Good starts and consistent scores did the trick for fifteen-year-old Axel Sly, from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, who won the 17th annual Scotiabank International Optimist Regatta, held out of the St. Thomas Yacht Club, U.S. Virgin Islands, June 19 to 21. "I just waited until the end to do something," said Sly. That ‘something’ was a come-from-behind win when Sly poured on the boat speed after fellow USA sailor, Christopher Williford, the top place competitor going into the last race started that race too early and lost valuable time on the required restart.
Eighty-two sailors ages 7 to 15 years from 13 nations – Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, the USA, Venezuela and all three USVI -set sail in this Caribbean Sailing Association sanctioned event.
Sly’s finish also earned him a first place finish in the 13- to 15-year-old Red Fleet.
In the 11- to 12-year-old Blue Fleet, it was Arthur Fortune from Guadeloupe who took the top place prize.
"I trained a lot with my coach from France before this regatta," says Fortune. "I’m small and there was a lot of wind, so I was pleased with my finish."
Trinidad’s Abigail Affoo bested the 10- and under White Fleet.
"It was fun," says Affoo, who follows in the footsteps of three older brothers who have competed in this event from the start.
The Scotiabank International Optimist Regatta marked the fourth regatta – and the first outside of Puerto Rico – that Juan Diego Vargas has sailed. And, he won the beginner Green Fleet. "I always tried to get a good start and I tried not to tack too much because that’s how you lose speed," says Vargas.
Vargas won the Chuck Fuller Sportsmanship Award for coming to the aid of a capsized fellow Green Fleeter and helping her right her boat.
The USA’s Wiley Rogers won the Pete Ives Award, given for a combination of sailing prowess, sportsmanship, determination and good attitude both on and off the water.
Madison Gates, from the USA, earned the Top Female award.
Jeff McNeil, director of branch banking for Scotiabank, said, "This is a special event for us, one of the biggest events we sponsor, and we’re enormously proud to do so. But most importantly, we’re proud of the 80-plus sailors who showed such talent out there on the water."
RESULTS (Top 3)
1. Alex Sly, USA (42)
2. Christopher Williford, USA (49)
3. Ian Barrows, St. Thomas, USVI (66)
1. Arthur Fortune, Guadeloupe (45)
2. Owen McNeil, St. Thomas, USVI (184)
3. Romain Screve, USA (205)
1. Abigail Affoo, Trinidad (247)
2. Wiley Rogers, USA (339)
3. Thomas Walden, St. Thomas, USVI (400)
1. Juan Diego Vargas, Puerto Rico (26)
2. Kenley Ryan, USVI (53)
3. Savannah Baus, Puerto Rico (58)
For full results, visit www.styc.net