Junior Nationals Sailing Championships

The Namibian Sailing Association (NSA) hosted its Junior Nationals at the Yacht Club in Walvis Bay over the weekend.
For the first time since its inception the event, it was held in two different types of dinghies namely the Optimist Sailing Dinghy and Laser Sailing Dinghy to allow greater participation. Catamaran Charters was the sponsor of the event that was hosted by Walvis Bay Yacht Club.
The Optimist Sailing Dinghy, an international class boat designed specifically for children by American boat designer Clark Mills in 1947. The Laser class is also an international class used for the Olympic men’s single handed.
The wind on Saturday started with a steady 6-10 knots and the heats took place to allow qualification for the Final Medal race.
The first two heats of the Optimist Class were won by Nicole Steyn with second place going to Mary- Ann Eeden in the first heat and Jacques Swart in the second. In the laser Albertus de Klerk showed his prowess by winning both heats with second place going to Gerald McCarthy and Mathew Quinn respectively.
By the time for the fifth heat the wind had really increased and it was exciting sailing in the Optimists with Xenia Plarre winning and Nicole Steyn in second place. The Laser classes saw several dinghies capsize by Elmi McCarthy and only one finisher Karli Rudolph who persevered in the difficult conditions to cross the line in first place.
The blue sky and strong winds of Saturday afternoon were replaced by cloud and a northerly wind for the start of Sunday with races starting early to finish the last of the heats. The lighter winds suited Gerald McCarthy in the Laser with Jonathan van Zyl taking the second. In the optimist class Jaques Swart won with Mary-Ann van Eeden taking second again.
Going into the Medal race final it was very close with Gerald, Albertus, Karli, Nicole and Xenia all looking like strong contenders. The final race was started in a light breeze and the tide across the course was strong it certainly provided some really tricky conditions for the competitors.
All boats started together and with the start line just in front of the club house spectators had an awesome view. As the race progressed the faster Laser looked like it was going to have an advantage as it finished the three laps in 31 minutes and six seconds. But the wind filled in and the first Optimist finished in 44 minutes and 12 seconds, which was good enough to take the event on handicap.
The prize giving was conducted by Christo Swart from the Namibian Sailing Association thanks to the Commodore of WBYC, Theo Schoemans who was also rescue cover; principle race officer, Peter Davidson and to all parents and competitors who supported the event in addition to the sponsor Catamaran Charters.
Final Overall Results were;
1st – Xenia Plarre (1st Optimist)
2ndAlbertus de Klerk (1st laser)
3rd Nicole Steyn (2nd Optimist)
4thElmi McCarthy (2nd Laser)
5thStephen Fourie
6thMathew Quinn
7thGerald McCarthy
8thJonathan van Zyl
9thKarli Rudolph
10thMary-Ann van Eeden
11thJacques Swart
12thDeirdre Botha
13thDanelle Swart
14thDaniel van Staden

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