Sailing: 2019 Optimist African Championship Nine countries at the rendez-vous | 23 August 2019
Everything is in place for the Optimist African Championship scheduled to take place from August 25 to September 1 in the sea near Perseverance.
Other than hosts Seychelles, eight other countries namely Angola, Mozambique, Tunisia, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Reunion have confirmed their involvement and the young sailors started arriving in the country as of last night.
Seychelles will be represented at the championship by eight sailors – six boys and two girls.
The boys are Luca Marzocchi, Yves Fock-Heng, Travis Ho-Peng, Dean Mathiot, Laurent Contoret and Fabio Bertola Thevenon, while the girls are Stephanie Lalande and Jakirah Radegonde.
Seychelles received the green light to host the competition last year following an assessment visit by the vice-president of the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA) Nuno Gomes who checked the technical requirements of the competition.
It is the Seychelles Yachting Association (SYA) which will be responsible for hosting the event and according to its chairman Alain Alcindor, everything is in place.
Seychelles entered the candidacy process through which countries that want to host the championship present their proposals, before the selection takes place according to many factors such as evaluating the ability of the place to host the championship, wind speed at this place, installations offered, suitable conditions of the opening and closing ceremonies, the number of boats needed for support, logistics, commodity for attendees, and votes.
In his report through a press conference, Mr Gomez said all the technical aspects are up to the required standard and that Seychelles is definitely the suitable place for the event.
Mr Alcindor explained that the SYA is very comfortable to host the event as it will feature only Optimist sailors, while sailors from the other classes will be volunteers.
He also noted that it will be safer for the sailors as the volunteers would all be people with knowledge of watersports.
In terms of budgeting for the event, the IODA will be responsible to fly in the officials and committee members, while the host country is responsible for the running of the competition, including the logistic side.
As for Seychelles, the benefit of hosting a continental championship is that, as the host nation, it can enter a significant number of sailors and this can have a huge spin-off effect of increased involvement of Optimist sailing before and after the event takes place.
Sailors from the host nation also get the advantage of sailing on home waters as well.
IODA's goal is to provide the 'Opti-Experience' for as many sailors as possible throughout the world.