Team Bahamas ready for OPTINAMs
Team Bahamas is ready to defend its waters at the 2022 Optimist North American Championships (OPTINAMs) that gets underway tomorrow and wraps up on Saturday at Montagu Bay. The awards ceremony is set for Saturday at the Nassau Yacht Club.
The Bahamas last hosted the event in 2019 and some of the Bahamian sailors who sailed then are also sailing this year.
Representing The Bahamas are Craig Ferguson II, Zane Munro, Finley McKinney-Lambert, Norman Cartwright, Patrick Tomlinson, Eliza Denning, Sienna Jones, Jude McCarroll, Mary Jacqueline Nash, Joss Knowles, Emit Knowles, Erik Jensen, Johannes Maritz, Callum Pritchard, Alethea Tsoumpas, Taryn McKinney-Lambert, Johan Hauber, Conry Raine and Javien Rankine.
Coaching the team is Martin Manrique. He moved to Eleuthera in 2019 and has been working hard with the sailing program there. He’s very excited for this opportunity.
“Since we lasted hosted the event, we have improved a lot,” Manrique said. “We trained a lot and at least once a month we did high-performance clinics. We have been traveling quite a lot and the sport has grown. I am excited to see all the work we have been doing. We get a chance to compete in our home waters with more kids able to participate, so we are looking forward to that,” he added.
Looking to place in the top five is Ferguson who will be sailing in his third and final OPTINAMs. The 15-year-old, who will be over the age limit at the next OPTINAMs, said he has been training hard for this event.
“It is a fierce competition and it has gotten even more fierce and has grown. Since 2019, I have learned countless amount of things such as techniques and tactics. I hope to capitalize on what I have learned. This is my final OPTINAMs and I just want to perform good,” Ferguson said.
Also sailing in his third OPTINAMs is the current national champion, Tomlinson. He said he is looking forward to the competition.
“We are in our home waters so I am excited because we have an advantage. We know the course. There is a lot of current in the channel and you have to look out for the tide. It is very patchy and the wind is in different places so you have to get your head out the boat and look for the gust,” Tomlinson said.
Manrique said that he knows that he has a group who has OPTINAMs experience.
“Some of these sailors were young and now they are 12 or 13 years old. They finished at the back of the fleet. They have been training hard and I am confident and happy to see them. I noticed the improvement and they have high expectations for the hard work they have been doing,” he said.
Nash is looking forward to competing against persons from different countries.
“I was young the first time it was here – I was a beginner. We know how the course works. It is great that we are hosting this event in front of our family and friends,” Nash said.
Taryn McKinney-Lambert is making her debut in the OPTINAMs. She said she is happy to be representing The Bahamas at home.
“I am looking forward to taking advantage of what I know about this area with the current and wind shifts,” McKinney-Lambert said.
There are 20 countries that will be competing and 155 athletes will be on the water this week.
The opening ceremony takes place today at 5 p.m. at the Nassau Yacht Club. There will be a parade of nations from Fort Montagu to the Nassau Yacht Club. The parade will get underway at 4:15 p.m.