Sailing nationals thrill at Walvis

The Namibian Sailing Association organised the Junior and Laser Nationals event at Walvis Bay over the weekend.

The two-day event was made possible through collaboration with the Walvis Bay Yacht Club and primary sponsor Catamaran Charters.

The competition was divided into two main categories: the laser class and the junior division.

Tatiana Verchusa dominated the optimist class, securing four wins on Saturday, the opening day, but competition for the next three races was tight, resulting in just three points separating the top four competitors in the laser class.

As the regatta continued into the second day, a fresh set of challenges awaited the participants in the ‘long race’.

This part of the competition had all boats starting and sailing together over a long course to be able to decide who the overall best junior sailor was on handicap.

The laser class saw a tie on points for the top two places. The third and fourth positions were also only decided on a count back. The overall winner of the laser class was Vyacheslav Verkhusha with 10 points, including three firsts. Also ending on 10 points, but with only two firsts, was Susan Steyn, followed by Anna Verchusa and Xenia Plarre.

Plarre, a previous winner of the junior event, showed her prowess by coming in fourth, although she was beaten across the line by her father in third place. The long race also saw Nicole Steyn’s tenacity pay off to get a second place in the junior event, beating Anna Verchusa, who was last year’s nationals junior winner, coming in just behind her sister Tatiana taking junior third and fourth places.

The regatta attracted the largest number of participants in recent years, ranging from seasoned veterans to upcoming talents eager to make their mark.

Organised by the Namibian Sailing Association, the event spanned two days of intense competition and camaraderie.

Reflecting on the regatta, Susan Steyn, development officer of the Namibian Sailing Association, expressed her satisfaction with the event’s success and the record number of boats that participated.

“This year’s regatta saw a lot of new faces in both fleets, many of them who had only started sailing this year through Favoured Winds Sailing Academy, which operates out of WBYC and we hope they will continue to enjoy the sport,” Steyn said.

The first day of the regatta saw sailors battling for supremacy in the two different classes where they sailed four races each.

The regatta was not without its fair share of challenging weather, as the light winds were tricky sailing conditions, especially with the tide and on Sunday they had to wait for the mist to clear.

Sailors who participated in the laser class had the opportunity to showcase their skills and compete against one another.

Additionally, the junior division was open to sailors under-19, who sailed in two distinct classes of boats.

The serene waters of Walvis Bay played a part in the exhilarating display of skill and determination as sailing enthusiasts from across Namibia. Against a backdrop of mist and then clear blue skies and gentle winds, sailors navigated their boats through challenging wind conditions, showcasing a blend of technique and tenacity.

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