The Caribbean Sailing Association held its anticipated annual conference this past weekend in Antigua


Caribbean Sailing Association’s Annual Conference Inspires Unity and Innovation in Sailing

The Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) held its anticipated annual conference this past weekend in Antigua, gathering regatta organizers, sailing program managers, race officials and CSA measurers from across the region. This dynamic event combined the Annual General Meeting (AGM) with two days of insightful discussions and presentations focused on regattas, sailing development, and the CSA rating rule.

The conference commenced with the AGM, that saw significant leadership changes. Bastien Pouthier was elected as the new President, succeeding Michele Korteweg. Pouthier, who has served as the Chief Measurer for nearly a decade, is the first measurer to become president. David Walworth was elected as the new Chief Measurer, reflecting a strong majority support among the group of CSA Measurers. Alison Sly-Adams replaced Steve Kern as Treasurer, and Rana Lewis took over the role of Secretary from Tamsin Rand, who has transitioned to the position of Group O representative.

Following the AGM, the focus shifted to the Caribbean regattas, featuring virtual guest speakers from around the world who shared the latest trends and developments in both high end racing programs, rallies and cruising. The CSA also unveiled preliminary results of a comprehensive survey aimed at understanding the experiences of boat owners and crew in the Caribbean, ensuring that regional events can adapt and improve based on this valuable feedback. Attendees engaged in robust discussions about the challenges and successes of the past season, fostering a collaborative atmosphere.

Day two centered on sailing development, beginning with an inspiring panel of talented Antiguan sailors. This session not only inspired awe but also sparked meaningful conversations about how the region can enhance its events and programs based on the insights of the next generation.

The conference also highlighted several significant initiatives. A survey among dinghy sailing programs identified common challenges and areas for deeper focus. Instructors from St. Maarten launched the “Sails for Caribbean” initiative, a program where sailing schools can request second-hand sails, and donors worldwide can contribute to this cause, promoting more dinghy sailing throughout the Caribbean.

The afternoon session was dedicated to the CSA Rating Rule. Former Chief Measurer, Bastien Pouthier, provided an in-depth overview, emphasizing the rule’s strengths compared to others like IRC and ORC. He highlighted the flexibility and rapid rating capabilities of the CSA Rating Rule, tailored specifically for Caribbean conditions, to ensure competitive racing.

The final day addressed two critical topics: sustainability in regattas and sailing programs, and race management development. “Sailors for the Sea” presented strategies for achieving Clean Regattas, leading to a vibrant exchange of ideas on sustainable practices. David Sprague, an International Race Officer and Race Director at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, discussed affordable options for club-level training in race management, a vital need for many Caribbean islands.

The conference concluded with a renewed sense of unity and purpose. New President Bastien Pouthier remarked, ‘The Caribbean offers unparalleled sailing conditions and opportunities for both seasoned sailors and novices. Despite global challenges, the region remains united and committed to continuous improvement through the CSA, our rating rule and, events like this annual conference.’

About the Caribbean Sailing Association
The Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) is dedicated to promoting sailing across the Caribbean, offering support and resources to regatta organizers, sailing programs, and sailors of all levels. Through events, educational programs, and advocacy, the CSA works to enhance the sailing experience in one of the world’s premier sailing destinations. The CSA is also the owner of the CSA Rating Rule, the handicap system used at all Caribbean Regattas to ensure competitive and fair racing in all classes.

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