For the first time in the history of the Virgin Islands Sailing scene, eight sailors traveled to Miami to compete with the world’s best. Over 50 countries were represented by 855 sailors in both Olympic and Paralympic classes at the event, now in its 18th year.
The buzz around the boat park was that all eyes were on the “Double CAC Games Gold Medal Team of Anthony Kotoun and Cy Thompson” as this was their first “big” regatta in the Olympic Class 49’er. Class experts expected them to sail well and smart, but not be as fast as they later proved to be. With each race they improved and finished higher than expected.
Michael Compton, sailing in the RS-X board class, met his goal of finishing in the “30’s”. With current and former world champion board sailors from Australia, Israel, France and Portugal, finishing in the top 75% was quite a feat for a part time windsurfer.
Laser Radial sailors Sydney Jones and Mauymi Roller found themselves finishing together within five boats for most of their races. With the lighter air condition on Wednesday’s race they both had finishes in the “teens”. However the two high school juniors found themselves undersized and underweight when Thursday’s cold front came through like a freight train, churning up the seas to 4-6 ft and the wind to a steady 18-20 knots with gusts reported up to 30 knots.
Thomas Barrows led the VI sailors in the Laser fleet with a 1st place finish, However disaster struck in the form of an oncoming boat at full speed that T-boned Barrow’s Laser hull creating a hole the size of a small watermelon. Team mate Ben Beer immediately addressed the Race officials and requested to “switch” hulls with Barrows, allowing Barrows to continue competing without a flawed boat, while Beer raced with the duct tape-repaired hull to finish the next two races in the top ten. Tim Pitts sailed consistently and finished in the top level of the Silver fleet.
About US SAILING
The Rolex Miami OCR is organized by US SAILING, the country’s national governing body of the sport. Headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US SAILING’s mission is to encourage participation and promote excellence in sailing in the U.S. US SAILING offers training and education programs, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including the US Sailing Teams and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Teams. www.ussailing.org.