The six-member team of sailors representing the Anguilla Youth Sailing Club (AYSC) won the 13th Premier’s Cup International Youth Regatta, held July 8th -10th, out of Nanny Cay Marina, in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
“Team Anguilla won by four points, but that belies the incredibly close racing that existed between them and Team St. Croix,” says organizer, Tom Gerker. “The last finish out of the 18 races that we ran over the two-day regatta was so close that team members wanted to see photos of the finish to satisfy themselves. This marks the first time in 18 years that the first place team did not start with the prefix ‘St.’ Anguilla left last year having placed second and vowed to win this year’s event. They did and they did it by competing hard, making few mistakes and maintaining outstanding sportsmanship and fellowship.”
The AYSC team, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Anguilla, consisted of Kendall Richardson (captain), Ethan Lloyd (timer/navigator), Starlin Rosario (main trimmer), Romero Gumbs (trimmer), Kadeem Joseph (tactician) and Derick Carty (jib trimmer)
Team Anguilla’s win came on the heels of a lot of hard work and practice.
“Unfortunately we do not have any IC 24s here in Anguilla,” explains AYSC coach, Chris Simon. “Thus, we trained in 420s and used the 420s as a good training tool for tactics. It was very difficult though not being able to train in the same boats. This was the first time that all of the kids had sailed on the same boat since last year’s regatta. It was a great feeling for all of the kids to win such a great event. The team will be back next year to defend.”
Sailors battled through a mix of conditions ranging from sun and 12 to15 knot winds to squalls with 20-knot-plus gusts.
Team Anguilla showed its dominance right from the start with five first place finishes in the morning on the first day. Yet, they lost their groove a bit in the afternoon when scores as low as a fifth place landed them in second and one point behind St. Croix going into the second and final day. Renewed focus and determination proved the winning ticket as the team bounced back and earned the coveted win.
Eight teams participated in this regatta. They are (with accompanying scores): Anguilla (42), St. Croix (46), St. Lucia (66), BVI (68), Puerto Rico (71), Antigua (103), Grenada (115), and the USA (135). This is the first time Grenada has sent a team.
Competition on the sea blended with camaraderie on land. Team members stay in tents set up on Nanny Cay’s grassy beach-side lawn.
“The event is as much about fellowship and getting to know youth from other countries as it is about competing,” Gerker explains. “The tent village promotes that. Although each team has a group of two to three tents with their country flag flying above it, they all get together in the space between the tents to lime, play dominoes and share electronic devices. This year we were lucky enough to have WiMax station right in the village. So everyone could get on line.”
The Rotary Club of Tortola initiated and sponsored KATS (Kids and the Sea) BVI, a seamanship program, more than two decades ago and this led to the advent of this regatta. The Premier’s Cup is named for long-time KATS BVI supporter, The Honorable Ralph T. O’Neal. This year, the Rotary, Rotaract and Interact Clubs of the BVI, as well as Nanny Cay Marina and Digicel were primary regatta organizers and sponsors.
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.