Wind and water enthusiasts welcomed the return of competitive sailing to Guam’s waters, held through the weekend at the Marianas Yacht Club in Sasa Bay, Piti.
Ten youth competitors — six skilled sailors from Japan as well as up-and-comers from Guam, raced in the 44th Guam-Japan Goodwill Regatta. It was the first competition since the onset of COVID-19.
Sailors did five races on Saturday and five on Sunday. Racers earned points equivalent to their placing, and, after dropping their worst race, the sailor with the fewest amount of points would be declared the winner.
“Now with this younger group, we’re beginning to get the connection that we need to move the skills forward,” said Ginger Porter of the MYC. “I think it’s great. When I was a young person here, we used to race all the time and that’s something I would love to offer to the people again.”
Maeva Conroy, 16, from Yona, competed in the regatta. She started sailing six years ago, during a sailing summer camp.
“I sailed really well my first race, I was the first one across the finish line from Guam,” she said. “The second race, my boom fell off, so that delayed me and I got disqualified. I definitely learned a lot today. Our guests from Japan, they know a lot about sailing, certainly more than us.”
Patricia Cassidy, a relatively newcomer to the sport, said she felt amazing improvement from the first race to the last race, just by watching the Japanese sailors.
“Towards the end, I finished not toward the back. I’ve learned so much in just these past two days. I’ve never been in a regatta before so this was exciting,” she said. “
MYC member Bill Unser said that each race quickly developed into two packs: the Japanese in the lead group, jockeying for position among themselves, followed by a Guam pack, doing the same among themselves.
Porter spoke about expanding the regatta to Japan. Sailors from Guam would fly to Japan, stay with homestay families, and compete in the waters and conditions prevalent in their areas.
Mike Cassidy, a lifetime lover of the ocean as a fisherman, boat captain and sailor, said he is working to restart a sailing federation here. That would lead to official recognition and inclusion in the Guam National Olympic Committee, which would open doors to solidarity funding for equipment and coaches.
“We want to develop youth sailing on Guam and we think the way to do it is to develop relationships with Japan because it’s close,” he said. “Today was fantastic, we’re developing relationships, so far so good.”
Source : Guampdn