Thad Lettsome in sequence
Photo Credit: Provided
Tourists and locals alike were delighted to see a small band of young optimist sailors along with their coach, instructor and race committee in three days of targeted full day training sessions on Saturday and Sunday, followed by a mini regatta on St. Ursula's Day at Bitter End Yacht Club.
Two sailors from St Maarten and St Thomas were also in attendance at what is expected to develop into an annual event facilitated by the Royal BVI Yacht Club.
The North Sound of Virgin Gorda is favoured for such an event not least of all because the venue is big enough to offer diverse wind and water conditions for practices. The event specifically targeted youth championship sailors in the Blue and White sailing fleets and so participants were all aged between 9 and 12 years old.
On-the-water training focused on boat rigging adjustments for different wind conditions and drills for improving body positioning on the boat, tacking and gybing correctly in heavy and light air, mark rounding, sailing in crowded areas, tactics to maximize boat speed and recognize wind shifts and take advantage of them.
On the theoretical side, sailors were educated on relevant international rules of racing and strategies to position yourself for best finishes among your competitors. Video footage was taken daily and used in debriefing sessions.
Monday was the highlight of the clinic for youth sailors as this was the time set aside for sailors to execute what they had learnt over the past two and a half days.
Both Matthew Oliver, whose crew secured a second place for BVI in this year´s Premier´s Cup IC-24 racing, and Jason Putley, who is presently transitioning to Laser and IC-24 boats, were in attendance for the full weekend to assist as part of their exposure to becoming certified trainers in the next few years.
Coach Omari Scott getting ready to debrief
Photo Credit: Provided
The sport of sailing has gained immense popularity with youths over the past 18 months particularly with the Royal BVI Yacht Club´s engagement of sailing instructor and coach Omari Scott of Antigua. Scott stated that he was very pleased with the success of the clinic.
"I now have sailors of every level and from age 6" and as we identify talented sailors who are ready to embrace championship racing, it is important that we hold events such as these to help them improve their tactical skill, preparedness and independence on the water," Scott stated.
All sailors at this year´s clinic will compete in the annual International Regatta to be held at Club Nautico de San Juan in Puerto Rico in February 2013 where more than 50 optimist sailors are expected to compete.