Youth Sailors compete in St Thomas, Bermuda

Bermuda Junior Gold Cup. Photo: Provided

Bermuda Junior Gold Cup. Photo: Provided

The BVI was well represented with eight youth sailors competing in the St. Thomas Columbus Day Regatta on October 10-11. The regatta hosted 13 Optimist Green Fleet racers, 13 Optimist Championship racers, and 5 Club 420 teams.

Saturday conditions were 12-15 knots of breeze with large waves on the Club 420 and Championship course by Cow and Calves rocks. Sunday conditions calmed down when the racing area moved to Pillsbury Sound. The Optimist Green Fleet raced in Cowpet Bay both days.

BVI Green Fleet Optimist sailors included Nicolas Haycraft, Scott Kirk, and Noah George.

Noah George’s best race was an impressive 4th place finish and a respectable 8th place overall. Nicolas Haycraft’s first row starts led to consistent finishes and landed him in the 5th place spot overall.

Ryan Lettsome, Kyle Roose, and Anya and Max Reshetiloff competed for team BVI in the Optimist Championship fleet.

Max Reshetiloff finished 9th overall with a couple of great starts. With his steadfast perseverance in his first ever championship fleet event, Ryan Lettsome took home the 2nd place white fleet trophy.

The top Championship Optimist sailor from team BVI was Kyle Roose. With his regular finishes in the top half of the fleet, along with taking a 2nd place in his best race, Kyle finished 6th overall and took home the 2nd place trophy for Optimist Blue Fleet.
The Club 420 racing was tight all weekend. After missing the first two races Saturday, BVI sailor Sam Morrell and his crew, Hanna Clemens sailed very well the rest of the weekend. Morrell and his crew finished 2nd overall, just a few points behind the 1st place finisher Teddy Nicolosi and his crew, Amanda Engeman from St. Thomas.

Also racing over the weekend was BVI sailor, Rayne Duff who competed in the Bermuda Junior Gold Cup form October 8 – 11. The regatta was an invite-only, usually offered to sailors who have placed well in their categories over the last year.

During the regatta the conditions varied from extremely light to medium winds. On the first day Rayne had good results, first race with a first, keeping him at the top of the fleet. During the next couple of days Rayne’s status stayed at the top of the fleet, and was able to discard his last race (a 23rd). Rayne ended up in 4th place out of 45 competitors which, according to the Royal BVI Yacht Club, is to be considered a great result for a first regatta of this calibre.

Rayne Duff Finishes 4th at RennaisanceRe Junior World Cup in Bermuda

Photo courtesy of VINO

Photo courtesy of VINO


A poor last race saw Virgin Islands’ sailor Rayne Duff slip down to 4th in the final overall rankings at the RennaisanceRe Junior Gold Cup Regatta, which concluded on Sunday October 11, 2015 in Bermuda.

The final race of the regatta, sailed inside the Hamilton Harbour with very light wind and powerboat wakes, turned out the worst result of the regatta for Duff, a 23rd space, causing him to slip one more place to finish in 4th overall; still very impressive indeed considering the level of sailors present and the challenging conditions.

Teammate Mia Nicolosi had a great final race with a final result of 2nd overall, meaning in the last two days the pair of Virgin Islanders had swapped their positions, but left an impressive mark on the rest of the international field- that VI Sailors are not to be underestimated!

After two days and eight races, Virgin Islands’ sailor Rayne Duff had moved up to second overall and the third day in Bermuda brought very light winds for two races, then a more consistent pressure for race three, which led to Rayne falling one place into third overall, just one point behind second.

Although the weather made for challenging races, Duff felt the waters were colder than his home of the [British] Virgin Islands and that the level of competition also impressed him.

“There are a lot of countries represented with a lot of competitive sailors. It feels like I’m at the Worlds Championships – the top of the pack is the same level of talent.”

Twelve races were scheduled from Thursday October 8 through Sunday October 11, 2015, mostly in the Great Sound. The final race was sailed in Hamilton Harbour on the Argo Group Gold Cup course just prior to the finals in front of the large spectator fleet.

RenaissanceRe has sponsored the event for the last twelve years, providing financial support to assist with airfares for the invited international sailors, providing them with charter boats, on-the-water coaching and equipment required for competition. The visiting sailors stay with local sailing families, another important aspect of this unique experience.


