Pointe Claire Training Regatta for Youth prepares Olympic sailing hopefuls
Sebastien Vittecoq was a little nervous Sunday afternoon.
“Yeah, well, that’s why I’m in the water, making sure that everything goes well,” he grinned.
His son, Pierre-Samuel, was participating in the 12th annual Training Regatta for Youth (TRY) at lake St-Louis, an event hosted by the Pointe Claire Yacht Club. He’s a member of the race team at the club and this was his first regatta. He’s ten.
“A couple of years were really rough for him,” his father explains, “so now he’s in his third year, trying, and I guess it’s starting to work out pretty well.”
Athletes predominantly from Quebec, 155 in all, took part in the two-day race that ended Sunday afternoon. There were four classes divided by age, ranging from late teens to as young as eight. This race was one of the stops on the Quebec sailing circuit.
For many of the young athletes it was about having fun and embracing Quebec’s sailing culture. But some have much more ambitious goals.
“Look, there’s a whole other environment of racing,” explained former Canadian Olympian and sailing coach Tyler Bjorn as he surveyed the racers from his boat. “There’s the Olympics, stuff like that, that maybe we can find that diamond in the rough in this part and get them to the Games.”
He competed in the 2012 games and is now the sailing director and a head coach at the Point Claire Yacht Club. He was also scouting the talent this weekend.
“I have…sort of a wont to get someone else to the Games,” he smiled.
There are five sailing clubs, including the Pointe Claire club, that train at the lake, and in all they have produced more than 20 Olympians, according to Bjorn.
Vittecoq is hoping his son might one day want to go that far. There are already serious competitors in the family — a nephew and a niece.
“Justin Vittecoq, who’s trying for the PanAm Games,” he explained, “and we have Coralie [Vittecoq] who’s trying to qualify for the Olympics.”
Both are siblings and members at the Pointe Claire club.
So what better role models for young Pierre-Samuel than members of his own family?
“Exactly,” Vittecoq laughed. “Especially in family parties we talk about sailing all the time!”
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