Anchors aweigh: N.B. youth to set sail for Canada Summer Games

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Anchors aweigh: N.B. youth to set sail for Canada Summer Games

Dozens of young sailors from across Atlantic Canada were in Saint John over the weekend for either their first taste of racing or an opportunity to tune-up their skills before the Canada Summer Games, which start later in July

The Subway Sail East 2017 Youth Championships welcomed about 80 young sailors, ranging in age from eight to 18, from every Atlantic province.

The athletes competed in a number of different classes in front of the host Royal Kennebeccasis Yacht Club.

Heather McBriarty, the event's chairperson, said she was relieved that the weather co-operated on Sunday, after a slow start on Saturday.

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"It was dead flat calm for a couple of hours," she said, which meant about half of Saturday's races weren't able to proceed.

On Sunday, under bright sunny skies, the wind was up and continued to improve as the regatta continued.

"Today is just about perfect sailing conditions," McBriarty said on board one of the chase boats.

"The more races we can get in, the happier the sailors are, the happier the race committee is."

This is the first opportunity many of the youths have had after initial sailing lessons. But several other teams had their eye on the next big step.

Andrew Keyes has been sailing for about nine years and was using the regatta to get ready for the Canada Summer Games.

"We're just sort of trying to get out all the rust from the winter right now and just get as good as possible before the games" Keyes said.

The Canada Summer Games happen every four years and this time it will take young athletes from across the country to Winnipeg. 

In Saint John, teams from New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia were all trying to work out any issues before the big event.

Keyes races in the 29er class and both he and his skipper had to fight through some hardships on the water.

"My skipper was sick, so he was off and then I went on and I cut my toe open" Keyes said. 

"So then we had to retire early."

Keyes ended up racing with one of his Nova Scotian rivals for several events.

The Rothesay sailor said there is one more regatta to work everything out before heading to Manitoba.