Balentien from Curacao wins Sol Optimist Championship

Balentien from Curacao wins Sol Optimist Championship

SIMPSON BAY-- James Balentien from Curacao won the 17th annual Sol St. Maarten Optimist Championship on the weekend.

Balentien sailing in the Blue fleet edged out Carrack Jones from Antigua by just one point. Richendly Ferrero from Curacao took third place.
Twenty-six youth sailors from six different countries competed in the Championship.
Sailors represented the Antigua Yacht Club, St. Kitts and Nevis Sailing Association, Club de Voile de Friar’s Bay (St. Martin), Youth Sailing Curacao, St. Barth Yacht Club, and the St. Maarten Yacht Club.
Eleven raced in the orange fleet and 15 sailed in the blue fleet which is for the advanced sailors.
“We are so happy to see more and more international teams joining again,” said Saskia Revelman, event manager at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club. “In 2019 thirty-one competitors joined the event and because of COVID the numbers dropped to seventeen and nineteen boats in 2020 and 2021.”
In the orange fleet, Skyla Connor, representing the St. Kitts and Nevis Sailing Association took first place with 14 points out of 11 races. In this fleet the fight was about second, third and fourth place, with all these places only one point apart from each other. Lourenco Rolo Couto from the Saint Barth Yacht Club managed to come in second, with 23 points. Nathan Sheppard from Sint Maarten came in third with 24 points and Tao Carmona from Saint Barth Yacht Club came in fourth with 25 points.
“When you see how close the results are, it shows you how tight and exciting the racing and competition was, said Sam Peeks, Racing Coach at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club. We are happy to see the progress during the weekend, but most importantly everybody had fun”.
Two additional trophies for Sportsmanship and Newcomer were also awarded. The Race Organization rewarded Greyson Burrell from the St. Kitts and Nevis Sailing Association as promising newcomer. It was his first race off island, and he showed great motivation and didn’t give up in tough conditions.
Stanley Haes from Club de Voile de Fryers Bay was rewarded with the Sportsmanship Award, for the second time in a row. Haes showed great sportsmanship as he turned his penalties when he made a mistake, even though when there were no other participants around to alert him.
“This is how we would like to see the sport,” said Race Officer Rien Korteknie, true and honest racing on a high level.
The Championship was made possible by sponsors SOL, Budget Marine, Remax, The Scuba Shop, Domino’s, Grant Thornton and Zeebest.

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