Eighteen junior sailors from the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Curacao were among some 615 competitors hailing from 30 states and 8 foreign to compete in the December 27-30 2006 Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta – the largest youth regatta in the United States. Proving their prowess and showing that they come from a region that boasts some of the finest sailing in the world, 10 of these island-wise sailors posted finishes in the top 25 in Laser and Club 420 classes.
In fact, it was Puerto Rico’s David Alfonso who won the Laser 4.7 class.
Alfonso, who sailed in the event for the second consecutive year, explains, “The first day it was a bit windy and the first race I was completely confused at the start. Patrick (Carolus, also from Puerto Rico) and I ended up starting 30 seconds late, yet I managed to finish first and Patrick second. I had been pushing the starts after that race and I was always in the lead every start, even though that cost me an OCS instead of a first one day and a Z flag penalty which gave me six points instead of a first another day. Overall I sailed pretty well and dominated the fleet when there was about 8 to 12 knots of breeze. Anything less or more and I was finishing in the top five.”
He adds, “I like sailing in the Orange Bowl because it has great competition and everyone is young so you get to meet a lot of new friends each time you come. Right now I am thinking of switching to Laser Radials in order to have even more competition than what I already have. I don’t have a clear idea of what regattas I will go to next, but I want to go to international regattas around the world.”
St. Thomas’ Taylor Canfield, who, with fellow islander Nathan Rosenberg won the 420 North American Championship in Bellport, New York, teamed up for the Orange Bowl with California’s Perry Emsiek and finished a fantastic second in class. “We had two throw-outs, which allowed us to discard both an OCS and Black Flag, and we prepared for the heavier wind the last day,” Canfield says.
Winds, as well as temperatures, did vacillate from mild to blustery during the five-day event, giving sailors a range of conditions with which to test their mettle.
Held out of the Coconut Grove Yacht Club, the regatta features classes for Optimists, Laser 4.7s, Laser Radials, Laser Standards, and Club 420s.
The annual Orange Bowl International Regatta is one of over twenty Junior Olympic Festivals that take place throughout the U.S. each year. These events are a cooperative program of both US Sailing and the US Olympic Committee, with the purpose of broadening the base of youth sailing in the U.S. With junior participation as bountiful as this, is appears that the sport has a bright future. And, it will be a future that will see its fair share of Caribbean champions.
19. Hugo Roller, St. John, USVI (175)
37. Francisco Medina, Puerto Rico (390)
LASER RADIAL (127)
2. Marco Teixidor, Puerto Rico (21)
19. Angela Albela, Puerto Rico (112)
33. Max Nickbarg, St. John, USVI (170)
46. Tyler Rice, St. Thomas, USVI (216)
54. Michiel van Wick, Curacao (247)
59. Eduardo Leal, Puerto Rico (271)
74. Mayumi Roller, St. John, USVI (317)
89. Ryan Murphy, St. Croix, USVI (391)
106. Vincent Pietersz, Curacao (463)
1. David Alfonso, Puerto Rico (20)
3. Olin Davis, St. Thomas, USVI (45)
4. Patrick Carolus, Puerto Rico (48)
6. Rian Bareuther, St. Thomas, USVI (58)
7. William Bailey, St. Thomas, USVI (66)
11. Christopher Cilliers, St. Thomas, USVI (93)
CLUB 420s (78)
2. Taylor Canfield and Perry Emsiek, St. Thomas, USVI (33)