Sailing: VSA Cruise To A Pair Of Titles In Debut

November 15, 2018

Visionary Sailing Academy [VSA] and St George’s Dinghy and Sports Club [SGDSC] were both highly successful on debut at the recently concluded Bermuda Open and National Optimist Championship, hosted in Mangrove Bay, competing and placing well in their fleets, boding well for their upcoming international participation at the renowned Orange Bowl international Youth Regatta in South Florida next month.

VSA had the highlight of Jade Smith winning the overall title in the Green Fleet, consistently finishing in the top five over the course of the eight races – each competitor could drop one result – recording a first place in the fifth race to go with three second place finishes, a third, fourth and fifth for a net total of 19 points, which bettered overseas competitors Owen Dibbley [21 points] and Matias Drew [22 points].

Smith lay fourth heading in the final day’s set of three races behind both Dibbley and Drew, however he demonstrated great skill in the clutch as he posted three top three placings to usurp his rivals.

“After he took some advice, made the suggested adjustments and executed the plan it really showed in his performance and position,” explained proud coach Rajae Woods of his number one charge.

Woods’ group also registered the high female in the Green Fleet as Brianna Smith came in 12th with 82 points from eight races, including fifth and sixth placed finishes showing as her best performances on this her initial foray into real competition.

“I didn’t know what to expect in terms of them being able to get into racing mode, but once we got in their we were able to adapt and get rolling,” said coach Woods, also in his competitive foray as head of his own sailing school, which is based in Watford Island at West End Sailboat Club. “We were a little slow starting out, but as we got in and Sunday and Monday came we really put the pedal to the floor.

Woods and a team of Five VSA youngsters are set to next fly overseas to experience another first in Florida, where competition promises to be tougher and even more challenging.

“All of our young people enjoyed themselves and are eager for more in anticipation of the Florida regatta, where I think they all can do well, added Woods, who started VSA two years ago. “There are still some silly mistakes we need to work on that cost some of us from moving up and finishing higher.

“We’ll go back to training and work on these and other things and I think we can have a decent Green Fleet regatta in Florida.”

Overall honours in the 62-member fleet went to Christian Ebbin of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club [RBYC] team, as he dominated throughout the 12-race series – with two drop races allowed – claiming six ‘bullet finishes’ for a low net score of 15, which well beat his RBYC team-mate Sebastian Kempe, who had three first place finishes on his way to a score of 32 over the course of the regatta.

Third was Cort Snyder of Team USA, who was consistently high-placed without winning a race and ended up on 40 points.

Among the girls Samora Walshe was untouchable, winning every race among the females which she entered to end best among her gender competitors, while also placing a solid seventh in the 62-boat field.

Following her home was Bermuda’s Amelia Lewis [170 points], who had a high finish of 14th and ended 17th overall while representing RBYC, just as did Nicole Stovell in pacing thirds and 19th overall on 179 points.

All will next be preparing for the Orange Bowl which brings world-class sailing talent to South Florida in a five-day event that has become the largest international youth regatta in the U.S. and South America for sailors ages 8-18.

The event is expected to feature more than 700 sailors from 20 countries, with several past regatta participants having gone on to achieve great notoriety in the sailing world.

The  BODA Nationals & Open Championships results follow below [PDF here]:

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  1. Great sound says:

    So great to see, particularly Jade and Brianna who were introduced to the sport through the Endeavour Program! Congratulations all and keep up the good work.