You can never start sailing too early as young 9-year old Mateo DiBlasi from St. John, USVI, found as he became the winner of this year's Green Fleet during the recent 20th Scotiabank International Optimist Regatta, held out of the St. Thomas Yacht Club, U.S. Virgin Islands, June 22 to 24.
Only four points separated the top five sailors going into the third and final day of racing at the 20th After three final races in 12 to 15 knot winds, it came down to a tie-breaker to determine 14-year-old Will Logue, from Riverside, Connecticut, the overall winner, topping nearly 100 other sailors.
“I didn’t do well in the second race this morning, so it was really close. But, I came back strong in the last race to win,” says Logue. “My strategy is always to stay positive and do the best I can.”
This was Logue’s first trip to the Caribbean. “What I really like here are the heavy winds,” he says. “It was great sailing.”
Logue won not only the overall championship, but also the 13- to 15-year-old Red Fleet.
In the 11- to 12-year old Blue Fleet, it was Ivan Shestopalov from Miami, Florida, who finished first.
“The winds were very consistent and that’s what I need, heavy air,” says Shestopalov, who added that he would be staying on St. Thomas another week with his team to train before leaving for the Optimist World Championships in the Dominican Republic in July.
The BVI’s Thad Lettsome won the age 10 and under White Fleet. This is impressive since Lettsome has been sailing only a little over one year in the Royal BVI Yacht Club Sailing Program.
“It was fun,” says Lettsome. “It was also the biggest regatta I’ve sailed in to date. I just tried to stay left or right, whatever direction the wind was coming from.”
The Dominican Republic’s Justina Pacheco earned the Top Girl award.
“I always tried to read the wind shifts correctly and get good starts,” says Pacheco, about her strategy for success.
In the beginner Green Fleet, it was Mateo DiBlasi from St. John, USVI, who took a commanding lead to win.
“I always went where there was the most wind,” says 9-year-old DiBlasi. “Now, my next race I get to go in White Fleet. That will be hard, but I’m ready.”
The USA’s Logue also won the Pete Ives Award, given for a combination of sailing prowess, sportsmanship, determination and good attitude both on and off the water.
Meanwhile, the USVI’s Maggie Finley earned the Chuck Fuller Sportsmanship Award.
A record 127 sailors competed in the Advanced Red, Blue and White Fleets and beginner Green Fleet. The Advanced Fleets completed 11 races and the Green Fleet a total of 16 races over the three days of competition. Sailors hailed from 16 nations – Antigua, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Canada, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Russia, Spain, St. Maarten, Trinidad & Tobago, the USA and USVI.
The Scotiabank International Optimist Regatta, organized under authority of the Virgin Islands Sailing Association and a Caribbean Sailing Association-sanctioned event, has been sponsored by Scotiabank almost since the event’s inception. The week started off with the Sea Star Clinic, run from coaches from OptiSailors.com, and included the one-day Sea Star Team Race on June 21, which was won by the USA Worlds Team.
RESULTS (Top 3)
1. Mateo DiBlasi, St. John, USVI (23)
2. Luke Sanford, St. Croix, USVI (48T)
3. Mia Nicolosi, St. Thomas, USVI (48T)
1. Will Logue, Connecticut, USA (37)
2. Romain Screve, California, USA (37)
3. Nic Muller, Florida, USA (38)
1. Ivan Shestopalov, Florida, USA (39)
2. Wiley Rogers, Texas, USA (82)
3. Maria Paz Pacheco, Dominican Republic (153)
1. Thad Lettsome, BVI (242)
2. Rayne Duff, BVI (247)
3. Zane Rogers, Texas, USA (256)
Some more pictures of the high's and low's (literally):
|Is there a boat there?|
|That is some great balancing|
|This sailor has found his balance|