June 11, 2006 — The last day of the TAG Heuer Nations Cup started with light winds and then changed to light winds and hard rain. After the rain lightened up enough for the organizers to see more than a few yards, a course was set with the windward mark close to the east end of the waterfront bulkhead due to the light northeast wind.
The last of the best of five semifinal matches remained from the day before with Trinidad leading St. Lucia 2-1 and USA leading Canada by the same score.
Justin Castagne and team Trinidad came out of the start ahead on Mike Green of St. Lucia. Castagne held on to the lead in the trying 4 to 8 knot conditions and won the match to advance to the final.
Brian Angel and Team USA dispatched Erik Koppernaes of Canada in the first flight as well.
This set up the following matches: USA versus Trinidad in the Open division final for first and second; Canada versus St. Lucia in the Open division petite final for third and fourth; and Paula Lewin of Bermuda versus Sally Barkow of the USA in the Women's final.
In the petite final, Canada started with a lead on St. Lucia and was never challenged. Due to the slow progress of the racing and an early airplane flight, Mike Green and team St. Lucia retired from racing and got set for their flight, conceding third place to Canada.
Team USA started with a small lead off the line and closely covered Trinidad, with both boats working toward the left side lay line, maybe a little beyond. Trinidad started to get a header puff and sped up and over USA, as the shift left both boats not making the mark. USA was too close to Trinidad to tack; Castagne forced USA past the mark, tacked onto starboard, then port to round the mark.
USA tacked onto starboard, then as the right-of-way boat tried to get the foul on Trinidad, the judges ruled no foul. Trinidad then went around the mark, hoisted its TAG Heuer spinnaker and pulled away. USA rounded the windward mark, then strangely enough, the first match had caught up to the pair, and Canada and St. Lucia also rounded, leaving a whole crowd on Castagne's air. Trinidad increased the lead downwind and sailed a conservative remainder of the race to win the first match.
In the second finals match, Trinidad was not as successful. Team USA started with a lead and held it around the course.
A long delay followed the second flight of matches as the committee tried to follow a shifting and light breeze. The course was finally reset, and it was announced that the finals would be reduced to the best of three rather than best of five, as another long delay would surely take the fifth race past the 3 p.m. deadline.
Team USA got a foul on Trinidad in the prestart, led off the line, and stretched away on the first beat. The course was spotty though, so there could have been a hole for the USA, but no luck for Trinidad: USA continued to increase its lead and won the match and the Open Division finals.
Team Trinidad left the Virgin Islands having impressed everyone, gaining the admiration of all the competitors and committee, and a very high-caliber group of international umpires.
Umpire Henry Menin said that the Trinidad team had a better grasp of the match-racing rules than most of the teams present. From a first day of 2-4 to a second day 4-2 and a trip to the finals was a story book tale – however, not quite with a Hollywood ending.
On the women's side, Sally Barkow of the USA led the first race from the start and just increased all the way around the course. The second race looked like the same, but Barkow let Lewin get some separation and a lift on that side put Lewin ahead, which she tenaciously held the rest of the race, to even the match at 1-1.
After postponement and the resetting of the course, the rubber match started. As time before the start gun wound down, Lewin had Barkow trapped out at the committee boat, with nowhere to go.
In the light air, Barkow just slowed and followed Lewin at the start, but that pretty much sealed the race, until two-thirds up the first beat, the wind shifts had been rolling down the course and Lewin let Barkow break right. Both skippers separated – after the first 25 yards it looked like Barkow was now ahead – but the wind clocked and Lewin's position was solidified. Lewin safely led the rest of the race to win the final.
Bill Canfield thanked his crew of volunteers and especially the Hook, Line and Sinker restaurant and CYOA Yacht Charters. The combination of the docks and decks of CYOA and the rooms and restaurant facilities of the Hook, Line and Sinker made the event possible in the Charlotte Amalie Harbor.
Canfield also thanked Offshore Marine for umpire boats and Budget Marine for all the little marine items required on the boats to ensure equality as much as possible.
Philippe Alluard, president of TAG Heuer Caribbean and Latin America, presented the winners with a TAG Heuer watch to go with their trip to Cork, Ireland for the Grand Final. Winning crews also received TAG Heuer sunglasses and trophy plaques.
Brian Angel of the USA and Paula Lewin of Bermuda will now represent the North American region at the Grand Final.
USA (Brian Angel) first place 2-1 over Trinidad (Justin Castagne)
3rd Canada (Erik Koppernaes) 2-0 over 4th St. Lucia (Mike Green)
Bermuda (Paula Lewin) first place 2-1 over USA (Sally Barkow)
USVI third and Cayman Islands fourth
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.