Team FIJI wins 2016 SIMSAF National Lagoon Championships

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SIMPSON BAY – An excellent 2nd edition of the SIMSAF National Lagoon Championships was sailed in light conditions last Saturday, October 16.

Twelve teams competed in 7 boats on a rotation schedule. Winner was Team Fiji Water with John Gifford helming and son Carson and SMYC youth coach Jimmy Gieseke as crew. Second place went to Team Tropical Sail Loft skippered by Ernst Looser and crewed by Bernard Sillem and Benjamin Scarabelli. Third place went to Team Shore Support with Simon Manley, Luc Knol and Kim Frye.

The points in this regatta were widely distributed and very close indeed. Just one slip up beyond the discard, and some likely podium placers were whisked off the podium. With shifty, light winds, the participants were challenged, which resulted in some intriguing battles at the start and at mark roundings. The gate on a short course resulted in what initially appeared as “gambles,” but surprisingly changed the results in many cases.

Garth Steyn, founder of the Kidz At Sea Foundation, entered 3 teams skippered by himself, Rien Korteknie and Iain Mobbs with a combination of regular and brand new crew, ages ranging between 11 and 19. During one race these 3 teams had their own personal competition and amazed all sailors by coming in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

Prize giving kicked off with a special award, the St. Maarten Sailor of the Year award sponsored by Gill USA. This year Andrea Scarabelli was rewarded the trophy to recognize him for his all-round contribution to the sailing community, his dedication for sharing his knowledge and technical skills as well as his passion for racing.

In the Junior category, the award was presented to Zac Sabaroche, a young sailor with the SMYC who has been consistently and diligently gaining experience in many boat types including keel boats. His dedication and perseverance was the basis of his receiving this award.

All participants were rewarded for competing in the SIMSAF National Championships and 3rd, 2nd and 1st place winners received sketches by renowned artist Roland Richardson.

Lunch and prize giving took place at Lagoonies Bar & Bistro making for a comfortable break and post racing drinks.

Special thanks goes out to all partners supporting the SIMSAF National Lagoon Championships: Aqua Mania Adventures, Budget Marine, Gill USA, Roland Richardson and all volunteers and participants.