It’s a wrap for the Caribbean Dinghy Championships (CDC) today 20th October. With 15 races started and 15 races finished in a variety of conditions, competitors came ashore looking happy, sun-blushed and satisfied after three days of racing in Falmouth Harbour in largely sunny conditions – proving that October is a great month for dinghy racing in Antigua.
Four classes were represented at the CDC 2019: the Optimist (for the under 16s), Laser Standard, Laser Radial and RS Feva. Competition was open to entries from across the Caribbean region and the organising club, the Antigua Yacht Club was pleased to welcome crews from St Maarten, Trinidad, Barbados and St Kitts & Nevis.
“It feels good to win this,” sums up Jules Mitchell, who took first place in the Laser Standard class. “I was a little worried that Rhone (Kirby) was right behind me on performance but I managed to stay ahead.” Jules took 10 wins out of the 15 races, cementing his position as a top performer.
Mauriceson Valentine and his crew Nahio James not only won the RS Feva Class but also took the title of Caribbean Regional RS Feva Champions. “The light winds were a challenge for us on the first two days,” says Mauriceston. Both he and Nahio are Antigua sailors. “We’ve been learning as we go along”, says Nahio, who learned his racing skills at Antigua’s National Sailing Academy. “We only started sailing together four weeks ago and it was also the first time we had sailed in an RS Feva, so we’ve been learning as we go along.” Of the final day Mauriceson reports “It was windier and that’s better for us. Boat handling is our strong point as we both keep pretty fit.” Mauriceson goes running daily and both enjoy football.
Hard training also helped Daniel Smit to his win in the Laser Radial class. “I sail the boat four times a week here in Antigua,” he says, so I was well prepared going into this event.” 10 wins secured his win against runner up Giles de Jager also from Antigua. Daniel has been to the Laser Radial Worlds in Poland and Texas and is heading next to the World Cup Series. “Ultimately I would like to qualify for the Olympics,” says the 17 year old Antiguan who is now stepping up to the Laser standard.
Perhaps the greatest victory of the series belonged to Izano Lafond. Age 15 and also from Antigua, Izano took first in all but four of the 15 races in the largest fleet, the Optimists. Shaping themselves as potential future champions Patrick Greensmith, 11 from Antigua and Kayman Floyd, 10, from St Kitts & Nevis put in strong performances but were unable to catch Izano, despite their intentions going into the final day to “focus hard”, according to Patrick.
Short snappy windward leeward courses were the format of the event, in the perfect sheltered setting of Falmouth Harbour. Clare Cupples and her team including Helen and Ian Brayley, and Steve Spanis were on the water facing the challenges of setting fair courses in some extremely shifty wind directions over the first two days, while racing manager Karl James helped put the event together.
The Caribbean Dinghy Championships will be back same time next year!
Images: Ted Martin – Antigua Photography