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AYC OPTIMIST TEAM WINS AT GUADELOUPE FESTIVOILES 2013
Friday 8th November 2013

Antigua Yacht Club Optimist team members after their wins at Guadeloupe Festivoiles 2013.  Photo by Sara Eldridge.

The Antigua Yacht Club Optimist Team once again traveled overseas, this time to represent Antigua in the "Guadeloupe Festivoile 2013" Optimist regatta.

The young sailors, accompanied by a few of their parents, traveled to Guadeloupe on the 30-foot Intrepid "Exile" (thank you Shannon Falcone), in what ended up being a grand adventure!!!!

After two hours of a very wet and rough ride upwind, we reached the flat, emerald waters of "Baie Mahault" where we anchored for lunch and a swim with a four-foot long barracuda.  That was just the beginning of a five-day full- on nature connection.

Immediately after going through the sea channel called Riviere Salee (Salt River) and its well preserved mangroves, We arrived at the CSBF sailing club in Pointe-a-Pitre and were received with a warm welcome.  The team waisted no time rigging their boats and making sure everything was ready for the four-day regatta.

The event started with no wind and dolphins cruising among the boats on the first day, but changed to dark and stormy skies, rough seas, and squalls that raised the wind speed from 14 to 20 knots in the days that followed.  A few sailors had to abandon a race or two for different reasons, including being stung by giant jelly fish.  But even then the camaraderie kept the fleet in good spirits.

The days overlapped one another and the young sailers overwhelmed us with their excitement, enthusiasm and wonderful sailing skills.

There were Great results with Rocco Falcone producing a great performance and attitude in all 12 races and an amazing coming back on the last race, placing second overall in the Minime class.  That was followed by Louis Bavay who came finished fifth in the same class and Maria Eldridge finishing in third in the Benjamin class.  Congratulations and well done! Also well done to the other Antiguan sailors - Jalesse Gordon, River Andrews and Daniel Smit.

Sailors being towed off the water before the storm hits! Photo by Vanessa Smit.

After returning to Antigua following their eventful weekend, the AYC Team shared some of their thoughts on their participation in the regatta in Guadeloupe:

Louis Bavay:  'It was a tight race with good competition.'
Rocco Falcone:  'Thanks Papa for tightening my vang!'
River Andrews:  'I had to learn in hard conditions to place my mast back in the boat.'
Jalese:  'Great experience!!!'
Maria Eldridge:  'I think that overall Guadalupe was a great experience for me and my team mates, besides being stung by a giant jellyfish, but I can live with that.'
Daniel Smit:  'I was nervous at the start but than I got comfortable and had lots of fun.'

Looking forward to future events!

Full results are available here.

By Sara Eldridge


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