On Saturday, January 19th, the Anguilla Youth Sailing Club (AYSC) hosted the 5th annual Anguilla Dinghy Regatta in Road Bay sponsored by Anguilla Aluminum. Competitors from Puerto Rico and St. Maarten joined a contingent of 19 Anguillian sailors for a competitive day of racing.
Boat racing is the national sport of Anguilla, and the local youth take great pride in hosting and competing against the neighboring islands.
Three classes comprised the fleet including Optimists, Lasers and 420s. In the morning, prevailing winds up to 20 knots blew through Sandy Ground, Road Bay. Luckily, a brief rain storm reduced the wind to a comfortable 10-13 knots for the remainder of the day and made for a great regatta.
With several different classes, the course was laid out as a trapezoid to avoid the fleets getting in each others way. A long beat upwind followed by an offset jibe mark, leeward mark and reach to the finish made up the course. Setting the pace in the Laser fleet was expert sailor Rhône Findlay from St. Maarten. Not even another Laser capsizing on Rhône’s boat at the start of the second race could slow him down and he finished with six bullets.
The Optimist class was divided by age into Gold and Silver fleets. Leonardo Knol, from St. Maarten, placed first in the Opti Gold. Knol was pushed hard by Matt Pemberton, from Anguilla, who utilized his top notch starts and tight roll tacking to finish the regatta in second place, the top Anguillian competitor in the Opti fleet. Not far behind the two leaders, Kemani Gumbs’ downwind boat speed and windward heel secured him third place.
Anguilla swept the 420 class with skipper Shemorie Richardson and crew Incosee Richardson finishing in first place. Jemall Hughes and Anfri Connor finished second in what was very competitive sailing.
“Anguilla youth sailors will take part in regattas in Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago and St. Barth this year,” said AYSA Director Paul Koeniger. “The Club looks to build off the momentum of this regatta and continue their success abroad.”
The regatta organizers offered special thanks to Anguilla Aluminum for assisting in sponsoring the regatta, Mango’s restaurant for providing the prize bags and Anguilla Native Stone for offering the trophies.