(Revised on April 30th, 2019)





The Bahamas National Sailing School and Nassau Yacht Club hosted The Bahamas Olympic Youth Regatta April 26-27. Opti sailors from around The Bahamas competed in round two of three qualifying regattas for the Opti North American Championships (OPTINAM) to be held September 27 – October 4 in Montegu Bay. It will be the biggest international youth event ever in the Bahamas, in which teams from over 20 countries will participate.


Normally each country would only get four kids on a team for OPTINAM, but this year, as hosts, Team Bahamas gets an additional 10 spots, so the top 14 junior sailors from the three qualifying regattas have an opportunity.


Hope Town Junior Sailing sent 5 sailors to the April regatta, and they all did extremely well in the crowded 39-boat fleet. After a first day with 17+ knot winds, Sunday’s second race had to be cancelled due to drifting conditions! In the overall results, Jack Guinness placed 2nd, Jasmine Aberle 9th, Dawson Thompson 12th, Maison Koepke 13th, and Rachel Sands, 17th.

The next and last qualifying regatta will be the Opti Nationals in Nassau on June 22-23. This regatta counts 50% towards qualification for Team Bahamas.


A lot of credit goes to Rhiannon Thomas, one of the Hope Town Junior Sailing instructors, who has organized the effort since January, and has chaperoned the team at the regattas. And the kids’ success on the race course this year is due to Branden Sands, himself a Hope Town Junior Sailor and 2015 Opti National Champion, who coached the team at special race clinics held during the winter and spring.




Abaco Sailors Compete in Nassau – by Rhiannon Thomas


Over the weekend of March 9th, the Bahamas Sailing Association hosted the KPMG regatta at the Nassau Yacht Club. Hope Town Junior Sailing represented Abaco with 4 sailors, our coach, Branden Sands, and myself as chaperone.


It was a fantastic weekend with some incredibly challenging races due to heavy winds and high seas on day 1, but our sailors persevered and 3 out of 4 managed to place in the top 10 out of 38! Unfortunate gear failure for Dawson Thomson on the first day prevented him from finishing several races which placed him in the bottom of the fleet overall. With sustained winds of 18+ knots and gusting up to 23 knots, Dawson managed to be in the middle of the fleet until his rudder broke and he lost steering. Jasmin Aberle continued to finish all races despite capsizing during several of the races on day one. Her overall placement out of 38 boats in the Championship fleet was 10th, also being the top female sailor. Maison Koepke fought hard each race to consistently place in the top 12 and kept his cool during the heavy winds. His hard work and skills paid off and placed him in a tie for 6th place overall. And Jack Guinness had several consistent races with some excellent starts on nearly each race, which placed him 4th overall. His determination and competitiveness managed to keep his placement right up there in the top 5 finishers including the current champion Joshua Weach


In September 2019 Nassau will be hosting the Optimist North American Championships OPTINAMS). In order to qualify, sailors throughout The Bahamas have to race in 3 qualifying regattas in order to be chosen for the team which will consist of 14. Thanks to our amazing coach Branden Sands, we feel our Abaco sailors are well on their way to qualifying for Team Bahamas!




Congratulations to HTJS’s Jack Guinness who recently won the Derek Lee Regatta for the 4th consecutive year!



Jack is becoming a rising star with his many sailing wins, a second place in the latest Opti quailifier race, and he did a radio interview while in Nassau.




Richard Woods has posted two videos of Opti lessons that can be seen by clicking HERE and HERE. One is of the kids sailing rudderless, and the other is tacking on a whistle!


Previous HTJS newsletters can be found at www.hopetownjuniorsailing.com



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