Team Anguilla successfully defended its title to win the 14th Annual Premier’s Cup Youth Regatta, held July 13th and 15th out of the Nanny Cay Resort and Marina on Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
“We finished with 12 first place races, three second places and one third and fourth place finish, respectively,” says Paul Koeniger, coach of the Anguilla National Sailing Team and Anguilla Youth Sailing Club. “Being one of the larger teams physically was a big competitive advantage for us as we faced heavy winds of 16-plus knots on Saturday and 18 to 22-plus knots on Sunday. This ballast allowed for rapid upwind boat speed and top notch boat handling. We also returned five of our best sailors who had been to this regatta several times and were familiar with the local seas, tides and general conditions.”
In spite of these competitive advantages, Seymour Hodge, representing the Rotary Club of Anguilla, which sponsored the team, added, “We do not have IC-24s in Anguilla. The sailors practiced on Club 420s and had a practice on the IC-24 on the Friday before the regatta.”
Anguilla’s gold-medal winning team members were: skipper Kendel Richardson and crew Kadeen Joseph, Ethan Lloyd, Romaro Gumbs, Derick Carty and Omaria Hamilton.
Team Anguilla posted a sweeping victory and finished 39 points ahead of second place finisher, Team BVI-2, with Team Bahamas three points behind in third. Other teams competing in order of finish were from Trinidad & Tobago, Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, USA Sail Caribbean and a second BVI team.
The racing took place in the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Winds blew 14 to 17 knots out of the east-southeast on the first day. It was clear by lunchtime that Team Anguilla had established a wide lead, albeit with Team BVI-2 in a solid position for second place that they lengthened by posting two wins in the afternoon. The second day of racing saw easterly winds gusting to 22 knots, which made for a highly competitive competition. All of the teams handled their boats extremely well in the windy conditions, including Team Cayman Islands, who in the last race quickly recovered a man overboard at the leeward mark. In the end, only nine points separated the teams from second to sixth places after 17 races.
Two other awards were presented. USA Sail Caribbean won the Mackie Sportsmanship Award, named in memory of Maxwell ‘Mackie’ Simmons, from Bequia, who created teams from a small island nation that radiated sportsmanship. Team Trinidad and Tobago won the Team Pride and Sportsmanship Award.
More than sailing, there were plenty of fun activities throughout the weekend. In fact, Anguilla showed its prowess ashore by being the first to get four team members into frozen shirts for the Frozen Shirt Contest. Narrowly beating BVI-2, the Anguillians used real teamwork when the last member literally dove into his frozen shirt while two teammates held it open.
The Premier’s Cup Youth Regatta is the only team sailing event in the Caribbean for sailors between the ages of 10 to 18 years.
Regatta organizer, Chris Ghiorse, concluded, “The Premier’s Cup is all about youth team sailing on IC -24s; and the international goodwill generated by teams living and competing together for a few days. It is also the primary fundraising event of the year for all of the Kids and the Sea (KATS) programs.”
The next Premier’s Cup Youth Regatta will take place July 12th – 14th 2013.
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.