The Cayman Islands Sailing Club (CISC) have named six sailors to it’s National Optimist Team following the completion of it’s fifth and final qualifying regatta Sunday (31 March) at the Cayman Islands National Sailing Centre.
Leading the way was three-time National Champion Matheo Capasso. The 14-year old finished first overall in four of the five regattas to claim top-spot in the overall rankings. He was followed by 14-year olds Jaspar Nielsen and James Costa. The trio make up three of four sailors who finished with some of the programme’s best performances at last year’s North American Championships.
11-year old Finn Richards along with 13-year olds Charlie Hunn and Xavier Marshall round out the national team’s top six. The Sailing Club told Cayman 27 a decision on which sailors will attend each of the 2019 North American Championships held 27 September – 4 October in Bahamas, and the 2019 World Optimist Championships in Antigua 6-16 July will come at a later date. Overall, 23 sailors competed in the national qualifiers which began October 2018.
“Several of our young sailors are gearing up for their events by competing in international regattas this month to give them big fleet and high caliber competition,” said Sailing Club’s Donna Graham. “Given our relatively small fleets at home, racing overseas is essential for our sailors to obtain the experience they need to one day challenge the best in North American and the world.”
Cayman’s international tour begins with Capasso at the South American Championships in Algarrobo, Chile 6-13 April. This will be the first time the Cayman Islands have sent an optimist sailor to the high-level regatta. Capasso will then sail in the 37th Annual Lake Garda Meeting in Lake Garda, Italy 17-22 April. The 14-year old will first sail in the one-day Country Cup featuring the top-ranked sailors from each participating country, followed by the main regattta where he’ll compete in the senior fleet among 1,000 optimists. After placing top-20 in his last two international regattas, Capasso hopes to better his 67th overall placing from last year.
Head Coach Raphael Harvey told Cayman 27 “I would like to congratulate the team for all their hard work they have put into their training thus far, both on and off the water. It took us 7 months to pick the final team, and we are very proud of them all. This is the first time that we will be sending a full team to the Opti Worlds Championships. Cayman sailing is moving onward and upward.”
Cayman will also be represented in Lake Garda by Jaspar Nielsen, Xavier Marshall, Ciara Murphy and Allie Capasso in the senior fleet, with Rory and William Murphy sailing in the junior fleet.