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Bermuda’s young sailors just miss out on gold fleet despite strong performances

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Bermuda's team at the opening ceremony for the 2022 Optimist North American Championships
Oliver Soares sails at the 2022 Optimist North American Championships
Bermuda's team at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Optimist North American Championships

Two of Bermuda’s sailors narrowly missed out on competing in the gold fleet after some fantastic sailing at the 2022 Optimist North American Championships in Nassau, Bahamas, yesterday.

Shiloh Cruickshank finished 54th of the 180 competitors after two days of qualification, just two places off a chance of fighting it out for medals with some of the best sailors from North America, as the full fleet is split into three levels of competition for the rest of the regatta.

Miguel Powers performed well to finish 56th, with Oliver Soares 83rd, Trystan Hocking 93rd, Nina Gotfredson 101st and Dylan Menzies 127th.

Cruickshank was filled with mixed emotions after his day on the water with happiness over his performances but disappointment at just missing out on the gold fleet.

“We sailed for about five hours today and I missed out by just two places, it’s tough,” Cruickshank said.

“I’m not too disappointed as I haven’t gone sailing in a while. I’m happy with myself but I wish I could have gone into the gold fleet just to race against the best sailors. I moved up about ten places, which was good.

“We were expecting light winds as that is what we usually get in Bahamas but it’s difficult for us as we are all heavy. The other sailors are lighter, so it was tough for us, but that’s why I feel fine with myself as it was not my wind.

“Some of us are happy at making the silver fleet and some are not because they didn’t quite make it. It’s been good.

The full regatta at the 2022 Optimist North American Championships

Dede Cooper, Bermuda’s team leader at the championships, has the job of picking up some disheartened young sailors but she is proud of their efforts.

“There are a couple who were so close and I think we’ll see through the regatta when it gets windier that our guys will do better. But, as they now split them they are done; they can’t improve. That’s why they get a little disappointed, as the first two days of the regatta are most important because after that they are stuck in the fleet they are in.

“I tell them that I’m still really proud of them and that they will continue to succeed. This is a great young team. Shiloh is very talented and hasn’t done a lot of racing this year. He wasn’t able to go to any championships so he’s just shaking the cobwebs off. In general, the key is to keep them focused on what they are learning. A lot of them had really good races today with top-20 finishes.”

On Thursday the focus switches to team racing with Bermuda taking on the likes of USA, Canada, Antigua, Bahamas and Puerto Rico in matches with each side having four boats.

Teams have to lose twice to be eliminated from the competition.

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Published November 17, 2022 at 7:49 am (Updated November 17, 2022 at 7:49 am)

Bermuda’s young sailors just miss out on gold fleet despite strong performances

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