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Antiguan Teenager Sails 100 Nautical Miles Solo, Sets New Optimist Dinghy Record

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It’s official! Fourteen-year-old Antigua sailor, Carrack Jones, sailed 100 nautical miles from Antigua to St. Maarten single-handed and unassisted to set a new world record for the longest distance sailed in an Optimist dinghy. The distance breaks the record set by St. Barths teen, Lolie Osswald, who sailed her Opti 80 miles from St. John’s Antigua to Gustavia, St. Barths, in June 2022. Jones launched from the shores of the Antigua Yacht Club, in English Harbour, on Wednesday, November 22, and arrived at the dock at the St. Maarten Yacht Club on Thursday, November 23, just past 11 p.m. Light winds and a large north swell turned the anticipated 24-hour trip into 30 hours. Three support boats accompanied Jones but didn’t communicate with him to ensure the sail was indeed a solo one. 

“The hardest part was staying focused and awake after the first night,” says Jones. “What kept me going was the determination to complete the 100 nautical miles and not let everyone down.”

Jones voyaged to St. Maarten to compete in the 18th St. Maarten Budget Marine Optimist Championship, November 25-26. Over 30 sailors from St. Maarten, St. Martin, St. Barths, Martinique, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Antigua competed. 

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Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

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