79 Junior Sailors from 10 Nations Set Sail in the 19th Annual Scotiabank International Optimist Regatta

2011 Scotiabank International Optimist Regatta sailors from 10 countries at the St. Thomas Yacht Club this afternoon.
Photo by Dean Barnes

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Ten teams of four sailors each took to the seas off St. Thomas’ east end today to compete in the 2011 Sea Star Team Racing Championships. At the conclusion, it was Team ISV1, made up of U.S. Virgin Islands’ sailors Colin Brego (St. John), Paige Clarke (St. John), Christopher Murphy and Scott McKenzie, which emerged victorious. This isn’t surprising as the same quartet of sailors finished second in team racing at the Optimist South American Championships two months ago in Chile.

“That wind played a major role in our win today,” says Clarke.

Another factor, Murphy adds, “is that we covered the other team and never slowed down.”

McKenzie agrees and says, “We had lots of good starts and good speed.”

Team FOR (Florida Ocean Racing) with Nick Hernandez, Carolyn Corbet, Emmett Ward and Andy Burns finished second, while Team BVI & AHO made up of Mollee Donovan, Sam Morrell and Jason Putley from the BVI and Odile van Aanholt from Curacao, ended third in the Sea Star Team Racing Championships.

Earlier this week, nearly 70 junior sailors competed in the three-day Sea Star Clinic, held June 20 to 22. The clinic was run by internationally-recognized coaches from OptiSailors.com, who included Santiago Galan, Gonzalo Pollitzer, Manuel Resano, Justine O’Connor, and Agustin ‘Argy’ Resano. Local St. Thomas Yacht Club sailor, Paul Stoeken, of Island Sol, assisted with the Green Fleet.

“I learned to start better in races and I learned to tack and gybe better,” says Kathryn ‘Katie’ Caputo, age 10, who took part in the clinic and has been sailing for one year out of the St. Maarten Yacht Club.

Keith McSwain, District Manager of Sea Star Line, says, “We are excited and proud to sponsor the 2011 Sea Star Line Clinic & Team Race. This wonderful event helps to inspire, educate and enrich the lives of our youth while equipping them with invaluable life skills gained from the sailing experience.”

The 19th Annual Scotiabank International Optimist Regatta gets underway tomorrow. Seventy-nine sailors ranging in age from 8 to 15 and sailing from Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Curacao, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Trinidad & Tobago, the United States and U.S. Virgin Islands will compete in this three-day regatta that ends Sunday.

In addition to the hi-caliber racing, shoreside activities included tonight’s Parade of Nations and Welcome Party, as well as a Caribbean-themed night that include fire blowers and finally a beachside barbecue and Awards Ceremony scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday June 26th.

Trophies will be awarded to the top five finishers in each fleet and top three overall. Additional trophies include the Peter Ives’ Perpetual Trophy, the Chuck Fuller Sportsmanship Award and the Top Female sailor.

Lawrence A. Aqui, vice president of Scotiabank for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, says, “As an avid sailor myself, I think it’s incredible to see sailors as young as 8 years old tack up wind with one hand on the mainsheet and the other on the tiller all at the same time sailing competitively. This event has helped to build a sailing dynasty of incredible sailors here in the Virgin Islands.”

For more information, call 340-775-6320; fax: 340-775-3600, or Email:
scotiabankregatta@gmail.com. Or visit the St. Thomas Yacht Club
website at: www.styc.net

Also, visit the Scotiabank International Optimist Regatta on Facebook!