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24 January 2005, 10:01 am
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US Virigin Islands News

St. Thomas' Antilles School sailing team is promoting itself somewhat differently than other sailing teams; they have printed and are sell a team 2005 calendar. The 12-month calendar contains more than a dozen full-color, high- quality images of the team during practices and competitions in the Virgin Islands.

In addition, there's a sturdy plastic protective cover, spiral binding for easy opening, punch hole in the top to allow for simple hanging, a listing of major dates for high school and Caribbean regattas, and a back page profile about the Team.

The Antilles School Sailing Team - the Interscholastic Sailing Association's (ISSA) first high school team from the Caribbean - was established in 2003 through the efforts of many. Parents supported the St. Thomas Yacht Club's purchase of four 420's, the class of boat used in high school racing. Rob UPSON arrived at Antilles School to teach chemistry and physics after two years prior as a graduate student coach for the Portland State University sailing team. And finally, there was the right climate within the ISSA that allowed the development of the Caribbean region and regional regattas with other Virgin Islands teams.

The Team started off its first season with a second place at the Great Oaks National Championship for new schools held in the fall of 2003 in New Orleans, Louisiana. In the spring of 2004, team members then won the Caribbean Region fleet racing regatta in St. Thomas and the South Atlantic District Team Racing Regatta, held at the St. Petersburg Sailing Center, in Florida. Most spectacularly, the Antilles School Sailing Team capped its inaugural year by placing an impressive fifth in the nation at the Baker Cup National Team Racing Regatta, held at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

While the Antilles School Sailing Team seemingly appeared out of the blue to challenge long time high-ranking high school teams from throughout the nation, the U.S. Virgin Islands' sailors have been competing and winning regional, national and international regattas since their Optimist sailing days. Coach Upson says: 'With no graduating seniors, look for even more success in 2005.'

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