Sailors, local sailing enthusiasts, school children and even Gov. John deJongh Jr. came out Saturday to the St. Thomas waterfront to watch the second day of racing in the 6th Annual Carlos Aguilar Match Race.
During the afternoon, a break int he action gave 25 St. Thomas elementary students a chance to take to the water with professional mentors.
The U.S.V.I.’s Peter Holmberg and USA’s Dave Perry finished the day with 16 and 13 wins, respectively, out of 18 races in the double round robin, to move into the semifinals, according to race organizers.
It was a particularly productive day for the USA’s Stephanie Roble and USA’s Don Wilson who, after completion of the double round-robin, will join Holmberg and Perry in Sunday’s semis.
“We left the water yesterday feeling good, although it wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard. Today, we had good pre-starts and good crew communication, everything clicked,” explained Roble, the top-ranked U.S. and fifth-ranked woman match racer in the world. She competes on the Global Women’s Match Racing Circuit.
“The last two years we finished seventh. Our goal this year was to make the semis. Now our goal is to win.”
Roble finished the 18-race double round-robin with 11 wins.
The first time sailing in the U.S. Virgin Islands has proven to be a charm for the USA’s Don Wilson. Defeating Greece’s Stratis Andreadis in the final match of the day by at least three boat lengths landed Wilson his spot in the semis. Wilson is without his team’s regular tactician, Sally Barkow, winner of the 2012 CAMR, who is training for the Volvo Ocean Race. In her place is Jordan Reece, who in 2012 was the training partner for the Australian Olympic Match Racing Team, which won a Silver Medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
“To come down, jump in and sail a new boat, in a new place, with a new crew is challenging,” said Wilson, who is ranked 24th in the world and is the number-one ranked U.S. match racer as well as founder of the Chicago Match Race Center. “In these shifty wind conditions, you have to be on your toes and have your eyes out of the boat. I think we did a good job of that today.”
Wilson ended the double round-robin with nine wins.
The winner of the 2013 CAMR will receive a signature timepiece courtesy of Cardow Jewelers, the oldest jeweler in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
A midday break in match racing saw 25 children from the Gladys Abraham Elementary School compete in the Carlos Aguilar Youth Regatta. The public school is a trend setter in the territory for its work in teaming up with water sports professionals who teach all students to swim by the time they graduate from sixth grade. Saturday the students paired with the international skippers and sailed two fleet races.
“I’ve been in a kayak and a power boat, but never a sail boat,” said fourth-grader, Ka’eo Brown, who crewed for the USVI’s Peter Holmberg and won the first fleet race. “I liked that we won. I liked it all. I’d like to do it again.”
Sixth-grader Me’Kayla Creque took part in her third Carlos Aguilar Youth Regatta. This year she crewed for Finland’s Antti Luhta, and the team won the second fleet race.
“My job was to help put up the sail, but I really wanted to try steering,” Creque said.
Gov. deJongh came out to watch the match racing action in the afternoon.
“This event is very special and it’s named after a man who was special to our community,” deJongh said. “It’s also special in that you can watch the racing from shore. This exposes more of our residents to the sport. I hope more of our people in St. Thomas catch the sailing bug.”
Racing in the CAMR will conclude Sunday with the semifinals and finals.
Match racing pits one identical boat against another on a short course, oftentimes near shore. On-the-water umpires make instant calls and enforce the rules.
Spectators can watch the race under tented bleacher seating, where there will be live narration. Viewers around the world can watch via a live webcast on www.carlosmatchrace.com. Racing starts at 9 a.m. daily.
The Virgin Islands Sailing Association is the organizing authority for the CAMR, named for the late Carlos Aguilar, who was an avid sailor. The CMRC is a major sponsor.
Day Two – Preliminary Results
(Number of Wins after Double Round Robin)
Peter Holmberg, USVI, 16
Dave Perry, USA, 13
Stephanie Roble, USA, 11
Don Wilson, USA, 9
Antti Luhta, FIN, 8
Colin Rathbun, BVI, 8
Dave Dellenbaugh, USA, 8
Chris Poole, USA, 7
Stratis Andreadis, GRE, 5
Jennifer Wilson, USA, 2.5