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Cooper underlines huge potential

If Chase Cooper’s success at last week’s Mar del Plata regatta in Argentina is anything to go by, then perhaps it’s safe to say the future of local sailing is in good hands.

The Bermuda Optimist Dinghy Association’s (BODA) 2012 Sailor of the Year underlined his potential after claiming overall honours at last week’s 12-race series featuring 180 Optimist sailors from eight different countries.

En route to the title the 14-year old Warwick Academy student posted ten podium finishes that included four bullets, four seconds and two thirds. His worst scores were 11th and ninth which he duly discarded to claim overall honours by a comfortable 30-point margin over nearest rival Francesca Foronda of Peru.

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC) and Sandys Boat Club (SBC) sailor led the regatta from start to finish.

His biggest challenge was perhaps the classic moderate strength north-easterlies, breezy southerlies and gusty westerlies which along with strong currents made for challenging sailing.

“The challenging and changing conditions made me have to stay sharp and focused every day,” Cooper said.

The promising sailor admits his success in Argentina which has boosted his confidence ahead of next month’s IODA South American Championships in Brazil surpassed his expectations.

“I never expected that result, it was a pleasant surprise,” he said.

Cooper has come on in leaps and bounds lately.

Last year saw him represent Bermuda at the IODA South American Championships, World Championships and North American Championships.

He produced Bermuda’s best showing at the North American Championships in three years after finishing 10th overall and placed 11th at the Orange Bowl in Florida and seventh at the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup to earn the Dick Kempe Trophy awarded to the top Bermuda sailor at the regatta.

Cooper, who has targeted a top 15 finish at next month’s South American Championships, attributes his success to the experience travelling abroad sailing against different sailors in bigger fleets and the advice of various coaches.

“I owe a lot to my coaches at the Optinam, Orange Bowl and in Argentina, Martin Jenkins and Pablo Weber,” he said. “They have years of international experience which has helped.”

Rising star: Optimist sailor Chase Cooper has come on in leaps and bounds lately (photo by Talbot Wilson)

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Published February 22, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated February 21, 2013 at 7:37 pm)

Cooper underlines huge potential

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