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Mitchell Callahan wins International Optimist Regatta

Published on June 18th, 2017

A near-record 119 sailors from all three U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Antigua and the U.S.A, competed in the 25th International Optimist Regatta (IOR), held June 16-18 in St. Thomas, USVI.

Mitchell Callahan, who posted all top three scores in the 10-race series, took top honors in the 89-boat Red/Blue/Green fleet by seven points over his brother Justin with Stephen Baker in third.

Sailors, who ranged in ages from 7- to 15-years-of age raced either in the Advanced Fleet in one of three age groupings: Red (ages 13 to 15), Blue (ages 11 and 12) or White (ages 10 and under), or in the Green or Beginner Fleet.

“Going into the final day, I knew I could be pretty aggressive because of my lead,” says Callahan, who sails out of the Lauderdale Yacht Club. “So, my goal in the last two races was to start in the middle of the start line and then reach to the left so that I could get the first lift, accelerate and cross in front of the fleet to get clear air. That’s just what happened. I won both races.”

Callahan bested the Red Fleet, while it was Sebastian Spinelli-Sax, from Bayshore, Florida, who sails with the Manatee River Pram Fleet at the Bradenton Yacht Club, that earned first in the Blue Fleet.

“Sailing fast, keeping the boat flat in the water and getting good speed,” is how 12-year-old Spinelli-Sax described his game plan and secret to success. “I also liked having a lot of wind, because I was able to control my boat where others couldn’t and I was able to beat them.”

In the White Fleet, it was St. Thomas’ 10-year-old Tanner Krygsveld who won by an incredible nearly 200 points.

“I wasn’t so much thinking about winning the White Fleet as I was about doing the best as I could in the overall,” says Krygsveld. “My goal was top 15 and I finished 16th, so I’m pretty happy. What really helped was the clinic earlier in the week, where I learned more about how to handle the wind shifts and more about where to start on the starting line.”

Puerto Rico’s 11-year-old Roger Casellas, from Guaynabo, championed the Green Fleet.

“Having a nice start is what really helped me a lot,” says Casellas. “That and trying to keep with the flow of the other boats. The big winds were tough though, but I had a lot of fun.”

St. Thomas Mia Nicolosi was awarded Top Girl.

“There was a lot more competition this year having the USA Worlds Team here,” says Nicolosi, who championed the event in 2016 and finished fourth overall this year. “If they weren’t here, I probably would have won again. But then again, I wouldn’t have learned as much without having them here to sail against.”

In other awards, it was the USA’s Peter Foley, representing the Coral Reef Yacht Club in Florida, who earned who earned the Chuck Fuller Sportsmanship Award, while it was Justin Callahan who was presented with the Pete Ives Award, given for a combination of sailing prowess, sportsmanship, determination and good attitude both on and off the water.

“What a pleasure being the Principal Race Officer for such a fantastic regatta. Soup to nuts top notch conditions on the water and hospitality ashore. I honestly have never seen it done better,” says Bill Canfield.

The IOR/EMS is organized under authority of the Virgin Islands Sailing Association and it is a Caribbean Sailing Association-sanctioned event.

The week started off with the TOTE Maritime Clinic, June 12 to 14. The Clinic was run by some of the world’s top international coaches: Gonzalo Pollitzer (currently coaching the Norwegian Optimist Team), Manny Resano (California Yacht Club, USA), Eric Bardes (Team LIMA (Long Island Mid-Atlantic, USA), Omari Scott (Coral Reef Yacht Club, USA), Santiago Galan (St. Croix Yacht Club, USVI), Esteban Rocha (Sequoia Yacht Club, USA), Agustin Resano (St Thomas Yacht Club USVI), Kristopher Sarmiento (Key Biscayne Yacht Club, USA) and Mykel Alonso (Coral Reef Yacht Club, USA).

The one-day TOTE Maritime Team Racing Championships took place, June 15. The team race was won by Team USA Worlds, made up of Mitchell Callahan, Justin Callahan, Charlie Leigh, Liam O’Keeffe and Stephan Baker.

Event detailsResultsPhotos


1. Mitchell Callahan, USA (14)
2. Justin Callahan, USA (21)
3. Stephan Baker, USA (33)
4. Mia Nicolosi, USVI (40)
5. Rayne Duff, BVI (42)

1. Sebastian Spinelli-Sax, USA (140)
2. Cort Snyder, USA (143)
3. Jackson McAliley, USA (162)
4. Katherine Majette, USVI (193)
5. Jack Redmond, USA (236)

1. Tanner Krygsveld, USVI (166)
2. Samara Walshe, USA (355)
3. Griggs Diemar, USA (410)
4. Charles Gilman Hackel, USA (481)
5. Paolo Perino, PR (503)

1. Roger Casellas, PR (62)
2. Sebastian Medina, PR (69)
3. Jake Julien, USA (70)
4. Gian Marco Piovanetti, PR (106)
5. Owen Grainger, USA (130)

Source: Carol Bareuther

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