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History of the Youth Sailing Programme

The St. Lucia Yacht Club Youth Sailing Programme, now known as the “Kids’ Sailing Programme”, was started in 1995 by Dr. Michael Camps, at the suggestion and with the help of Robert Geoffroy. Over a period of ten years Dr. Camps, ably assisted by Dr. Brigitte Schuling, taught sailing to hundreds of young people in St. Lucia. In 2005, sadly, Dr. Camps had to retire through ill health.


Beginners learn the basics of sailing on the small, easy to handle, Optimists. Those with the ability and desire to do so go on to learn racing techniques.

St. Lucia has been represented at several international Optimist Championships over the years.

The older kids, with the necessary skills and strength, can progress to sailing and, thereafter, racing lasers.


The St. Lucia Yacht Club’s Youth Sailing Programme sanctioned by the St. Lucia Sailing Association saw a team of 8 young Optimist and Laser sailors and coaches off to Schoelcher, Martinique on Thursday March 3, 2011 to compete in the 21st annual Semaine Internationale de Schoelcher. Sailing coaches, Max Todd and Omari Scott, have put the sailors through vigorous training on the water for the past month and are eager to see results at this international regatta where sailors will meet on the start line with 60 or so competitors from around the region and from as far as Canada.

For the first time the St. Lucian team consists of 6 laser sailors: Marc Spurway, 14, Dylan Charles, 14, Raina Bergasse, 16;  2012 London Olympic candidates, Beth Lygoe, 30, and Stephanie Devaux-Lovell, 15, who also joins team mate Scott Anthony, 17, at the 2011 Laser Youth Worlds in Croatia in August. The Schoelcher regatta serves as the first of several international regattas in which the top sailors will be entering in preparation for the “big” regattas.

Sailing in the Optimist class, Marcus Sweeney and Luc Chevrier will be using Schoelcher as their first international regatta for the year which will prepare them for the North American Championships this summer and, for Marcus, the Opti Worlds.

The sailors and coaches are grateful to their sponsors: IGY Marina and Ferrands Dairy and to the kind members of the yachting fraternity who have volunteered their yacht and their time to sail the team across the channel to Martinique and accommodate this St. Lucia Youth sailing team. Competition starts Saturday March 5 and sailors race daily through to Tuesday March 8 and are due to return to IGY Marina on Wednesday afternoon.

Back at Reduit Beach the Sailing Programme continues successfully with weekly sessions for sailors varying in age from 6-17.



The National Optimist and Laser Sailing Championships were held this weekend, hosted by the St. Lucia Yacht Club. This was the 4th annual Championship regatta and the biggest, most exciting yet!

This year’s new sailing class, Benjamin Optimist , had 8 young participants aged 6-10 who were new comers to the sport of sailing but raced well in perfect conditions on Saturday morning. The Optimist Class had 9 competitors aged 8-14 yrs who fought through variable conditions on the water on Saturday , including extreme winds of 23 knots, ( that ‘s white caps in the bay!) and heavy rain . They all showed great determination and perseverance and wonderful sailing skill which made for exciting races both on Saturday and Sunday. The laser classes had a record 10 competitors, the biggest fleet ever. Again, there was exciting competition in this class on both Saturday and Sunday.

The prize giving ceremony was attended by St. Lucia Olympic Committee President Mr. Richard Peterkin and regatta sponsors, including IGY Marina manager Adam Foster who publicly committed his support of the St. Lucia Youth Sailing programme and to providing sponsorship for 20 young people to join the SLYC sailing programme. Sponsorship will include sailing lesson fees and transportation to the sailing facility at the SLYC. Mr. Foster’s commitment to sailing was gratefully acknowledged by SLYC Commodore, Dr. Stephen King. In his address, Dr. King celebrated the sport of sailing and the opportunity this sport provides to young St. Lucians for the development of character, self esteem, self confidence, self discipline and self respect as well as respect for others including the sea. Congratulations were given to all sailors and prize winners as well as regatta organizers, especially coaches, Max Todd and Fredric Sweeney. The regatta committee and sailors thank the regatta sponsors: IGY Marina, Island Water World, Bryden & Partners, JE Bergasse & CO., Mr. Chris Renwick and Home Services Ltd.


St. Lucian sailors will be travelling over the summer months to compete at a North American and World level: Stephanie Devaux-Lovell, Luc Chevrier, Marcus Sweeney compete in the North American Optimist Championships in Kingston, Ontario, Canada at the end of this month; Jasia King will compete for her second time in the VOLVO Youth World Laser Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, in July; and Stephanie Lovell travels with the St. Lucia team to the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in August. All are training intensely for these upcoming events and we wish them success.




