The BVI’s Alec Anderson and USVI’s Rian Bareuther braved water temperatures in the 50s, winds blowing 20 to 25 knots, and some of the best junior sailors in the nation to place 6th out of 36 teams in the highly competitive Club 420 Class at the U.S. Youth Sailing Championship, held June 29-July 1 out of the San Francisco Yacht Club and on San Francisco Bay.
The prospects of placing in the top 10 didn’t seem within the duo’s reach early on the first day when they scored finishes of 20 and 21. Then they got their groove and ended the day with a 6th in the third race.
“We didn’t have our technique down at first,” says Anderson, who skippered and who is training to represent the BVI in the 2012 Summer Olympics in the Laser class. “Eight to ten boats would pass us on the reaches.” The second day, the sailors came on the course with steely determination.
“In the first race that day, we were in first upwind, first rounding the mark, and first downwind,” Anderson says. “Then, we messed up a tack and came in 5th.”
Bareuther, who crewed, says, “Everything gets really chaotic in that amount of breeze, especially at the mark roundings. Then again, only your big mistakes show up, not the little ones, when it’s that windy. The heavy breeze made it easier to catch up to our opponents.”
Catch up they did: “In the very last race, we beat the winner,” says Anderson. San Diego sailor, Tyler Sinks, 2007 defending 420 champion, and crew, Briana Provancha, won the 420 Class this year.
This invitational regatta, organized by U.S. Sailing, saw a field of 150 sailors from 16 nations plus the U.S. and British Virgin Islands compete in Club 420s, Lasers, Laser Radials and 29ers. Sailors were selected to compete based on their sailing resumes and performances at regional, national and international competitions.
The USVI’s Max Nickbarg and Mayumi Roller competed in the Laser Radial class, finishing 25th and 38th, respectively.
Anderson, 17, a 12th grader at Cedar School on Tortola, planned to spend the rest of his summer competing in the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships in Arhus, Denmark, July 10-19; the Laser North American Championships, July 24-27 in San Francisco; and attending the Olympic Youth Camp in Beijing China, August 8-24.
Bareuther, a 2008 graduate of the Country Day School on St. Croix, will attend SUNY Maritime College in the fall and major in electrical engineering.