For the first time in the 12 year history of the Sol St. Maarten Optimist Championship, two young girls took home Top Honors in their classes of the event. First place Overall and 1st in the Blue class fleet went to 11 year old Roos Wind from Curacao. First place in the Orange Class went to St. Maarten’s own 10 year old Emese Wurth.
Lorenzo Mayer of St. Barths took home second place honors overall and in Blue Class, with Bas van der Gulik of Curacao capturing third place by only one point separating 3rd and 4th overall.
Twenty-nine young sailors ages 7-14 representing 6 countries took part in this International 2 day event sponsored by Sol St. Maarten. Six competitors from St. Maarten, 8 from St. Barths, 6 from Curacao, 3 from Antigua, 5 from Anguilla, and 1 from Columbia made up the starting line. Sailors were divided into two classes, Blue and Orange, with the Blue class being the most advanced. Eleven races were completed over the 2 days with 2 discards. St. Maarten Coaches Reinier Calkhoven and Jimmy Gieseke expressed “It was a really close regatta and all sailors exceeded our expectations.”
“Weather conditions were sublime,” according to Race Officer Paul Miller of RegattaGuru. “Aside from one small squall that mixed things up for a bit, conditions were perfect for Opti sailing. No swells and 9 to 13 knot winds made for great competitive sailing outside in the waters off Simpson Bay Beach for the week-end. Sunday we were able to use a race course designed here on St. Maarten for the Optis based on the America’s Cup that provided for spectacular starts and kept all the competitors sailing together for as long as possible.”
International Judge David DeVries from St. Maarten, back from being a judge at this summer’s Olympics in Rio, was the Chairman of the Protest Committee.
Taking home second place in the Orange Class was 9 year old Shanoy Malone of Antigua, with Justin Pieterse (12) of St. Maarten capturing 3rd, only 1 ½ points behind 2nd place. Ten year old Rhys de Rooij of St. Martin took home the Sportsmanship Trophy for the event, as decided by the Race Committee for his outstanding performance after only starting to sail in September and displaying true and honorable racing throughout the weekend in the Orange Class.
At the prize giving ceremony on Sunday, Janet Robertson, Organizer of the Sol Optimist Championship and SMYC Youth Sailing Chairman, had these extra comments to make: “Thank you to all of you who traveled to get here. 6 Countries, 29 entries. We know it takes a great effort and we truly appreciate you coming and supporting our event. Without you consistently supporting us, we wouldn’t be here right now.--
She also thanked all the competitors as well as the parents, for encouraging the children to take part and compete in the sport of sailing. Thanks was also given to the coaches, the Race Comitteee team and sponsors.
Budget Marine is very proud to be a recurring sponsor in this competitive youth event in the sport of sailing.