Fidelity Bahamas Optimist National Open Championship 2023

Photo Credit: Lynn Pritchard

Young Bahamian sailors from Nassau, Eleuthera, Harbour Island, Abaco, Exuma, Long Island and Grand Bahama will compete in the Fidelity Bahamas Optimist Championship for the title of National Optimist Champion this coming weekend. Sailors from the United States as well as the Cayman Islands will also be competing in this international event being held in Montagu Bay.

Ranging in age from as young as 7 years old to 15 years old, sailors will compete in a number of fleets within the championship including: the Green fleet for sailors entering their first championship; the White fleet for sailors 10 or younger; the Blue fleet for sailors aged 11 and 12 and the Red fleet for sailors aged 13-15 years old.

“This year’s championship is especially significant to our sailors as it is the first taking place since sailing was named the national sport of The Bahamas,” said Erin Tomlinson, Optimist Fleet Captain, and organizer of the Championship. “Our national team is ready to compete with sailors from the US and Cayman Islands as well as for the title of National Champion in the Optimist class.”

Hosted by the Nassau Yacht Club, the weekend events begin with an opening ceremony Friday night from 6- 8p.m. Sailing begins on Saturday, the 30 th of September with warning signals on the water at 10am and an expected four races to follow. Sunday, October 1 st an
expected three races will take place and the award ceremony will follow at 5 to 7 pm, with the Optimist National Champion named. The current national champion, Patrick Tomlinson, aged 13, will be among the sailors defending his title.

“We are grateful to our title sponsor Fidelity for contributing to this national sailing Championship for the second year,” added Mrs. Tomlinson. “The skippers are young, but many have competed in international events representing The Bahamas sailing against different
countries. Our sailors are ready, and we look forward to an excellent weekend of competitive sailing and sportsmanship.”

Other important sponsors include J.S. Johnson and Campbell Shipping. Panama Jack, Shoreline Distributors, Aquapure, Thompson Trading, Home Fabrics and Abaco Big Bird are also on board to help ensure a successful event by donation of their products. The Optimist is a small, single handed sailing dinghy that is one of the two most popular sailing dinghies in the world with over 150,000 boats officially registered in the class. Young sailors up to the age of 15 sail the class in competitions around the world. The Bahamas also starts sailors in the Optimist for competitive sailing.

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