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Trystan Hocking and PJ Rodrigues qualify for Gold Fleet at Optimist North American Championship

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Trystan Hocking, left, and PJ Rodrigues
Trystan Hocking

Trystan Hocking helped himself to the perfect birthday gift at the Optimist North American Championship in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.

The Somersfield Academy student marked his 13th birthday on Tuesday by qualifying for the Gold Fleet at the first attempt to exceed expectations on his debut at the regatta.

“It was the perfect gift,” Hocking said.

“This is my first International Optimist Dinghy Association event actually and it’s definitely exceeded expectations. I’m like really proud of my performance.

“The conditions have been really good, pretty much perfect.”

Hocking is Bermuda’s highest -placed sailor and 31st in the overall fleet of 110 sailors from 12 countries, with a best showing of seventh in the individual fleet race series to date.

“I hope to get a top 40 overall,” he added. “I think that’s a good goal.”

Meanwhile, also qualifying for the Gold Fleet for the first time at the regatta was PJ Rodrigues.

The 14-year-old Mount St Agnes student is seven places behind Hocking in 38th with a best showing of ninth.

“I’m enjoying myself out there,” he said. “The conditions don’t really favour me but I can’t really complain about it.

“My goal now is to stay in the top 30 and maybe go up higher.”

Bermuda’s other sailors Jordan Vierira (61st) Riley Lowe (64th), Isaac Wickramage (70th), Sarah Davis (73rd), Jack Adderley (79th), Kipling Rossouw (80th), Sophia Dias (86th) and Shiloh Cruikshank (93rd) will all compete in the Silver Fleet for the rest of the regatta.

“Conditions were a little bit more favourable [Tuesday] and some of our heavier sailors came up in their ranks,” Andrew Dias, the Bermuda team leader, said.

“They had a good showing and at the end of the day we end up having two of our sailors [Hocking and Rodrigues] in Gold Fleet and the remainder of our fleet will be in Silver Fleet.”

Dias added: “Overall, I believe the team has fared well under the conditions that we’re facing and the fact that we’re a relatively new team with many new young members.

“In addition to that, due to Covid and lockdown we have done significantly less training on island in preparation. This is also our first regatta overseas against international sailors in almost two years, whereas almost every other country has not been in the same sort of lockdown that we have. So, all in all, pleased.

“Spirits are high still with the children, so hopefully we can get as high up as possible in their respective fleets.”

Yesterday saw individual fleet racing take a back seat to team racing.

Bermuda entered two teams that were eliminated in the second round of the competition, which was ultimately won by the United States.

“Team racing is a completely different type of sailing compared to one-on-one big fleets,” Dias said. “It’s not something that we do a lot of, but it was an excellent day for the children.

“We got to the second round and overall I think the team is doing quite well.”

Individual fleet racing resumes today and concludes tomorrow.

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Published June 03, 2021 at 7:56 am (Updated June 03, 2021 at 7:56 am)

Trystan Hocking and PJ Rodrigues qualify for Gold Fleet at Optimist North American Championship

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