Thursday, July 18, 2024
July 18, 2024

Young sailors tackle tricky conditions

BY IZZI PUGH AUCOIN, RUEBEN SOL and ANNA PUGH

Six junior sailors from the Salt Spring Island Sailing Club (SSISC) attended the Royal Victoria Spring Dinghies Regatta, which took place on May 4-5 in the waters of Cadboro and Oak bays.

Aoi Otsu and Luci Pugh Aucoin, both age 12, participated in the Opti Red fleet, while Malikaa Clement, 14, Maeve FitzZaland, 13, Reuben Sol, 15, and Izzi Pugh Aucoin, 14, all participated in the C420, double-handed dinghies division.

The racing format for junior sailing involves multiple races over a set course throughout each day of racing, with points awarded in order of placement: the goal being a low overall score. 

Shifty winds and choppy waters made for tricky conditions, but the Salt Spring sailors held their own. After a disqualifying false start on the first heat of the day, all the SSISC 420 sailors recovered well, with Izzi Pugh Aucoin and Sol earning first over the course of the day, and FitzZaland and Clement earning fifth. This was Clement and FitzZaland’s first regatta as partners and their confidence and teamwork was impressive.

The second day brought more challenges, with heavy winds, strong currents and cold temperatures on the water. Izzi Pugh Aucoin and Sol had an eventful capsize, resulting in a DNF on the second heat of the day.  Once they righted their boat, they were able to continue racing in the next heat, and came back with strong results and a first place finish overall. FitzZaland and Clement gave a consistent performance, only dropping one place from the previous day.  

The rough conditions caused the remaining Opti to retire early from the racing. Many capsized boats were witnessed throughout the fleet by spectators on shore, and several racers from other teams had to be towed in from the races before the day was over.

Despite being unable to finish their races, Opti sailors Luci Pugh Aucoin and Otsu finished 35th and 36th respectively, in a large pool of sailors at their first competitive event. 

The junior sailing team greatly appreciates the support of the SSISC in their training and racing, as well as coaches John and Finley, who spent the weekend out on the water with the team.

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