The world's best sailors plus winds gusting to 20-plus knots created stiff competition for the U.S. Virgin Islands Sailing Team at the International 420 World Championships, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 30 to January 5. At the end of 11 races, St. Thomas' Nikki Barnes and St. John's Agustina Barbuto finished 6th out of 41 competitors in the Ladies Division, while St. John's Alex Coyle and Jozsi Nemeth ended 22nd among 56 boats in the Open Division.
"Conditions were really tough," says Barnes, a junior at Antilles School. "Agustina and I kept with the game plan we worked out with our team's coach, Agustin Resano, of being conservative and this strategy helped us move up every day on the scoreboard to a best of sixth."
In spite of the blustery breeze and short steep waves, unlike conditions the team normally practices in out of the St. Thomas Yacht Club, only 11 of a planned 12 races were sailed due to light winds on the final day.
Coyle, a senior at Antilles School, says, "We could have done better, but there was only one discarded race in this regatta, so we held on to a disqualification which really hurt our score. In addition, the competition was at a very high level. The British team, for example, had many good sailors and they received the award for the best overall team."
A total of 192 sailors from 18 countries competed in the 2011 International 420 World Championships, with the U.S. Virgin Islands well-represented on this prestigious world stage.
All At Sea congratulate Nikki Barnes and Agustina Barbuto on their magnificent performance at the International 420 Worlds. Nikki Barnes is the daughter of All At Sea contributors Carol Bareuther and Dean Barnes.