1983 Sunfish Worlds report

Competing against seventy-three sailors from sixteen different countries, Donnie Martinborough from Nassau in the Bahamas held off the strong American challenge to win the 14th Sunfish World Championship held May 22-29 on San Andres Island, Colombia. After sailing only eight of the nine scheduled races with one throwout allowed, Donnie’s finishes of 2-4-1-1-1-1-1-3 for a low-point score of 12.75 were enough to clinch the title. Alan Scharfe of Newbury, Massachusetts led after the first three races only to be overtaken by Martinborough. Scharfe’s finishes of 1-2-2-4-6-5-5-19-15 for a total of 39.75 points were enough to lock up second place. Alan Beckwith of Narragansett, Rhode Island, the 1978 Sunfish North American Champion, captured third with 51 total points.

Rounding out the top five were two sailors from Houston, Texas. Gary Ross took fourth with 53.75 total points and Yandell Rogers was fifth with 55 points. The United States team captured a total of seven spots in the top ten.
The highest female finisher was Leslie Weatherly from Gulfport, Mississippi in 12th place. Other special awards went to Ahmad Lughod of Saudi Arabia as the oldest competitor and the youngest competitor was Lars Guck of Barrington, Rhode Island at 13. The Marco Polo Award went to Ringo Li of Hong Kong for having traveled the furthest to the championship. The “Sailing Spirit” Award was presented to Marylinda Ramos representing Puerto Rico.

Martinborough, a 23-year-old real estate broker, takes his sailing seriously practicing several times a week the year round in Nassau. His tutor is twice Sunfish World Champion Pierre Siegenthaler who is still well known for his speed in a Sunfish. Remarkably, Donnie has little chance to practice starts and tactics as the racing in Nassau has dwindled in recent years. This accounts for his conservative sailing in the 73-boat fleet. But, Donnie’s brilliant boat speed was not kept secret for long as he won five straight races, some by more than a minute.


One of the main difficulties was that the water was very shallow in spots, with dangerous shoals awash in some places. it was a hard place to setup a race course . The sweetest race I had was when I finished a minute and a half ahead of the next boat.

San Andres Island, a Colombian possession located 480 miles off the Caribbean Coast, is the absolute perfect regatta site for small boats. A 7-mile full Olympic course fits perfectly inside the shallow harbor which is protected by a coral reef. The predictable northeast winds, 95-degree sunshine year round and 85-degree translucent blue waters make you want to forget your round-trip ticket. Snorkeling and scuba diving are the main attraction with natural aquariums all along the reefs. This Spanish speaking island can only be described as paradise.

The most spectacluar sight was at the start od the series, in the Friendsgip Race, The entire fleet sailed around the square rigged flagship of the Columbian Navy, Gloria, which was anchoired off a palm strewn island. The small boats displayed the flags of Colombia and San Adres.

The San Andres Club Nautico played host for the week-long event. Competitors were thoroughly entertained with an opening ceremony that rivaled the Olympics, a full moon party on a tropical island complete with Calypso Band and an awards banquet equaled by none. Our hats are off to the people of San Andres for an unforgettable week. Special thanks go to Susan de Saad who acted as registrar and coordinator for the event, Maria Consuelo Vargas and her staff at the Intendencia’s office, Alejandro Castillo, manager of the Aquarium, and Marguerita and Carlos Alberto Ramirez and all the members of the Club Nautico. And, last but not least, thanks go to Federico Meira for filling in at the last minute as race committee chairman.
This event will go down in Sunfish history as one of the best. The Sunfish Class looks forward to returning to this beautiful place in the near future.

Previous post 1982 SRCN Jaarverslag
Next post 1983 4e Open NK Sunfish – Medemblik