Joshua Weech this past weekend won the Cecil G. Cooke Memorial Regatta 2018 as he continues to dominate the Optimist Dinghy Class in The Bahamas.  He is 13 years old, a race team member of Bahamas Naional Sailing School (BNSS) / Nassau Yacht Club and current Optimist national champion, having won this title in both 2017 and 2018. 


This was the fifth year BNSS has hosted this event. Arranged by Sandra Cooke, this regatta honors her late father, Cecil Cooke, one of this country’s great sailors who competed with Sir Durward Knowles’ in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics when they won the first-ever gold medal for The Bahamas. Having a great interest in youth sailing, he would have thoroughly enjoyed this weekend’s event, as did all the kids and parents who participated.


Sailing conditions for this two-day, seven-race regatta were perfect with a steady 8 to 12 knot breeze from the southeast on Saturday and more challenging 16 to18 knots from the east on Sunday.


This regatta has become one of the four major events for junior sailing in The Bahamas, attracting sailor athletes from a number of family islands. With 63 Participants from New Providence, Harbour Island and Long Island the results showed just how competitive our young sailors are throughout the country. With junior sailing growing tremendously throughout The Bahamas, more and more girls are getting involved. Out of 63 participants, 22 were girls, which is most evident when viewing the results below. Way to go girls!


These juniors, depending on age, size and skill level, raced in different classes/fleets, such as the Optimist Dinghy Class for 8 to 15 year olds as well as Sunfish and Laser Radial Classes for older sailors.


While there are winners of each class/fleet, the overall winner and sailor whose name is inscribed on the Cecil G. Cooke perpetual trophy is the first place finisher in the Optimist Dinghy Class. In this case Joshua. The Optimist Class comprises the youngest group and because of this, the group Cecil Cooke would have been most supportive of. This class has three different fleets; Green for beginners, Silver for the intermediates and Gold. 


Matthew Reid won the Optimist Green Fleet, with Cameron Eldon (RNSC) second and Scarlett McCarroll third; all from Royal Nassau Sailing Club. Congratulations to this team as they just started their junior program in June of this year.


Lucas Kisalbach from Lyford Cay won the Optimist Silver Fleet with Patrick Tomlinson second and Ethan Butler third, all from Lyford Cay sailing Club.


As mentioned Joshua Weech from BNSS / NYC won the Optimist Gold Fleet. Anton Gottberg from Lyford Cay Sailing Club was second and Kaeman Floyd from BNSS / NYC third. 


Melisha Higgins from Harbour Island took top honors in the Sunfish Fleet while Gabriel Newbold (BNSS) was second and Katelyn Cambridge (BNSS formally Harbour Island) was third.


The Laser Radial class, in which our most advanced sailors compete was won by Tyler McSweeney. Robbie Carey and Morgan Grammatico were second and third respectively. All three were from BNSS/Nassau Yacht Club. 


Congratulations to all the sailors and a special thank you to Bahamas National Sailing School and Sandra Cook with brother Charles for hosting this incredible event, now among our most popular multi-class junior regattas in the country.


Robert Dunkley

Julie Good