Matthew Oliver [right] and Sam Morrell at the Club NŠutico de San Juan 12th International Regatta in Puerto Rico.
The BVI's youth sailors, Sam Morrell won first overall in the optimist championship races and also first in his age category in the red fleet division, while Matthew Oliver similarly won first overall in the laser 4.7 division at the Club Náutico de San Juan's 12th International regatta in Puerto Rico last weekend.
The youth sailors took out over 100 boats in the San Antonio Channel including Optimists, Sunfish, J24s, IC24s, Lasers and Spinnakers.
Additional podium finishes were made by Mollee Donovan with a third place finish in laser 4.7 and Thad Lettsome with a third place finish in the blue division for ages 11 and 12.
BVI was also represented by Sam Childs, who scored a ninth place of 18 boats in the optimist blue division and Amelie Clark, who scored fifth place of nine boats in the optimist white division in her first international regatta.
Weather conditions were perfect for a regatta like this with a large number of sailors; the winds neither too light nor too heavy and with clear sunny days. Over the three-day event [February 1-3], organisers managed to get in 11 races in both the optimist championship and laser classes.
The young sailors all sailed with vigour down to the very end. In many cases, the final day of racing proved to be the determining factor in whether those in the lead in the prior days would be dethroned, because from one race to another, not many points separated one sailor's overall results from the sailor just ahead or behind of him.
The Royal BVI Yacht Club instructor and coach for the event, Omari Scott said that he was very proud of the BVI performance on a whole.
He stated that their respective performances were consistent and they represented the BVI well, both in terms of performances on the water as well as socially in interacting with their peers.
Scott noted that there were some equally strong performances from other countries and this underscored the need to train hard. He spoke to the kids about doing their best at all times and about making the competition fun, rather than fierce.
The Puerto Rico regatta is growing in size and level of competition each year. This year, BVI, USVI, Antigua and St. Maarten were all represented at the fun event.