It is not just big boats that are the centre of attraction in Antigua. Every so often the tiddlers get in there too!
The Antigua Yacht Club is hosting the North American Optimist Dinghy Championships, which will be run out of Nelson’s Dockyard in the second week of July 2015.
This is quite an undertaking and, in order to do it, 175 Optimists will have to be imported into the country and 175 young sailors will need looking after both on the water and on land.
Optimists sailors are 8 to 15 year olds and whilst many of them would probably out sail most of the Antigua yacht club members, They are still responsible for ensuring their safety and welfare whilst at the same time needing to put on a regatta to be remembered.
“To this end we need two things – boats and volunteers,” says John J Duffy – Optimist Committee.
He continues, “Starting with the boats, we need a Committee Boat, ideally a catamaran around 40 foot, three other 25 foot plus boats to act as line observation and finish boats.”
Wadadli Cats are providing a Spectator Boat but there is still the need for a Press Boat.
Duffy says, “In addition, we need RIBs, plenty of them. We are importing ten 14 foot RIBs but still need more because the yacht club’s RIB will be used by the Official Photographer.”
The imported RIBs will be for the use of the team coaches but we need Safety Boats and other Support Boats. “Our budget is very tight as this event loses money but we will pay for fuel and other reasonable costs,” Duffy assures would be volunteers.
If you have a boat or know someone who does and are prepared to loan it to the event, please get in touch with John Duffy at +1 268 725 2840
“The other thing we need is volunteers,” he says, “and I mean lots of them. We have to launch and recover 175 dinghies every day and there will be all kinds of other things which will need doing from distribution of water and lunches to the manning of the Committee Boat and Safety Boats.
“We would like to see school children involved but we still need plenty of adults. If you are able to volunteer, please let us know.”
“In the recent past, too many people have commented that Antigua Yacht Club doesn’t seem to be about sailing any more. This is all about sailing and, if we do it well, there will be more opportunities to do other events.”
Not only is this good for sailing but it is also good for Antigua tourism especially at a quiet time of year.