The Bahamas makes history at OPTINAMs

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Munro finished 35th overall while National Champion Tomlinson was 41st

Simba FrenchSend an emailNovember 21, 2022 473 4 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 Bahamian sailor Zane Munro made history last week, advancing to the gold fleet at the Optimist North American Championships. He finished 35th overall. photos: Dante Carrer

It was a historic week for The Bahamas in junior sailing as Zane Munro and National Champion Patrick Tomlinson became the first Bahamian sailors to make the gold fleet at the Optimist North American Championships (OPTINAMs). The 2022 version of the event wrapped up on Saturday at Montagu Bay.

Munro was the highest placed Bahamian, finishing 35th overall while Tomlinson was six places behind him at 41st overall. The event had 155 sailors competing for the top spot. The closing ceremony was held on Saturday at the Nassau Yacht Club.

The sailors took part in 10 races over the course of the four days of competition, including five qualifying races and five finals. Munro’s best finish in the competition was a second place finish in the second finals race and he finished with 170 points. He also had a top five finish when he placed fourth in the fourth qualifying race. The 15-year-old said making the gold fleet was one of his main goals coming into the competition, especially since this was his last year of competition in the optimist class.

“It made me happy and as I’m one of the only Bahamians to ever do it, so it’s special. This is my first time making a gold fleet at an official international event. This is my first time at the OPTINAMs so it’s special. It felt good as I know everyone was watching. I wanted to make my parents proud. I’ve came a long way. I’ve been sailing for four years and for this to be my last opti, it was very special. I was very excited,” Munro said.

In this his last year in the opti class, he had a busy year on the waters, sailing in Italy, Brazil and Turkey. He is looking forward to the laser class and hopes to keep competing internationally.

Tomlinson, who finished with 194 points, made the gold fleet at 12-years-old and is optimistic about his sailing career so far. His best finish came in the fourth qualifying race where he placed third. It was a tough day for him on Friday, but he was able to have his best finish in the gold fleet on Saturday with a 23rd place finish.

“This is my first time making the gold fleet and I was happy and proud of myself. I sailed well the first two days. I liked the conditions today (Saturday). It wasn’t my best day I would say, but it was an average day. I think I could have done better,” Tomlinson said.

The reigning national optimist champion said It was a great experience, particularly interacting with the sailors from other countries and trading jerseys.

Puerto Rico finished with the top two overall spots. Isabella Calzadilla-Allora won with 61 points. Her teammate Diego Marrerro-Cuevas place second, scoring 66 points. The United States’ Charles Julien was a close third, scoring 67 points.

There were 19 sailors in total for The Bahamas. Team leader for The Bahamas team Dallas Knowles said he was happy with the team’s performance.

“Overall, we’re very impressed with the team,” Knowles said. “They made history. We have sailors make the gold fleet at a major international opti competition, which we’ve come extremely close to before, several times, but now we have it. We’re finally, you know, kind of over that edge where we can say that we’ve competed at the top level in the gold fleet.”

Knowles added, “Munro and Tomlinson represented the country extremely well, by performing at a very high level. We can compete with any sailor in any race. I was impressed with Patrick, he’s probably been one of our more consistent sailors. He’s The Bahamas’ National Champion and it is very good to see him still performing at a high level. He has three solid years left in the opti, so we’re really looking forward to what he’s going to be doing in the next couple of years.”

Craig Ferguson II placed second in the silver fleet with a score of 154 points. Eliza Denning was 10th in the silver fleet after scoring 163 points. Finley McKinney-Lambert scored 201 points to place 18th in the silver fleet. Jude McCarroll and Callum Pritchard were the other competitors in the silver fleet. McCarroll placed 27th with 237 points while Pritchard was 42nd with 260 points.

Taryn McKinney-Lambert had the best finish in the bronze fleet with a 12th place finish after scoring 233 points. Mary Jacqueline Nash was 16th with a score of 245 points. Emit Knowles had 269 points to place 21st, Conry Raine was 25th with 295 points and Sienna Jones scored 306 points to finish 32nd. Joss Knowles edged Alethea Tsoumpas for the 34th spot with 311 points while Tsoumpas had 315 points to place 35th. Norman Cartwright’s 323 points placed him at number 38.

Joahnnes Maritz, Erik Jensen and Javien Rankine finished 43rd, 44th and 45th respectively. Maritz and Jensen scored 351 points each while Rankine scored 356 points. Johan Hauber finished 48th with 357 points to wrap up The Bahamas’ performances.

Dallas Knowles, who works with the Exuma Sailing Club, said that The Bahamas National Sailing School and other Family Island sailing clubs are available to teach children who want to learn how to sail. They are looking to growing the sport more.

Argentina won the Nations Cup on Thursday.

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