The Optimist North American Championship (OPTINAM) is a large, high profile junior sailing event hosted annually at different locations around the North Americas and Caribbean. This year, for the second time, it is being hosted in Nassau at the Nassau Yacht Club, with sailing in Montagu Bay. It is set for November 13-20.
Twenty countries are represented, with teams traveling from as far away as Chile, Argentina, Canada, Bermuda, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland. The 155 young athletes, who represent the world’s top sailors aged 15 and under, have been arriving since last Sunday, eager to commence training on Bahamian waters. The strong winds of Tropical Storm Nicole produced some challenges to training schedules and flight arrivals, but will not significantly impact the event, as the first day of racing is not until Tuesday November 15th.
Team Bahamas comprises 19 sailors – 14 boys and five girls. Twelve train with the New Providence clubs and/or National Sailing School, two join the team from Exuma Sailing Club and five are from the Eleuthera Sailing Academy. A national ranking system during the year based on results from four championship events determined the qualifying sailors for inclusion on the team.
The opening ceremony takes place on Monday, November 14, commencing with a parade of nations headed by the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band, from Fort Montagu to the Nassau Yacht Club. This will be followed by a performance by the band and an opening ceremony and dinner for the sailors, their entourage and special invited guests.
The VIPs include representatives from the many sponsors of the championship, without whom the event would simply not be possible to host. The organizing committee wishes to thank RBC Bank, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture; the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources for their tremendous support. Other corporate donors include Commonwealth Bank, Legend Yacht Transport, NUA, Callendars Reality and BBD, all of whom will have their corporate logos displayed on the boat fleets next week.
Goods and services to aid the smooth and efficient running of this prestigious international event have been provided by Bahama Blu, Sports Center, Home Fabrics and Harken Derm, to name just a few.
Not only a sporting accolade for The Bahamas to have been invited once again to host OPTINAM, this major international event is of significant impact on the promotion of the country to a large international audience as a holiday destination and sporting venue.
Watch out for the action in Montagu Bay in the coming days. The final race day is Saturday, November 19th. For more information check out the Optimist North American Championship 2022 on Facebook and Instagram.