SAN PEDRO, AMBERGRIS CAYE, Wed. Apr. 8, 2015–Belize has been invited to attend the International Sailing Federation’s (ISAF) 5-day Laser Sailing Clinic at the National Sailing Academy on Antigua, West Indies from 14 – 21 July of this year. ISAF (See note below) is underwriting virtually all significant expenses of those who participate.
The Belize Sailing Association (BzSA) is now among the Member Nation Authorities (MNAs) that ISAF recognizes. The goal of ISAF’s Emerging Nation Youth World Clinics is to give skills and knowledge that both the sailors and their coaches will take home and use to build and further develop sailing training and racing in their home countries, all for the benefit of future generations. To this end, part 1 of the ISAF programme provides funds for BzSA to send one coach and up to three sailors to the 5-day clinic, as long as one of them is female.
BzSA’s share of the costs is limited to funding one half of the airfare, which is estimated to be $400.00 US per person. BzSa will be seeking financial support to meet this expense ….
Lasers are high performance racing boats used in the Olympics. Handling them requires sophistication. The actual sailing ability that BzSA’s young sailors will need to participate in any meaningful way is being made possible by the Belize Sailing Center, www.belizesailingschool.com, a commercial venture …
At the beginning of 2015, BzSA members knew of only 6 Lasers scattered about the country. Then, on January 30, 2015, the Belize Sailing Center’s fleet of ten brand new, race-rigged, Laser Radials arrived in San Pedro, followed shortly thereafter by Juan Mazzini, the Sailing Center’s young and charismatic professional sailing instructor ….
BzSA and the Sailing Center’s Coach Mazzini organized a 10-day intensive Laser training clinic to be held during Belize’s academic spring vacation. BzSA’s sailing clubs recommended candidates to attend. The eight who did are: Antonio Ricardez, 14, Belize City; Christopher Young,15, Corozal; Isaac Ritchie,15, Placencia; Patrick Rhamdas,15, Placencia; Jerdon Anderson, 15, San Pedro; Jorge Olivarez, 15, San Pedro; Blanca Velasquez,14, San Pedro; and Sarah White, 14, San Pedro.
The first 5 days, March 28 through April 1, were devoted to vessel familiarization ashore and rigorous drills afloat …. The days that followed found the 8 sailors competing in 12 races… The final standings determined which BzSA sailors have received the ISAF invitations to Antigua.
Most consistent of all was Antonio Ricardez of Belize City who carried home the 1st Place win. Finishing in 2nd Place was Jerdon Anderson of San Pedro. They are headed for Antigua, as is Blanca Velasquez, Belize’s female representative and current Optimist Class champion. Christopher Young from Corozal will serve as Alternate for taking 3rd Place.
The coach and the BzSA board members in charge report that each of the sailors who finished out of the running had shining moments to be very proud of. Patrick Rhamdas finished 4th; Jorge Olevares, 5th; and Isaac Ritchie, 6th. Note that while the girls, Blanca Velasquez and Sarah White, took up the rear, 7th and 8th, respectively, in the Laser Youth Worlds, girls compete against each other, not against boys.
BzSA congratulates all 8 of its candidates for participating and for the rapid progress each has made in acquiring Laser sailing skills…. They were encouraged to fully understand that this is still quite a milestone and merely the first Laser engagement of the many that can be their future.
(Note: ISAF is to sailing what FIFA is to futbol. The water sports supported by ISAF include virtually every imaginable class of sailboat from Offshore to Multi Hull to Keelboats to Dinghies such as Optimists and Lasers, and even to kite boards and wind surfers. ISAF is the most widely accepted authority on the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS). Advantages of being an ISAF class include holding World Championships, obtaining Race Officials, and receiving development support such as this youth programme offered to emerging nations. ISAF defines “Youth” in the context of Laser sailing as being at least 14 but not yet 19.)