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Jr. Sailors Compete at ISAF World Championsips in Korea

Seven junior sailors hailing from the U.S. Virgin Islands
and Puerto Rico traveled half way around the world to compete in the Volvo
Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2005, held July 16 to 22 in Busan, Korea.
This event, thought of as the Olympics of junior sailing, was held on Suyong
Bay, site of the 1988 Summer Olympics where the Virgin Islands’ Peter Holmberg
brought back the territory’s first and only medal in sailing. Sailors competed
in Laser Standard and Laser Radial, 420 Boys and Girls, Hobie 16, and Mistral
Boys and Girls.

“Overall winds
were light. The conditions, considering the tide and current, were
challenging,” said Christine Thompson, who traveled with 17-year-old son, Cy,
to Korea.

The Virgin Islands
sailor started off with a blast in the Laser Standard Class by winning his
first race. “He was thrilled and surprised,” Thompson said. “After that, he got
two bad starts, finished 16th and 27th, and was in 13th
place.”

Thompson should
best be nicknamed the “Comeback Kid” for his ability over the remaining four
days of sailing to work his way up the scoreboard to within one point of a
medal, ultimately finishing 6th.

“The starts were really
important. You had to really call it well. It you didn’t you could easily
lose,” Thompson said.

Although he has no
coach, Cy benefited from participation in ISAF’s Athlete Participation Program.
The program provides some financial assistance and on-site coaching for sailors
coming from countries new to the competition or who haven’t participated in
several years. The Virgin Islands has sent no one to the ISAF Youth Worlds in
20 years.

Puerto Rico’s
Francisco Medina also competed in the Laser Standard Class. Medina finished 32nd.

Fresh from a
fabulous 4th place finish at the U.S. Youth Sailing Championships in
Westport, Connecticut, Puerto Rico’s Marco Teixidor and Adrian Hernandez got
off to a good start in the Boys 420 with a 6th place finish the
first day.

“Marco gained a
lot of experience in Korea. Eventually, he would like to do an Olympic campaign
in the 470,” says Jose Teixidor, Marco’s father.

Teixidor and
Hernandez ultimately finished 21st in the Boys 420, while fellow
islanders Daisy Cintron and Fabiola Mustafa placed 21st in the Girls
420.

Rounding out the
Caribbean competitors, Puerto Rico’s Angela Abela ended 25th in
Laser Radials.

Interestingly,
each of these Caribbean junior sailors got their start in the Optimist dinghy.

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