Young sailors descended upon the Royal St-Lawrence Yacht Club for the Canadian Dinghy Optimist Championship last Saturday, in Dorval.
The week-long championship serves as a qualifier for the international regatta. The top 20 sailors in this competition will also head to the North American and European championships.
“This is very exciting for us to host this event,” said Valerie Lavigne, the tournament’s organizer. “The Royal St-Lawrence Yacht Club has a long tradition of hosting important sailing events and we are thrilled that the organization has chosen us this year.”
Quebec is sending a strong group of sailors, hoping to repeat last year’s success when Justin Vittecoq won the event. Among them is 11-year-old Thomas Harries.
“He’s got a good shot. He’s been doing quite well recently,” said Lavigne. Another sailor with a good chance of placing is Lavigne’s own daughter, Audrey. “I’m very excited to compete. It’ll be my first time in this competition,” said the 12-year-old sailor.
Competing in the white fleet division are her two nine-year-old twin brothers, Thomas and William, both of whom want to continue the family’s sailing tradition, which spans three generations.
“There is always a place for sailing. Sailing is a lifelong sport that you can do at many different levels. It’s a great family sport as well where everybody can go out on the boat together. You can simply go out and enjoy the outdoors and be more of a cruiser or you can develop a competitive edge and start racing different kinds of boats,” said Lavigne.
“Young kids can race our class like at the [RSTYC] where the kids will be aged between eight to15 years old or you can sail other types of boats such as the keel boat. There is a big sailing community around the different lakes of Quebec,” Lavigne added.