Young Bahamian sailor Joshua Weech began sailing in January of 2015 at the age of nine. His older brother, then 12, was already sailing, so young Weech came around the Nassau Yacht Club whenever his brother was there. Young Weech expressed an interest in sailing and blossomed into one of the finest young sailors in the country.
Weech began sailing with Coach Robert Dunkley at the Bahamas National Sailing School, and since the start of his sailing career, he has been affiliated with the Nassau Yacht Club. Over the years, he travelled for training with international coaches, which has been critical to developing his skill. With the development of the Royal Nassau Sailing Club and the Lyford Cay Sailing Club, Weech has benefited from joint local training clinics with international coaches as well as local coaches like Keir Clarke at the Lyford Cay Sailing Club. He has participated in training clinics in preparation for major events in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Antigua & Barbuda and Uruguay.
Additionally, Weech has also competed in Canada, Mexico, the Turks & Caicos Islands and the United States of America (USA).
International experience is a critical factor in development as a sailor. Weech said he is grateful to the many supporters who sponsored travel to international events. Over the years, he has consistently received support from the Bahamas National Sailing School and the Nassau Yacht Club. More recently, Weech has caught the attention of private and corporate sponsors such as C.A. Christie Real Estate, Rip Curl (Bahamas), Bahamas Waste Ltd. and the TK Foundation.
Weech loves to sail. He said: “Since I started, I remember missing only one regatta and that’s because my mom missed the e-mail and I arrived late. I was really upset. It hasn’t happened since. Now, I am usually the first sailor at the yacht club at the start of a major event. I will even skip big family holidays away so I can attend a two-day regatta. It’s not always easy but I always choose sailing.”
Weech said he wants to remain active in sailing for the rest of his life. He informed his parents not to expect any profession other than a sailor from him and has his eyes set on qualifying for the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.
“I always have a goal, and then another goal, and another. If you want to be the best, you need to set goals for yourself and then work at achieving them, and don’t be afraid to set big goals. My mother taught me that what I think about is very important.”
In five years of sailing, Weech has an impressive trophy count of 51, 24 of which are first-place trophies. He also has 12 floating trophies, 11 second-place trophies, three third-place trophies and one top Bahamian honor (OPTINAM 2019). He has four national championships, one in the 1420 class, and he is also a three-time winner of The Geoffrey Holowesko Award – Bahamas Optimist National Champion 2017, 2018 and 2019. Weech was named the 2018 and 2019 Sir Durward Knowles Jr. Sailor of the Year, which was particularly gratifying for him as Sir Durward Knowles is his sailing hero. Weech is particularly proud to be the first Bahamian optimist sailor to represent the country in the gold fleet at an International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA) event. This was a goal he set for himself and accomplished at home at the 2019 Optimist North American Championship (OPTINAM).
Weech has also received national recognition for his accomplishments. He was awarded The Bahamas’ 2019 Rising Star Award for outstanding achievement in sports. His full bio is available at http://joshuaaweech.weebly.com.
Weech fondly recalls his very first day in an optimist sloop. He said he had difficulty getting out of the marina at the Nassau Yacht Club. His older brother Jonathan coached him through those first steps and early days. It wasn’t long before Weech was able to make the boat go in the right direction, and from there he determined to master the optimist dinghy and become the best optimist sailor in The Bahamas. He credits his enrollment in the Bahamas National Sailing School for his success and admits the school has played a major role in him learning and mastering the basics in sailing.
From his coach Robert Dunkley to his sailing mates over the years, Weech said that he learned from very early on that he has a natural talent for sailing and has developed a love for the sport.
His outlook on excellence in sports is simple.
He said: “Find what you love, then live to do that thing. You should be completely focused on being the best you can be in your sport. No matter how good you are there will be times when it will not be easy so you need someone in your corner to drag you along when things get really hard. My mom is that person for me, I remember a two-day regatta in which I thought I didn’t have the strength to race on the second day since I had been in a week-long clinic right before the regatta started. My mom woke me up, gave me a talk about what makes a person a champion and dropped me to the Royal Nassau Sailing Club with instructions to do my best. If you know my mom then you know I got in that boat. I think I slept for a solid 24 hours after that regatta, but we won and most importantly I didn’t disappoint my skipper, Mr. Dunkley.”
Weech’s advice to his peers thinking about trying out sailing, is to “try it, you just might love it.”
Weech is looking forward to the 2020 season and beyond.