Story and photos by Edwin Gifford
Hotly contested races kicked off from the Antigua Yacht Club last weekend, bringing together the ‘crème de la crème’ of the nation’s young sailors.
The 19th National Lasers and the fourth Optimist Open took place on Saturday and Sunday.
“After the last two years of no national championship because of Covid, everyone who was keen to become the next national Laser champion of Antigua raced and the level of talent and competition was among the best I’ve ever seen competing for the title,” said Karl James, two-time Olympian and director of youth sailing at the Antigua Yacht Club.
“All the best Laser sailors were out racing. If you made one mistake on any particular race, you finished in the back of the fleet,” he added.
The winner was repeat champion Daniel Smit who James credited with “sailing smart and consistent”.
Conditions were excellent. On Saturday, shifty winds were gusting up to 18 knots out of the east and then on Sunday winds were again gusty but out of the south – an unusual wind direction for this time of year.
Emily Gaillard claimed the 2022 Antigua National Optimist Champion title and was also the only girl racing in the Optimist fleet. Emily, along with three other ‘Opti’ sailors who competed over the weekend, will be going to the Optimist World Championships this summer in Turkey.
And the winners were:
1st – Daniel Smit
2nd – Rhone Kirby
3rd – Jules Mitchell
1st – Tirique Adams
1st – Emily Gaillard
2nd – Patrick Greensmith
3rd – Tyden Jones
1st – Michael Groy
2nd – Imani John-Polanco
3rd – Matthew Leslie