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Youth sailors head to Optimist European Championships

The Bahamas’ National Optimist Team is looking to make headlines again, as they compete in the Optimist European Championships at the Sønderborg Yacht Club in Sønderborg, Denmark.

Right on the heels of participation in the Optimist World Championships in Bodrum, Turkey, achieving great success, a quartet of young Bahamians head to Denmark to race in yet another world-class event. A total of five Bahamians competed in the Optimist World Championships in Turkey.

The team for the European Championships comprises of 12-year-old Mary Jac Nash, 14-year-old Eliza Denning and 12-year-old Sienna Jones, all of whom sail with Lyford Cay Sailing. Also, on the team is 13-year-old Jude McCarroll who sails with the Royal Nassau Sailing Club.

There are 257 sailors from 42 countries registered for the Optimist European Championships this year. The weather forecast looks favorable with comfortable wind speeds, possibly a little rain and temperatures 

somewhat lower than at home here in The Bahamas, around 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Our team of four are excited to be given the opportunity to represent The Bahamas at this prestigious sailing championships,” the Bahamas National Sailing School stated in a press release. “For most of them, it’s their first-time visiting Europe and sailing internationally. They have been training hard all year in preparation and it will give them a huge amount of experience for the North American Championships (OPTINAMs) which will be hosted in New Providence, The Bahamas, this November.

The optimist sailboat is the world’s most popular youth-trainer boat, with literally hundreds of thousands of young sailors competing globally. It is a single-sailed one-person boat that teaches all the fundamentals of the sport, so that young sailors could learn the sport early and then progress into larger boats. The age limit is 15-years-old. ‘Optis’ are currently sailed by dozens of children at various locations on New Providence and on a number of Family Islands. 

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