Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Event: Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta 2012

January 6, 2013


Every year, top junior sailors from The Bahamas compete at the Orange Bowl Regatta in Miami; the largest and most competitive junior sailing event in North America.  

Kids from the ages of 7 to 18 come from all regions of North and South America, the Caribbean, Bermuda and even Europe to participate in this renowned event - racing in the Optimist, Laser and 420 classes.

This year the Bahamian team comprised eight top junior sailors; four in the Optimist Green Fleet, two in the Optimist Championship Fleet and two in the Laser Radial Fleet. 

The Orange Bowl Team - L to R - Benjamin Derbyshire,
Spencer Cartwright, Pedro Rahming, Paul de Souza, Melisha Higgins,
Tristan Eldon, Cochise Burrows, Coach Robert Dunkley
(Missing: Alande Forbes and Instructor Donico Brown)
This was the first time Bahamian Green Fleeters Melisha Higgins, Cochise Burrows, Tristan Eldon and Benjamin Derbyshire competed in such a major international event. 

Harbour Island native Melisha led the way for the team by finishing seventh overall out of 85, in the 18 race series over four days.  
“For a 10 year old she sailed incredibly well, especially in light air. Melisha is a natural. She is light, has a great feel for the helm and balances the boat extremely well. This was the reason she was so fast. We are very proud of her - winning one race and finishing in the top five in four others,” said coach Robert Dunkley.

Cochise, Tristan and Benjamin all posted what Coach Dunkley felt were very respectable finishes - 15th, 17th and 45th respectively.
Spencer Cartwright and Alande Forbes who represented The Bahamas at the Optimist World Championships last July raced in the highly competitive, 250 boat, Championship Fleet. They finished 59th and 185th respectively. 

“The wind conditions being so light and shifty favoured the light-weights which our guys aren’t. However, Spencer sailed extremely well in a number of races; winning one of them and placing 4th and 8th in two others. It is great to see how much he has improved over the last year. Moving from 120th a year ago to 59th this year isn’t bad at all, and he is only 12 years old,” Dunkley said.
Bahamian Laser Radial sailors, Paul de Souza and Pedro Rahming held their own in the 121 boat Laser Fleet. It was their first time sailing in this Olympic class at the international level. Paul placed 75th and Pedro 90th

“It is a start, and for Paul, I think a very respectable beginning to competing at this level, especially as he was one of the youngest in the fleet, at 13 years old,” Dunkley commented.
Said Coach Dunkley: “Events like these are so important for our young sailors as it gives them the opportunity to gain experience in large fleets, build confidence and learn from the top international sailors. The more of these international events we attend the better we become”

The Bahamas Sailing Association thanks its sponsors; Ministry of Sports, Ministry of Tourism, Coca Cola, Cable Bahamas and Cable Cares, Royal Bank of Canada, KPMG, Bahamas Hot Mix, Odyssey Aviation, East Nassau Rotary, Palm Cay, J.S. Johnson, Kerzner Corp. and the many individuals who help to make the youth sailing programs possible.

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