Wind conditions ranging from 6 to 15 knots offered something for every one of the 675 sailors competing in the 38th annual Orange Bowl Youth Regatta sailed out of the Coral Reef Yacht Club in Coral Gables, Florida, from December 26 to 30. Hailed as the largest junior sailing regatta in the U.S., this event has long been the first ‘big’ regatta for Caribbean sailors outside of the islands. This fact held true this year too as an astonishing 57 islanders – representing the Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Guadeloupe, Barbados and Curacao – competed in the Optimist, Laser and 420 fleets.
Arthur Fortune, of Guadeloupe, was the top-scoring Caribbean sailor, placing 2nd overall in the 219 fleet of Optimist sailors and 1st in the 11- and 12-year-old Blue Fleet.
Other top placing Optimist sailors included Juanky Perdomo of Puerto Rico, in 7th, and Eugene and Louis Hendrikx of Youth Sailing Curacao who finished 15th and 28th, respectively. The Curacao delegation of sailors was double last year, no doubt from the wave of racing enthusiasm that hit last summer when the Netherlands Antillean island hosted the Optimist North American Championships.
Curacao scored again when Ard van Aanholt placed first out of the Caribbean sailors in the highly competitive Laser Radial, finishing 20th in the 110 boat fleet. The U.S. Virgin Islands’ Max Nickbarg followed van Aanholt in 23rd.
In the Club 420 Class, it was the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Ian Barrows, with crew Olin Davis, which finished first for the islanders and 7th overall out of 113 boats. Barrows, who placed 2nd overall at the Optimist World Championships in Cesme, Turkey, in 2008, is still age eligible to sail Optis and has skippered a Club 420 in competition for less than six months.
The British Virgin Islands’ Alec Anderson, with USVI crew Rian Bareuther, rounded out the top ten in the Club 420 class.
Anderson recaps the competition: "We won the first race which was very cool, but then the wind died and we had to work really hard to stay consistently in the top 10. A couple of bad races dropped us down a little but we managed to hang on to 10th place overall."
It was a fun four days of racing in Miami’s Biscayne Bay. Sailing by day was met with fun at night. There were parties, the pool, tag football, College Sailing Night (with 26 coaches), and last but not least, the traditional silver bowl filled with Oranges.
OPTIMIST – OVERALL
2. Arthur Fortune, Guadeloupe
7. Juanky Perdomo, Puerto Rico
15. Eugene Hendrikx, Curacao
28. Louis Hendrikx, Curacao
37. Matthew Courtis, Barbados
53. Kyle Brego, St. John, USVI
55. Jeremy Fortune, Guadeloupe
74. Juan Carlo Franco, Puerto Rico
77. Deion M.F. van Rooijen, Curacao
81. Kevin van Otterdijk, Curacao
97. Nicholas Gartner, St. Thomas, USVI
99. Odile van Aanholt, Curacao
105. Andre Reguero, Puerto Rico
125. Just van Aanholt, Curacao
129. Jorge Carl Gonzalez, Puerto Rico
135. Manuel Gonzalez, Puerto Rico
147. Rhone Findlay, St. Maarten
162. Augustina Barbuto, St. John, USVI
167. Lucas Miranda, Puerto Rico
168. Colin Brego, St. John, USVI
185. Juan-Cami Bernal, Cayman Islands
211. Alexander Robertson, Cayman Islands
214. Ben Williams, Cayman Islands
20. Ard van Aanholt, Curacao
23. Max Nickbarg, St. John, USVI
44. William Bailey, St. Thomas, USVI
47. Mayumi Roller, St. John, USVI
50. David Alfonso, Puerto Rico
51. Patrick Carolus, Puerto Rico
102. Antonio Sifre, Puerto Rico
105. Jose Soler, Puerto Rico
23. Oliver Fogerty, Cayman Islands
24. Manuel Inserni, Puerto Rico
25. Reinaldo Cruz, Puerto Rico
27. Elizabeth Wauchope, Cayman Islands
32. Miguel Enrique Rigau, Puerto Rico
7. Ian Barrows & Olin Davis, St. Thomas, USVI
10. Alec Anderson & Rian Bareuther, BVI and St. Thomas, USVI
27. Tyler Rice & Billy Gibbons, St. Thomas and St. Croix, USVI
28. Alexander Coyle & Jozsi Nemeth, St. John, USVI
46. Raul Rios & Taylor Palmer, Puerto Rico
49. Alec Tayler & Nicole Morrisette, St. Thomas and St. John, USVI
52. Nikki Barnes & Chelsea Laing, St. Thomas, USVI
86. Christopher Cilliers & Kayla Halliday, St. Thomas, USVI
97. Ramon Gonzalez & Jose J. Nigaglioni, Puerto Rico