By Airwaves Writer Taylor Penwell
© Matías Capizzano Photos
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands–June 12-18th This past week the St. Thomas Yacht Club hosted its 25th Annual International Optimist Regatta, (IOR), presented by EMS (Electronic Merchant Systems) Virgin Islands along with the TOTE Maritime Clinic and Team Race Championship. 111 optimist sailors competed in the regatta and 92 in the clinic. The regatta is one of the first and largest regattas in the Caribbean to promote youth sailing.
The three day TOTE Maritime clinic had some of the best Optimist coaches in the world conducting on-the-water training with instructive on-land debriefs for both championship fleet and green fleet sailors. The coaches included Gonzalo Pollitzer (currently coaching the Norwegian Optimist Team), Manny Resano (California Yacht Club, USA), Eric Bardes (Team LIMA (Long Island Mid Atlantic), USA), Omari Scott (Coral Reef Yacht Club, USA), Santiago Galan (St. Croix Yacht Club, USVI), Esteban Rocha (Sequoia Yacht Club, USA), and Agustin Resano (St Thomas Yacht Club USVI). This talented team boasts amazing resumes, including coaching sailors, both boys and girls, to first place and podium finishes in the Optimist Worlds, South Americans, North Americans and Asians in fleet and team racing.
© Matías Capizzano Photos
Agustin Resano said, “The clinic was focused on starts, strategy, and tactics. The advantage of having a clinic to practice followed immediately afterwards by a regatta is the chance for sailors to ‘put everything together’. It’s the best type of training and with coaches that are among the best in the U.S. and World.
Sixteen teams of participated in the TOTE Martime Team Racing Championship. USA Worlds Team made up of Mitchell Callahan, Justin Callahan, Charlie Leigh, Liam O’Keeffe and Stephan Baker beat out ISV 4’s Rayne Duff, Mia Nicolosi, Julian van den Driessche and Mathiew Dale to win the team race event 2:1. This is the second year in a row team USA has won the Team Race Championship. Team PUR took 3rd place behind ISV in the Team Racing Championship.
TOTE Team Racing Champions, USA Worlds Team © Matías Capizzano Photos
The three-day regatta kicked off on Friday June 16th. Heavy Winds and big swell categorized the conditions over the three days of racing. Winds speeds were between 15 knots and 25 knots and swells from 2-6 feet. The left side was consistently paying off for those who went that way all weekend. Ten races were scored in the championship fleet and 21 races scored in the green fleet.
On the championship fleet course the racing was extremely tight between USA Worlds Team members and Fort Lauderdale Yacht Club sailors Mitchell Callahan, Justin Callahan and Stephan Baker. Stephan Baker led the field after the first day of racing but with better scores on Saturday and Sunday, brothers Mitchell Callahan and Justin Callahan pushed ahead to the first and second spots respectively. Full results HERE
1st Mitchell Callahan – Fort Lauderdale Yacht Club- 14 pts
2nd Justin Callahan- Fort Lauderdale Yacht Club- 21 pts
3rd Stephan Baker- Fort Lauderdale Yacht Club- 33 pts
4th Mia Nicolosi- St. Thomas Yacht Club- 40 pts
5th Rayne Duff- St. Thomas Yacht Club- 42 pts
Championship Top 5 Overall © Matías Capizzano Photos
The Green Fleet finished 21 races over the three days of racing. Sailors from Puerto Rico, USA and ISV finished well in the top 10.
1st Roger Casellas- Club Nautico San Juan
2nd Sebastian Medina – Club Nautico San Juan
3rd Jake Julien- Coral Reef Yacht Club
4th Gian Marco Piovanetti – Club Nautico San Juan
5th Owen Grainger – Coral Reef Yacht Club
Regatta Directors Ann Nicolosi and Holly Jenkins said “We had another great year with close to record number participants, our clinic was the biggest number we ever had. We were blessed with perfect sailing conditions everyday along with a great fleet of competitive sailors and top coaches from all around the world, it was great.”
IOR Regatta Results – http://www.regattanetwork.com/event/13851#_newsroom
St. Thomas Yacht Club – http://www.styc.club/