As the 2022 National Sailing Championship wrapped up on Sunday at Vessigny Beach, a lifelong sailor from St Mary’s College became a champion in the category.
18-year-old Stefan Stuven of Diego Martin was crowned the winner of the men’s radial laser class. He told Newsday that the art of sailing was passed on to him and his brother by their father, who in turn passed it on to him by his father.
“My grandfather and my father were both born in Germany, and in fact my father sailed directly from Germany to Trinidad,” Stuven said of his family’s passion for the sport.
Through this deep-rooted love, says Stuven,
“I have been sailing with my father since I was a few months old. I started sailing alone when I was seven years old.”
Although this is Stuven’s first championship at the national level, he had previously competed in junior championships, including the World Junior Championships last December in Oman.
So, he said, “I felt pretty calm going into this tournament because I already had experience of what it’s like to race in competitive regattas.”
In this youth championship, Stuven had struggled, finishing 47th out of 50 participants. When asked what this victory means to him in light of this, he replied
he is happy to see how far he has come since last December.
“I had talked about it with my coach (and Olympian) Andrew Lewis, and we just wanted to see where I am, how far I am and how far I need to go.” He added that aside from Lewis, his older brother also coaches him. Stuven trains regularly at the TT Sailing Association (TTSA) in Chaguaramas, with occasional clinics in Charleston, USA.
Asked about his next step, Stuven said he hoped to compete at the 2022 Youth Worlds in the Netherlands from July 8-15, as well as the ILCA 6 Youth World Championship in the United States from July 23-30. He has already qualified for the tournaments, but because sailing is an expensive sport, he hopes his tremendous performance at the National Sailing Championship will attract sponsors to help mitigate the costs.