Cayman opti sailors had a terrific time representing their country at the recent British Nationals regatta held in Weymouth, England.
Will and Olivia Jackson, George and Ava Hider as well as Matheo Capasso, participated in this historical regatta, as the British Nationals celebrated its 70th year anniversary on July 31-Aug. 1.
The race organisers promised to exceed expectations of all that had come before and they did not disappoint. The conditions were challenging, the venue impeccable, logistics faultless and the seven-day schedule filled with loads of fun activities for all competitors and their families.
The team arrived early and took advantage of a clinic offered by international coaches, 8 Days a Week, which helped them to get a sense of the local conditions and gave them an opportunity to build racing strategies.
This came in quite handy as the conditions in Weymouth were unlike any that Cayman sailors are used to. Winds were high, consistently bordering on 25 knots, the breeze cold and the chop relentless. It was a phenomenal opportunity to challenge themselves and test their capabilities against some of the best opti sailors in the world.
Cayman coaches were proud of the way the kids represented, never backing down in difficult conditions and consistently conducting themselves with dignity and in respect of their fellow competitors.
They had many brilliant moments, George Hider proved to be aggressive on the start line, Olivia Jackson managed a bullet in one of the Regatta Fleet races (a second pace also) and Capasso qualified for Gold Fleet for the first time in his international sailing career.
In addition, the opportunity to sail in a big international fleet was a tremendous learning experience for all the sailors as well as a phenomenal experience in enjoying comraderie and building friendships that will last many years.
Overall, the team were proud of their results and they are looking forward to returning to the British nationals next year which will be held in Pwllheli, Wales, with a bigger Cayman fleet and even better results.
Capasso also competed at the Irish Optimist National and Open Championships at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dublin, August 17-20. Four intense days and ten challenging races in strong winds, extreme tides and cool temperatures resulted in Capasso placing from 29th to fourth in the senior gold fleet of 64 sailors. At the end of the regatta Capasso earned a 13th place finish overall, his best showing to date in a large scale international event. In addition, Capasso was awarded the First-Place International Sailor.
Capasso and the Cayman opti team continue with their international racing schedule and expecting strong showing in events in Bahamas in September and Bermuda in October.
The team is aiming to place among the gold fleet at the 2018 North American Championships in the spring in Mexico and ultimately to seed Cayman’s first World Championship Optimist team in many years, in Cyprus in August.
Results: British nationals Senior Fleet
Matheo Capasso – 45th place in Gold Fleet
Will Jackson – 28th place in Silver Fleet
Ava Hider – 37th in the Silver Fleet
George Hider – 44th place in Silver Fleet
Results Regatta Racing Fleet:
Olivia Jackson – 21st of 70