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28 November 2006, 10:14 am
Great Regatta In Virgin Islands
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Virgin Islands Laser Championship 2006
St Croix, US Virgin Islands

Shifty winds varying form 5-15 knots out of the east southeast set the tone for the third annual VI Laser Championships. Seas levelled down to 1-2 feet and the lighter winds created the platform for an intelligent race.
Chris SCHRIEBER (ISV) stated, 'These conditions are absolutely ideal for me, with the lighter winds, I can out manoeuvre the younger group with tactics.'

SCHRIEBER placed first in the highly competitive Radial Class. Beecher HIGBY (ISV), the overall winner of the regatta stated, 'The sailing conditions were ideal for me, the lighter winds really worked to my advantage…and to the advantage of my knees and my back.'

HIGBY is the highly respected 'father of Laser sailing in the Virgin Islands', and was able to prove himself once again to all of the youngsters out there in the Laser fleet. Second place was a consistent battle between St Croix's Josh CURTIS (ISV) and Tortola's James WOODS (IVB). Missed this year from the 'VI Champs' were St Thomas's Cy THOMPSON (ISV) and Thomas BARROWS (ISV) currently sailing stateside on the college circuit, and St Croix's Tim PITTS (ISV)… the regatta organizers look forward to them sailing in next year's event.

Tight Radial Fleet

The most competitive 'place swapping' was going on in the Radial fleet, with only 6 points between first and third place. During the first eight races Peter STANTON (ISV), fourth at Sunfish Worlds 2006, had the lead with Sydney JONES (ISV), 19th at the Laser Radial Youth Worlds 2006, tied for second place with SCHREIBER. With the fluctuating winds during Sunday's racing SCHREIBER was able to sail off with first place by 1 point over STANTON for a surprising first in Radials.

While 'Coach Pete' and his 'student' JONES settled for second and third with 5 points between them. JONES was awarded top female sailor finishing thid overall in the Radial Class. Felice QUIGLEY (ISV), mother of fellow Radial sailor, Morgan BRYAN (ISV), won the annual sportsmanship award.

The 4.7 fleet was a new addition to the regatta last year. The fleet consisted of two sailors that are new to Laser racing. In fact both sailors stated that this was their first time sailing in a Laser regatta… but it sure did not look that way to the spectators. For many of the races both sailors maintained speed and sailed with the rest of the fleet.

Overall the regatta was a great success, drawing sailors form throughout the Virgin Islands for a fun, entertaining and rewarding regatta. Preceding the regatta was a Laser racing clinic coached by Ryan E MINTH, a former national champion, and Olympic Class contender. MINTH shared his mastering of the Radial rig with the sailors, along with great boat handling skill sets for the greener laser sailors. The Jones Maritime facility posed a perfect venue to host the event, complete with VI's own version of Dr Laser, Rob JONES on hand to repair all of the day's breakage and the accessories available through the performance sailing shop made it very convenient for the sailors that were in need of gear! The sailors all look forward to next year as this event can do nothing but continue to grow!!!

VI Laser Association (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Heading upwind:© Rob Jones
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