Blanca Velasquez wins sailing regatta in Orange Walk
Friday, May 4th, 2012
Nineteen young sailors formed the latest Team San Pedro and trekked to Honey Camp Lagoon in the Orange Walk District for a weekend of camping, sailing instruction and racing on Saturday April 28th to Sunday April 29th. Team San Pedro faced and overcame new challenges netting 12 of the 15 invitations to race in the regatta final. On Saturday, all the young sailors were instructed on shore about the frequent and sudden shifts in wind strength and direction that often typify inland lake sailing conditions. Then they took to their boats to try what they had learned while exploring the beautiful lagoon.
On Sunday, Team San Pedro’s ability to handle the unfamiliar conditions was put to the test in the regatta, racing against 26 others from Belize City, Liberty Children’s Home, and a scrappy new team, The Consejo Yacht Club from the Corozal District.
In the first heat, Team San Pedro took the top five out of 15 finishes. In first place was Louis Blanco, who had only been in three races before this. Mitchel Sersland placed 2nd while Blanca Velasquez, Christian Tejo, and Zulema Ayala, took 3rd, 4th, and 5th respectively. Current National Champion Alexander Rhaburn finished in 7th, still in the top half. San Pedro’s Jerdon Anderson sailed to victory in the second heat, followed closely by Lily Hayden in 2nd place while Faith Noel finished 4th in this 15 boat heat.
Four of the top five finishers in the final heat were all San Pedranos. Kevin Velasquez took 1st, Morgain Jones, 2nd; Samantha Velasquez, 4th, and Stephanie Keating, 5th. Since the top five in each heat won the right to sail in the final, Team San Pedro had captured 12 of the 15 available spots.
In the final, 11 year old Blanca Velasquez of Holy Cross School in San Pedro took home the trophy making the 2012 Honey Camp Regatta the first Belize national Optimist Class Sailing dinghy competition to be won by a young woman. Her 10 year old brother Kevin, also of Holy Cross School won the 3rd Place medal.
The San Pedro Youth Sailing Program can be proud of its first year of operation and is thankful for the community support it has received so far. However, the program needs more boat sponsors and more volunteer instructors to meet the demand. There are still 116 young San Pedranos signed up and waiting to learn how to sail. For further information on how you can assist you can contact Forest Jones at 610-4550.