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International Optimist Regatta: Peter Foley Wins

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The USA’s Peter Foley, 2018 IOR/EMS winner
The USA’s Peter Foley, 2018 IOR/EMS winner

Speed and tactics proved the winning combination that led 13-year-old Peter Foley to place first overall at the 26th International Optimist Regatta (IOR), presented by Electronic Merchant Systems (EMS) Virgin Islands, and hosted out of the St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC), in June. Yet it was the starts that figured strongly in Foley’s win especially in the final two races for the Championship Fleet. A combination of light winds, strong current and last day push-the-limits excitement among the sailors led to many being over the start line early and receive penalty points. As a result, there were several final day place changes on the scoreboard.

“I was in second place by eight points going into the last day,” says Foley, from Coconut Grove, Florida. “My strategy was to sail my best and win the first race, which I did. Then, I was prepared to match race Ryan Satterberg if I needed to in the second race just to be sure and get ahead of him. In the end, Ryan had two black flags (over early designations) and I only had one.”

Satterberg, from Santa Barbara, California, led the IOR/EMS the first two days and ultimately finished seventh overall in the Championship Fleet. Seventy-nine sailors completed ten races in this fleet.

Foley also won the 13- to 15-year-old Red Fleet.

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Meanwhile, it was Foley’s sister, Audrey, who led the 11-and 12-year old Blue Fleet. “My strategy was to do my best, always find a good place on the start line, and stay in front,” says 12-year-old Audrey, who claims she also enjoys sailing against her brother and the competition it offers. Audrey won the Top Girl award.

Top three sailors at 2018 IOR/EMS (from left): Stephan Baker, Peter Foley and Tommy Sitzmann
Top three sailors at 2018 IOR/EMS (from left): Stephan Baker, Peter Foley and Tommy Sitzmann

Tanner Krygsveld, who won the age ten and under White Fleet last year, led the Blue Fleet the first two days, before falling to third after two double-digit scores.

“It was the last day, all or nothing, and we were all really pushing the start line,” says Krygsveld, from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Elliott Lipp, from Charleston, South Carolina, was victorious in the White Fleet, but the win didn’t come without problems. “The waves were the hardest for me,” says the ten-year-old. “I actually got seasick the first day. We sail in the harbor at home in Charleston and this was the first time I’ve raced in the open ocean.”

The Top U.S. Virgin Islands sailor in the IOR/EMS was St. Thomas’ Caroline Sibilly, who placed 11th overall. “The conditions were tricky because the winds were lighter than what we usually have here, but it was a fun regatta. We practiced time and distance at the start at the clinic earlier this week and that really helped me to avoid a black flag,” the 14-year-old said.

In the Green Beginner Fleet, the champion was 10-year-old Alejandro Ferrer, from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The 24 sailors in this fleet completed 22 races.

In other awards, Canada’s Daniel Connors, representing the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in Halifax, earned the Chuck Fuller Sportsmanship Award, while Tony Slowik III, from the Austin Yacht Club in Texas, was presented with the Pete Ives Award, given for a combination of sailing prowess, sportsmanship, determination and good attitude both on and off the water.

“The wind cooperated, and we had fantastic championship and beginner fleets. It was probably one of the best regattas we’ve had,” says St. Thomas’ Bill Canfield, who shared Principal Race Officer duties with Puerto Rico’s Diana Emmanuelli.

Some 110 ten- to 15-year-old sailors representing five nations – the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the USA and Canada – started the week by training in the three-day TOTE Maritime Clinic run by top local and international coaches. 

The one-day TOTE Maritime Team Racing Championships took place, June 14. Out of 13 teams, the winner was Team USA Worlds, comprised Peter Foley (Coral Reef YC, Florida), Thommie Grit (Sarasota YC, Florida), Ryan Satterberg (Santa Barbara YC, California), and Tommy Sitzmann and Stephan Baker (Lauderdale YC, Florida).

The IOR/EMS was organized under authority of the Virgin Islands Sailing Association and is a Caribbean Sailing Association-sanctioned event. 

For full results, visit the STYC web site: www.styc.club 


Report by Carol Bareuther. Photos by Dean Barnes 

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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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