Blustery winds blowing 10 to 15 knots, and greater, set the scene for the first two days of racing at the Scotiabank Caribbean International Optimist Regatta.
On day three, however, a low pressure system moving through the area created challenging conditions across windward-leeward and triangular courses with winds barely puffing 6 to 8 knots. But when it came down to the last of the ten races, 14-year-old Xavier Torrens from Spain sailed away with the overall win by a valiantly fought one point over defending champ and 12-year-old St. Thomas sailor, Cy Thompson. "He's been sailing since he was 6, he's used to light air and competitions where there are 80 or more boats," explained Francisco Gil, coach for the Spanish National Team, about the secret to Torrens success. The ninth annual event, hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club June 14 to 17, drew a record 81 7- to 15-year-old junior sailors from throughout the Caribbean, U.S. mainland and Europe. Jump the gun starts, bumper car mark roundings and by a nose finishes earmarked the weekend's sailing. Pete Ives, an IYRU International Judge from California, described the challenges of the day three sailing. "The lighter air is always more tricky for the kids to sail in. There's more tactics involved." Ives has officiated over the event since its inception.