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Like leafcutter ants busy on a tree limb, the Optimist dinghies sailed across the sea in front of Caribbean Villas during the Belize National Optimist Championship Regatta that took place in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize on November 12, 2011. The most impressive thing was that the skippers were children between the ages of 8 to 14.

Ambergris Today was very impressed at the skill, enthusiasm, discipline and energy this group of children from around Belize displayed during a grueling day of competition. It was a gloomy and chilly day but that did not down the enthusiasm of the young sailors who were eager to race. Approximately 20 Optimist sailing dinghies and 40 skippers from communities throughout Belize competed in this all day event - the first ever of its kind to be held in Belize.

The host organization for this regatta was the San Pedro Sailing Club, an affiliate of the Belize Sailing Association. Two qualification races took place early in the morning with five races followed which made up the nationals. Each race consisted of two laps around an Olympic regulation triangular course.

The wind picked up and the sea got choppier during the last legs of the finals which made sailing even more challenging for the young sailors. There were torn sails, a lot of bailing water and a few optimists even capsized. It was quite a challenge for the children, but they all proved to be very determined to stick it out until the very end. Everybody was very impressed at their performance.

An awards ceremony took place at the end of the day which had San Pedro boasting top winnings in the competition. Boasting the trophy of the best sailor was Alexander Rhaburn of the San Pedro Sailing Club Barracudas. Alexander was also member of the top winning team which included teammates David Verralls and Mitchell Sersland.

Second Place:
Individual – David Puc
Team – Sea Scouts (Joshua McKenzie, Joshua Pott, Nathaniel Avila)

Third Place:
Individual – Jushua McKenzie
Team – San Pedro Sailing Club Permits (David Puc, Blanca Velasquez, Beverly Medrano)

Winners were also rewarded with an invitation to represent Belize in the 2012 Optimist Regional and World championships. The 2012 North American championship will be near Mexico City; the 2012 World Championship will be in Santo Domingo. According to the Belize Sailing Association, “funding support is available from ISAF and Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Association. See www.optiworld.org. Congratulations to all the young sailors on a job well done.

Andrew Milner gathers the sailors for a quick briefingAndrew Milner gathers the sailors for a quick briefingThe Optimist Dinghies ready for the regattaThe regatta was a fun-filled family daySailors had their support teams cheering alongFollowing the race real closeSailors head to their dinghiesSailors head to their dinghiesReadying for the regattaAnd they are off to the starting lineThe regatta beginsBelize National Optimist Championship Regatta in full swingBelize National Optimist Championship Regatta in full swingA sailor has trouble with his sailBelize National Optimist Championship Regatta in full swingBelize National Optimist Championship Regatta in full swingBelize National Optimist Championship Regatta in full swing Belize National Optimist Championship Regatta in full swingBelize National Optimist Championship Regatta in full swingA tough and competitive regattaBailing water, another challenge for the sailors on a windy dayBelize National Optimist Championship Regatta in full swingChoppy seas and high winds proved challenging for the sailorsYoung sailor looking determined to win the raceAwards, medals and trophies for the winnersAwards, medals and trophies for the winnersMom proud of her son's performanceAwards, medals and trophies for the winnersMiss San Pedro Yakarelis Hernandez helped hand out the medals Miss San Pedro Yakarelis Hernandez helped hand out the medalsSecond Place Team the Sea ScoutsFirst Place Team - SPSC BarracudasChampionship Final Results (Note: The lowest numbered scored are the top winners)

Click Here for More Ambergris Today News Online

Click Here For More Pictures Of The Regatta Visit Jose Luis Zapata Photography

Dorian Nuñez's picture

Dorian Nuñez

1 Comments

  1. avatar

    Awesome job of reporting.  Many thanks Perlita &Dorian.  From Forrest

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