She started sailing at age 6 at the St. Thomas Yacht Club and represented the U.S. Virgin Islands in several local, national and international Optimist and 420 events. In fact, St. Thomas Nikole ‘Nikki’ Barnes and St. John’s Agustina Barbuto earned a bronze medal at the 2011 ISAF Youth Worlds in Zadar, Croatia, in the 420. Fast forward, U.S. Coast Guard LTJG Barnes and crew Lara Dallman-Weiss qualified for Team USA to represent the U.S. in the Women’s 470 at the Olympics this summer in Japan. Barnes and Dallman-Weiss teamed up in 2018, a year after Barnes graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy where she was named Quantum Sailor of the Year in 2016 by leading the Lady Bears to a National Championship. She then received a special support billet from the U.S. Coast Guard to train for the Olympics. The duo’s successful qualification over two other U.S. women’s teams at the 2021 470 World Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal, March 5-13, makes Barnes the first active-duty U.S. Coast Guard officer, male or female, to compete in the Olympics, in any sport. Dallman-Weiss is a three-time skipper and crew of the year at Eckerd College, U.S. Sailing Development Team member in the 470 class in 2013, and North American champion in the Farr 40 class. Barnes and Dallman-Weiss are coached by Robby Bisi, who a decade ago also coached Barnes and Barbuto.
“Growing up in St. Thomas, I first got into the sport of sailing and since we always have incredible wind and waves, I learned to love it. This Olympic qualification is a steppingstone. We are so proud of how we’ve done and we’re so hungry for more. After a break, we’ll get back on the water and finish what we originally started out to achieve – Gold in Tokyo,” says Barnes.
The sailing portion of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games will take place in Enoshima, July 25 to August 4, 2021. Specifically, the Women’s 470 Class will sail July 28, 29, 30, August 1, 2, with the Medal Race on August 4. https://tokyo2020.org/en/sports/sailing/
To support LTJG Barnes and Dallman-Weiss, donate to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association’s (USCGAAA’s) Elite Athletic Excellence Fund (www.cgaalumni.org/eliteathlete). To follow the team’s road to Tokyo, visit: http://perfectvisionsailing.com/