech, he had a good week sailing despite getting a UFD (disqualification) in his second race on Sunday. He finished 47th with 265 total points. The 14-year-old finished with 209 net points.

Yesterday, he had a tough time as he finished 38th in his first race and 42nd in his second race.

That 42nd was his lowest finish in the competition.

Wednesday saw him sail to a top 20 finish amongst a tough field of sailors. In the second race, he finished 39th in his gold fleet.

On Monday he sailed in three races in the blue fleet. In his first race he finished 10th and his second race he finished 20th. He saved his best for the last race, powering his way to a seventh-place finish.

In his first and third race on Sunday, he finished 14th and 19th respectively.

The closest Bahamian was Matthew Reid. Reid finished 130th overall with 334 total points and 281 net points. He sailed with the bronze fleet.

Reid saved his best race in the championship for his final race as he finished sixth in his fleet. The 13-year-old St. Andrews School student who has been sailing for one year, finished ninth in his first race of the day yesterday.

On Wednesday, Reid was 16th and 29th in his first and second race respectively.

Kaemen Floyd, who has been sailing for four years, was the third best Bahamian sailor as he finished 141st with 386 points overall.

He finished three spots above Reid in their final race yesterday to finish in ninth position. It was a vast improvement from his earlier ranking yesterday when he finished 31st in his fleet.

Patrick Tomlinson and Zane Munro rounded out the top five Bahamian overall finishers at the championship. Tomlinson was 142nd and Munro was 143rd.

The top female finisher for Team Bahamas was Abaconian Jasmin Aberle who sails with the Hope Town Sailing Club. The 14-year-old finished 144th overall with 389 total points.

Aberle sailed to a 28th-place finish in the first race of the bronze fleet yesterday. She then returned with a 17th-place finish in the second and final race yesterday.

Team Bahamas was represented by Weech, Floyd and Craig Ferguson, all from the Bahamas National Sailing School and the Nassau Yacht Club; female sailors Saoirse Duffy and Amy McSweeney, Cameron Eldon and Finley Lambert-McKinney from the Bahamas National Sailing School and the Royal Nassau Sailing Club; female sailor Aberle and Maison Koepke from the Hope Town Sailing Club; female sailor Mary Jacqueline Nash, David Huber and Tomlinson from the Lyford Cay Sailing Club; and female sailor Scarlett McCarroll, Munro, Reid and Conry Raine from the Royal Nassau Sailing Club.

This is the largest team ever to represent The Bahamas at OPTINAM.

Teams depart today after having a great week sailing on the most beautiful waters in the world.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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