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Thomas Barrows Wins US Youth Sailing Championships in Laser Class

Competing for his third time proved a charm for St. Thomas
sailor, Thomas Barrows, who handily won the Laser Standard Class in the U.S.
Youth Sailing Championships, held June 23-30 and hosted by the Cedar Point
Yacht Club in Westport, Connecticut. The fantastic win at this invitation-only
event earned 17-year-old Barrows US Sailing’s Robert L. Johnstone III Trophy
and qualified him to compete in the U.S. Singlehanded Sailing Championship for
US Sailing’s O’Day Trophy, sailed at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in Long Beach,
Calif., on August 17-21, 2005.

“This year’s event
was the best competition I’ve ever been in,” said Barrows, adding that his High
School sailing experience and a recent Advanced Racing Clinic in Newport, R.I.
helped him prepare for the Championship.

He recapped the
regatta and what led up to his defeat of 33 other sailors and the second place
finisher by a 7-point lead: “The first day winds were light. In the first race,
I rounded the windward mark deep in the pack, somewhere in the 20s, and was
able to come back and finish 6th. After that race, being able to
come back like I did, I knew that I could win the regatta.”

Going into the
second day in second place, Barrows says, “we got a late start waiting for the
winds to fill in. Finally, we only got one race. I finished second and it was
enough to bump me into first place.”

Winds built and
four races were sailed the third day. “We had a thunderstorm during the last
race and winds gusted to 15 plus knots. Many sailors had a bad race day, but I
did really good with that wind,” he says.

A lack of wind led
to the cancellation of the fourth and last race day. “That’s the first day I
really got nervous and anxious. We just kept sitting around waiting for wind.
It was hard not knowing if we were going to sail or not.”

Ultimately,
Barrows ended the day in the winner’s circle with the Virgin Islands flag
proudly draped around his shoulders and impressive award in hand.

“The Laser
Standard class is tough. Heavier people do better in heavy winds and lighter
weight people do better in light winds. It’s hard to do well in all conditions,
but that’s why I try for,” says Barrows.

Caribbean sailors
from the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico also competed in this event. St.
Thomas’ Cy Thompson placed 5th in the Laser Standard Class. In the
420 class, Puerto Rican sailors Marco Teixidor
and Adrian Hernandez finished 4th, while St. Thomas’
Taylor Canfield and Nathan Rosenberg ended 19th.

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