St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Eighty-three 7- to 15-year-olds will set sail in the 22nd International Optimist Regatta (IOR), June 21 to June 23. Nearly all of these junior sailors sharpened their skills earlier this week in the pre-regatta Sea Star Clinic, while 11 teams raced in today’s Sea Star Team Racing Championships. A week of high caliber racing plus sailors representing 10 nations – Antigua, Argentina, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Germany, Puerto Rico, Spain, the Netherlands, U.S.A, and all three U.S. Virgin Islands – make the IOR one of the largest youth regattas in the Caribbean.
“The clinic provided a great opportunity for the sailors to practice starts, tactics and strategies,” explains USVI national team coach, Agustin ‘Argy’ Resano.”
The Sea Star Clinic served as an excellent way for 12-year-old German sailors, Jonathan Steidle and Leonardo Honold, to become accustomed to the choppier seas and stronger breeze, conditions unlike the lakes of their home country.
“We usually sail in a small group with one trainer and here we were able to sail in a big group with many trainers. It was good,” says Steidle.
The Sea Star Clinic was run by top local and international coaches.
Eleven teams of four sailors each participated in today’s Sea Star Team Racing Championships. At the conclusion, it was STYC 1, made up of Teddy Nicolosi, Christopher Sharpless, Mateo DiBlasi and Robert Hunter, which emerged victorious. The Sea Star Perpetual Trophy will be inscribed with the names of these sailors.
“What I like about team racing is that you work together as a team to win,” explains 11-year-old Mateo DiBlasi, from St. John.
Sea Star Lines has sponsored the Clinic and Team race for seven consecutive years, says terminal manager, Clarence Nibbs. “Sea Star Line has always been guided by strong values of safety, reliability, and commitment. We continue to make commitments to the communities that we serve by promoting youth and community events that foster the development of our future. As always, we hope to help build a sense of self confidence, purpose, and discipline in a fun and safe environment by promoting these types of life lessons for our children.”
The 22nd International Optimist Regatta gets underway Friday.
“Participation in the International Optimist Regatta is a wonderful way for our youth to form friendships and a sense of camaraderie with their fellow competitors from around the Caribbean and the World,” says Beverly Nicholson-Doty, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Commissioner of Tourism. “In addition, sailing is a sport that teaches our youth many life-lessons such as concentration, self-reliance, determination and sportsmanship.”
In addition to the hi-caliber racing, shoreside activities included tonight’s Parade of Nations and Welcome Party, as well as a Caribbean-themed night that include fire blowers and finally a beachside barbecue and Awards Ceremony scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday June 22nd.
Trophies will be awarded to the top five finishers in each fleet and top three overall. Additional trophies include the Peter Ives’ Perpetual Trophy, the Chuck Fuller Sportsmanship Award and the Top Female sailor.
The event follows an eco-friendly theme. Sailors are encouraged to recycle all plastic water bottles, use the reusable water bottle in the goodie bag throughout the regatta, keep all lunch bags and wrapping out of the water and pick up any trash on shore and accept drinks without straws.
Major event sponsors include the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, Sea Star Lines and Seven Seas Water.
Please also visit the International Optimist Regatta on Facebook!