1st – Danny Dillon

2 d – Amit Zevi

3d – Kai Wagstaff



1ST – Stephanie Devaux-Lovell

2nd – Marcus Sweeney

3d – Luc Chevrier



1st – Stephanie Devaux- Lovell

2nd- Raina Bergasse

3d – Marc Spurway



1st – Beth Lygoe

2nd- Thomas Meixner

3d – Jasia King



Day 1

On the 11th of February Sailors from the SLYC Youth Program set sail for Martinique for the 20th Semaine Nautique de Schoelcher.

The team: Luc Chevrier, Thomas Meixner, Stephanie Lovell, Jasia King, Erik Simmons, Marc Spurway, Marcus Sweeney, Marion Bardies, Raina Bergasse.


Many in the team were embarking on a first experience. Although they may have competed in the regatta before some sailors were racing a boat they had never competed in before. Some sailors were having their first real regatta experience and one of the team was building on previous experience.

Ben and Callum, SLYC Sailing Coaches, left at the crack of dawn to get a head start on the faster boats with one opti aboard of II Restless. The sailing team set sail with Les and Judy on Maverick, a San Fran 67. Arriving in the afternoon of the same day the team helped the coaches unload all the laser dinghies as we waited the arrival of Duncan and Danielle on Sephina and Norman and Sue on Clara. These two boats delivered the remaining opti’s. In the evening the other boats arrived and all dinghies were unloaded in record time and with efficiency not seen before from a Lucian team. This was partly due to the assistance of Callum Mcardell who was an invaluable asset on this trip, and also due to some of the more experienced sailors mucking in and rallying the young ones to help.

Day 2  Approx  10-12knts

Registration and measurement was completed by all sailors by lunch and a training session was run in the afternoon. That evening the Team attended the opening ceremony in the Club Nautique de Schoelcher and yes, they appeared to be the best dressed team as you can see in the pictures.

Day 3  Approx  12-15knts

A slow start with racing starting at 1400. The team now started to adapt to the new classes of boat and their first regatta experiences with a few good starts from both the opti and lasers.

Day 4 Approx  14-17knts

An early start and 4 races for lasers and 3 for optis. Luc Chevrier moved up to 2nd place overall in his category in his first regatta. Exceptional performance. The laser sailors were still adjusting to the intensity of laser sailing at an international level and finding their feet on the downwind legs.

Day 5 Approx  18-22knts.

Another early start and some tired faces looked out onto a windy race course. In the days racing our laser sailors seemed to excel in the windy conditions with Thomas Meixner scoring some top 5 finishes bringing him up the rankings and Stephanie Lovell fighting hard with the other females through the day. These other girls are a good foot taller and many pounds heavier than Stephi and she held on to get some good results. The optis had a mixed day with Marcus Sweeny enjoying the stronger wind also Marion Bardies making some exceptional good starts in the strong wind. Luc however had a poor day and could not finish 1 race due to time limit. This was due to a will to sail too hard almost. If he had accepted the fact that he was slow and just finished he would have had a better day. You however cannot knock his guts to keep sailing as hard and as fast as he can even if he was swimming every few minutes.


Day 6 Approx 20-26knts

With a morning briefing to just enjoy and gather experience due to the team not being in medal contention, the mood was buoyant after some disastrous racing the day before. Marion Bardies showed great determination after2 equipment failures and a big crash resulting in a huge hole in her bow and finished strong on the last day. Luc having been given a brief on how to sail in survival mode and told ‘’just finish….others will retire!’’ not only finished but showed great application by adjusting his own sail throughout the race to come in ahead of 8 other sailors from is age group….great sailing in the wind conditions. Thomas Meixner also had a good day having realised in the stronger winds that hiking hard for the whole race makes you go a lot faster!!

The team then raced to pack up the boats and again showed a good turn of application and effort to get loaded. By 1600 the boats were on and ready to go.

The team then attended the closing ceremony and prize giving with Luc getting a spot prize for surviving the conditions at only 10 years old.

Day 7 Approx 18-22knts

II Restless left at first light to get a jump on the fast boats again and then was closely followed by the Maverick. Sephina and Clara left a good bit later and unfortunately Clara was dissmasted shortly after setting sail. Our condolences go out to Norman and Sue who have supported us so well over the years. Thankfully this did not occur in the channel and the boat was rescued by the French Coast  Guard.

