Battle of St. George's Caye
San Pedro Sailing Club / Corozal Bay Sailing Club
Beginning with last September's historic first regatta at St. George's Caye, Team San Pedro's young Optimist sailors have dominated the competition in their class. On Sunday, September 3, in the second annual regatta commemorating the historic 1798 naval battle, our intrepid young skippers received a bit of a wake-up call.
Yes, on this day, as has been their custom, San Pedro skippers sailed skillfully through the preliminaries to take half – 8 out of 16 – of the places in the final. Yes, that in itself is a feat for these sailors to be proud of. And yes, Davin Puc, age 14 of San Pedro High School - who placed 2nd last year - took a masterful first in his qualifying heat and won the final with conviction too, to capture the trophy and keep it in San Pedro. Congratulations to Davin Puc for a very skillfully achieved victory.
The 7 other finalists from San Pedro found that virtually all the other sailing clubs have improved substantially. There was to be no San Pedroan sweep as there had been last year. After Davin’s victory, Faith Noel’s 6th place in the race for the trophy was the next highest finish by a Team San Pedro skipper.
Joshua McKenzie of Sea Scouts took second; Delroy Hinds of Liberty Sailing Club placed third. Out of medal contention but still in the top 5 were Darwin Velasquez of Corozal Bay followed by Antonio Ricardez, Jr. of Belize City. And, although she had trouble in the final, Nashira Ricardez of Belize City had sailed to a blistering fast win in her qualifying heat, besting the second fastest time of the day – turned in by San Pedro’s Kevin Velasquez in the boat behind her – by a full 30 seconds.
This annual regatta has already become an inspiration to government. From now on, every year, Belize's September Independence Celebration Month will officially begin with a ceremony and fiesta on St. George's Caye and with this commemorative Battle Regatta. This year, the large and elaborate ceremony was replete with a wonderfully melodious steel drum band. The dignitaries in attendance and enjoying the regatta and festivities are too numerous to recount here.
The Belize Sailing Association (BzSA) is to be heartily congratulated for popularizing the colorful event to such an extent and – no mean feat – for its masterful coordination and execution of the races themselves. Various participants regard this regatta as BzSA’s best one yet. Besides the Optimists, upwards of three other classes of boats are in the regatta, all racing different courses at the same time. So it is quite a spectacle! …. Yet it is the kids – all the intrepid young skippers in their Optimist dinghies - who have made it all possible and who will make St. George’s Caye the place to be the first Sunday of each September. Congratulations to all the young skippers for that accomplishment, as well as for the talents they are evolving among the winds and waves.
Click on this link for a spread sheet of the final results of this event: SGCBR 2012 race results.xlsx
Photos and commentary provided by the San Pedro Sailing Club and Matt Jones