As the 2022 National Sailing Championship ended at Vessigny Beach on Sunday, a St Mary's College student who has been sailing his entire life emerged as a category champion.
Stefan Stuven, 18, from Diego Martin, was crowned winner of the men's Laser radial class. He told Newsday the art of sailing had been passed down to him and his brother by their father, who in turn had it passed down to him by his father.
"My grandfather and my father were both born in Germany, and actually, my father sailed straight from Germany to Trinidad," Stuven said of his family's passion for the sport.
Thanks to this deep-rooted love, Stuven said, "I've been sailing with my father since I was a couple months old. I started sailing by myself when I was seven."
Although this was Stuven's first championship at the national level, he had participated in youth championships before, including last December's Youth World Championships in Oman.
So, he said, "I felt pretty calm going into this tournament as I already had experience of what it's like to participate in competitive regattas."
In that Youth Championship, Stuven had struggled, placing 47th out of 50 entrants. Asked what this win means to him in light of that, he said he is happy to see how far he has come since last December.
"I had spoken about it with my coach (and Olympian) Andrew Lewis, and we just wanted to see where I'm at, how far I've come and how much further I've got to go."
He added that aside from Lewis, his older brother also coaches him. Stuven regularly trains at the TT Sailing Association (TTSA) in Chaguaramas, with occasional clinics in Charleston, US.
Asked what his next step will be, Stuven said he hopes to participate in the 2022 Youth Worlds in Holland from July 8-15, as well as the ILCA 6 Youth World Championship in the US 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 cost.