The other boats returned safely and all equipment, bags and kids were unloaded by 6pm.

Our thanks go out to all food and provisioning sponsors that gave us dinner, Les & Judy, Duncan & Danielle, Norman and Sue and Teresa  for all their help and to Jonathan Everett for kindly loaning us his boat II Restless.

Finally, special thanks must go to the parents who supported their children with racing sails and personal racing sailing equipment as it made a huge difference to the children’s comfort, confidence and sailing ability. Case in point……Luc finished 5th in his under 12 age category at 10years old with no previous regatta experience. This would not have been remotely possible without a Racing opti sail.

Overall Results :


8TH Thomas Meixner

10th Stephanie Lovell  (3rd Girl)

15th Raina Bergasse (5th Girl)


10TH Eric Simmons

15th Jasia King (2nd Girl)


5th Luc Chevrier (under 12 and 27 competitors)

16th Marcus Sweeny (Over 12)

35th Marc Spurway (Over 12)

42nd Marion Bardies (Over 12)

Submitted by Benjamin Todd SLYC Head Coach

Pictures by Danielle SLYC Social Secretary

Tortola Premier’s Cup 2009  International Youth Regatta

July 10th – 12th 2009

A youth team from the St. Lucia Yacht Club traveled to Tortola, the British Virgin Islands to compete in the Premiers’ Cup presented by Digicel. The competition was tough but our young team managed to fight back for the silver.

The Premiers’ Cup is an annual fund raising event held by Kids and the Sea “KATS” for young sailors of age 17 and under. It is hosted by the Nanny Cay marina in Tortola. Each year the cup is sailed in IC24 sail boats. These are modified j24’s with a more open cockpit initially designed for cruising.  The number of entries in this years’ regatta was low but teams from the United States, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands were represented.

Saturday was the first day of racing. The four boat fleet saw winds gusting above 15 knots and the race course was heavily chopped. St. Lucia’s young team helmed by Marcus Sweeney 13 had a nervous start placing 3rd in the first two races behind the teams from Anguilla and the BVI. The next two races the team managed to sneak back to gain two silvers. At this point, the team from the BVI had already won all four races and was well ahead of the fleet. The battle was now for second between the teams from Anguilla and St. Lucia both with 10 pts. In the final race of the day team Anguilla had a magnificent start ahead of the fleet and in clear wind. At the first mark team Anguilla was well ahead of the pack with St. Lucia and BVI closely competing for second. In the end team Anguilla held off for the win and team BVI pulled away from St. Lucia.

Leading into the following day, the team from the BVI still had a comfortable lead while Anguilla had a two point advantage over St. Lucia. Tactician Stephanie Lovell 13 had an important task ahead of her if St. Lucia was to make a come back on the final day of racing. The winds now were up above 17 knots and each team was defining itself. St. Lucia had two superb starts in the first two races but could not manage to keep ahead of team BVI. BVI was simply quicker in the waves and was more adept to these sailing conditions. Anguilla finished 3rd and 4th putting them back a position. The next race team St. Lucia chased team Anguilla from the start after being forced over the line early by  BVI but managed to regain second on the last leg. Two seconds in the last races finished off the Anguilla team, for St. Lucia to capture the silver. Our young team performed exceptionally well compared to previous years and considering their experience level. They have shown that there is some true potential for youth keelboat sailing in St. Lucia. Thanks go out to the St. Lucia Yacht Club and all the parents who supported the team and to the owners of “Unbridled” the j24 used for training and Danielle, Social Secretary SLYC for chaperoning.

Team St. Lucia

Marcus Sweeney 13 Helmsman

Stephanie Lovell 13 Tactician

Thomas Meixner 13 MainSheet TrimmerDSCF4639

Aidan Cox 16 &

Matthew St. Paul 13 Jib Trimmer

Marc Spurway     13 Mast man and Advisor

Story by Fredric Sweeney Coach SLYC

The St. Lucia Yacht Club Youth Sailing Programme would like to thank KATS and the Rotary Clubs BVI for their hospitality. We had a great time in Tortola, a warm welcome from Abby O’Neal from KATS (organizer regatta), at Nanny Cay and we were presented with complimentary food & drinks (BVI Rotary Clubs)

A big Thank You to Simon, skipper of the hospitality boat, who made it possible for Fredric to watch the kids at sea and myself to be able to take pictures, close by.

Also thanks to all the sponsors, especially the BVI Rotary Clubs and Digicel.

Danielle SLYC Social Secretary