Higgs, Weech to represent Bahamas at Youth Sailing World Championships next month in the Netherlands

As of Wednesday, June 29, 2022

#FOURTEEN-year-old Ellianne Higgs and 16-year-old Joshua Weech emerged as the nation’s top ranked boy and girl in the Laser (Radial) sailboat class

#They have both qualified to represent The Bahamas at the prestigious Youth Sailing World Championships which kicks off early next month in The Hague, Netherlands.

#Weech, who sails with The Bahamas National Sailing School/Nassau Yacht Club, has been sailing for seven years.

#Prolific in the Optimist class until last year, he won four national championships and also boasts additional national titles in the International 420, Sunfish, Snipe and, most recently, Laser classes.

#Weech has, in fact, only been sailing Laser competitively since February of this year since aging-out of the Optimist in 2021.

#But he has placed first or second in every event.

#Higgs follows a family tradition of sailing. Coming from a long line of world-class sailors, her grandfather and great grandfather were both Olympians and her father also raced at World Championship level multiple times in the Star class.

#She has been sailing for four years with The Royal Nassau Sailing Club, beginning in the Optimist in 2018, progressing into the Sunfish and finally into Laser Radial in 2019.

#She has finished as the top girl in most of the events that she has participated in locally and also competed in the Laser Mid Winters in Tampa earlier this year, finishing just outside the top 10 in the silver fleet.

#Over 450 of the world’s very best youth sailors up to the age of 19 from 69 countries have confirmed their participation in this year’s Allianz Youth World Sailing Championships.

#Competition takes place in windsurfing, kiteboarding, multihull, skiff and one and two person dinghies in male, female and mixed gender fleets.

#This is a very prestigious event, seen as a stepping stone to the (adult) Sailing World Championship and a major indicator of future success in the sport.

#Almost all current Olympic champions have competed in this event.

#“We are looking forward to the event in The Hague,” said David Graham, CEO of World Sailing.

#“The combination of a natural beach and the North Sea winds will make for an exciting competition and a true test of sailing skills for the world’s brightest prospects.

#“This is much more than just a sailing competition. With a daily entertainment and social schedule, the event aims to create lifelong friendships across borders and opportunities to learn from each other”.

#Weech and Higgs qualified for this event through ‘The Emerging Nations Programme,” which aims to narrow the performance gap and promote worldwide competition for countries who otherwise lack the infrastructure to be able to compete with developed nations on a global level.

#A two-day training session ahead of the event is provided, along with financial assistance with registration fees and equipment rental. Joshua Higgins from Harbour Island also competed at this event last year in Oman. He had a terrific experience and learned a lot.

#The Bahamian sailing duo head off to Europe in a couple of weeks time, with chaperone/ coach Andrew Higgs, Ellianne’s father. The Bahamas National Sailing School/Nassau Yacht Club wish them all safe travels, smooth sailing, fun times and the very best of Bahamian luck.


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