Simpson Bay, St. Maarten – October 9th, 2021
Thirty-four competitors competed in a challenging first race of the Grant Thornton Dinghy Season Championship in day 1 of the Soons Series.
The first day of the Soons Series, which is part of the Grant Thornton Dinghy Season Championship, was a challenging day for all our thirty-four competitors due to its windy and shifty conditions.
The Sint Maarten Yacht Club, as the organizing authority, was very pleased to see competitors from St. Barths and St. Martin joining in the race. Both sailing organizations are planning on joining all the races in the Sint Maarten Yacht Club Dinghy Racing Calendar, which will make the racing more competitive and increases the number of participation significantly.
The first start of the day was a good indication of how the rest of the afternoon would go. A 20 degrees wind shift knocked some seasoned sailors out of their boats on the start line, which was then followed by a wind lull on the port side of the racing area that split the fleet up. It was typical lagoon racing, with those on the starboard side of the racing area having the full advantage and making their way to the windward mark. Within seconds the wind filled the sails again of those in the lull and gave them an opportunity to catch up with the rest of the fleet.
The remainder of the afternoon saw either a calm breeze or very powerful and shifty gusts that made the fleet come to a full halt, fly across the course, capsize or all the above.
During the second start of the day, 2 lasers were over early and the Race Committee, existing of Garth Steyn, Iain Mobbs, Anne-Marie Saat and Clenda Pecht, shown their professionalism by calling out the sail numbers for them to return to the start line.
In the Optimist Class 18 sailors were competing. The Sint Maarten Yacht Club organized a racing clinic for the youngest sailors in the program that show potential to grow into racing. “In the morning we went over all the racing rules and procedures and practiced the racing course. In the afternoon they joined the race. Not everyone was able to complete all the races, but the progress these children made was great to see. We will continue to educate and train their racing skills and are looking forward to seeing them again on the start line”. Said Sam Peeks, Racing Coach of the Sint Maarten Yacht Club.
The Optimist Fleet was dominated by French sailors from St. Barts and Saint Martin with the top 3 all from St. Barts. Marvin Febrissy came in third place, with Arthur Bruel in second place. Lolie Osswald won convincingly with three first places and one second place.
The thirteen boat Laser Fleet saw great sailors with lots of potential. Jordan Pieterse, on several occasions, was getting close to her brother Justin Pieterse at the mark roundings. Sailing in a laser 4.7 Jordan ended in fourth place. Third place went to Alain Pensoit from Saint Martin, followed by Jolyon Ferron in second place and Justin Pieterse in first, both representing Sint Maarten.
In the Laser Pico fleet Massimo LaPierre showed fantastic racing potential with his perseverance. Veronica Destin came in third place, Melina de Vries in second and Rio Stomp, who started back racing after a season’s absence, took first place with 3 bullets.
There was a real battle going on in the RS Quest fleet between first and second place who took turns coming across the finish line first. Sint Maarten’s Robbie Ferron and new crew Shaun ended up in a tie with Antonio Sciou and crew from St. Barts. Antonio and his crew won the last race of the day and took the win for the day.
The second day of the Soons Series will take place later this week on Saturday October 16.
Results can be found here.
Pictures can be found here.
Sint Maarten Yacht Club
The club was established in 1980 with the goal to promote sailing on the island of St. Maarten. The Sint Maarten Yacht Club organizes multiple sailing events throughout the year, with the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta as its crown jewel. A youth sailing program stimulates local youngsters to become part of the sailing community, teaching them life skills like teamwork, perseverance and confidence. Always looking to further develop sailing on St. Maarten, the Club is active in promoting the sport, as well as the beautiful Caribbean island destination of St. Maarten. For more information visit www.smyc.com