On June 15-17, Peter Foley won the 26th International Optimist Regatta hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club.
On the final day of the regatta, sailors faced a combination of light winds and strong currents, which caused havoc and early starts on the crowded starting line. Many sailors incurred pentalities and several place changes occurred.
“I was in second place by eight points going into today,” said Mr. Foley, of Coconut Grove, Florida. “My strategy was to sail my best and win the first race, which I did. Then, I was prepared to match race Ryan [Satterberg] if I needed to in the second race just to be sure and get ahead of him. In the end, he had two black flags [over early designations] and I only had one.”
Mr. Satterberg, from Santa Barbara, California, led the IOR/EMS the first two days and ultimately finished seventh overall in the Championship Fleet. Seventy-nine sailors completed 10 races in the fleet.
Mr. Foley also won the 13- to 15-year-old Red Fleet.
Meanwhile, it was his sister Audrey who led the 11- and 12-year old Blue Fleet.
“My strategy was to do my best, always find a good place on the start line, and stay in front,” said 12-year-old Audrey, who said she enjoys sailing against her brother and the competition it offers. She also won the Top Girl award.
The only sailor from the Virgin Islands was Sameul Allen competing in the Blue Fleet. He placed 60th overall, with a best place finish of 35th.
Tanner Krygsveld, who won the age 10 and under White Fleet last year, led the Blue Fleet the first two days, before falling to third after two double-digit scores.
“It was the last day, all or nothing, and we were all really pushing the start line,” said Tanner, of St. Thomas.
In the White Fleet, Elliott Lipp, from Charleston, South Carolina, scored a black flag in the last race, but two of those penalties sent class leader, James Pine, from Lakewood, Texas to third. St. Croix’s Ryan Moorhead handled his starts with ease to move up into second in this fleet.
“The waves were the hardest for me,” said 10-year-old Elliott. “I actually got seasick the first day. We sail in the harbor at home in Charleston and this was the first time I’ve raced in the open ocean.”
In the Green Beginner Fleet, the champion was 10-year-old Alejandro Ferrer, of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The 24 sailors in this fleet completed 22 races.
“My friends told me about this regatta and I wanted to come,” said Alejandro, who started sailing a year ago. “I did bad in one race today. I said to myself I must do better next time and that helped.”
In other awards, it was Canada’s Daniel Connors, representing the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in Halifax, who earned the Chuck Fuller Sportsmanship Award, while it was Tony Slowik III, from the Austin Yacht Club in Texas, who was presented with the Pete Ives Award, given for a combination of sailing prowess, sportsmanship, determination and good attitude both on and off the water.
“The wind cooperated, and we had fantastic championship and beginner fleets. It was probably one of the best regattas we’ve had. As always, the St. Thomas Yacht Club and Virgin Islands Sailing Association (VISA) delivered again,” said St. Thomas’ Bill Canfield, who shared Principal Race Officer duties with Puerto Rico’s Diana Emmanuelli.
Some 110 8-to-15-year-old sailors representing five nations including the USVI, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the United States and Canada started the week by training in the three-day TOTE Maritime Clinic held June 11 to 13. The Clinic was run by top local and international coaches.