VI’s Rayne Duff slips down Gold Fleet Rankings @ Opti Worlds

Rayne Duff IVB 911 loses speed in a close tack to cross the line a few inches behind the lead boat to place second in today's Gold fleet race 6 of the Opti Worlds Championships. Photo: OptiWorld

Rayne Duff IVB 911 loses speed in a close tack to cross the line a few inches behind the lead boat in race 6 of the Gold Fleet on day 5 at the Opti Worlds Championships, Dziwnow, Poland. Photo: OptiWorld

Virgin Islands’ sailor Rayne Duff, sailing in the Gold Championship Fleet at the Opti Worlds in Dziwnow, Poland today Thursday September 3, 2015, slipped to 60th from his overnight 32nd placing after 9 races.

At the close of day 5, Duff was in 32nd with his best effort being a second place finish in race six. He had a total of 60 points to be well off the leaders, but in striking distance of a top ten finish.

Duff was nearly able to cross for first, but tacking close under the lee bow of ITA, without enough speed to hold him off, he crossed the line a few inches behind in second.

However, Duff did not score any points in races 7 or 8 and finished 44th in race 9 to fall to 60th place overall.

In other races, Duff finished 18th, 15th, 8th, 8th and 9th.

Duff  raced against 272 competitors in race 6, all ranking in the top five of their country.

BVI’s youth sailors face fierce competition at St Thomas International Optimist Regatta

By BVI Platinum

Rayne Duff enjoys a light moment at the St. Thomas International Optimist Regatta Photo: Matias Capizzano

Rayne Duff enjoys a light moment at the St. Thomas International Optimist Regatta
Photo: Matias Capizzano

Top youth sailor, Rayne Duff fought hard, but settled for fourth at St. Thomas International Optimist Regatta and Clinic which was held at St. Thomas Yacht Club from June 15-21.

The first day of races started off at an area set just past Cow and Calf rocks outside of Cowpet Bay with medium to light winds, but very choppy waves which sailors found very difficult to deal with at times.

The team responded very well after the first two races and the kids were quickly able to adapt to the conditions, which showed with wins in the third and fourth race from Rayne Duff.

Day two of the racing was very similar conditions, but after a strong showing from Duff he went in for the day with an overall position of 1st with one day to go.

On the third and final day of fleet racing, the wind picked up dramatically with many of the sailors struggling to cope with the conditions and keep their boats flat.

Duff won the first race of the day, but fierce competitor Teddy Nicolosi of USVI knew he had to cover Rayne and force him into getting some bad results in order to stand a chance of winning.

Nicolosi successfully covered Duff tack for tack in spite of both finishing deep in the pack at 45th and 49th, respectively, in the 62-boat advanced optimist fleet.

Nicolosi’s game plan was to use this poor score as his one throw-out. Unfortunately, Duff had finished 17th in an earlier race and had to keep that double-digit score since his 49th place now turned into his one worst score throw-out.

That put Duff a nearly 20 points behind Nicolosi going into the last race of the regatta.

Nicolosi finished the regatta in 1st place overall with Duff finishing in fourth. For the BVI, Nathan Haycraft finished 19th overall after a strong collection of results on the final day.

James Rajic-Knight finished 48th, Maxwell Reshetiloff finished in 58th with Kyle Roose close behind in 61st. Most of the competitors said it had been one of the most competitive regattas they had ever sailed in.

The regatta also featured team racing. The BVI team won 2 out of their 5 races, which unfortunately wasn’t enough to qualify for the semi finals. 10 kids from the BVI took part in the event with 5 in opti championship fleet and five in opti fleet.

BVI’s Team: Rayne Duff, Nathan Haycraft, James Rajic-Knight, Maxwell Reshetiloff and Kyle Roose, Anya Reshetiloff, Ryan Lettsome, Nicolas Haycraft, Connor MacCallum and Scott Kirk.

The Royal BVI Yacht Club thanked Moorings, Nanny Cay, NAGICO Insurance as well as St. Thomas Yacht Club for running such a successful event.

Duff, other youth sailors impress at Cruzan Regatta

By BVI Platinum

Rayne Duff was the overall winner in the Optimist championship fleet at  the Cruzan Open Regatta, St Croix. Photo: Provided

Rayne Duff was the overall winner in the Optimist championship fleet at the Cruzan Open Regatta, St Croix. Photo: Provided

Rayne Duff was the overall winner in the Optimist championship fleet finishing 21 points clear of 2nd place and also winning Blue Fleet as Virgin Islands youth sailors tackled the Cruzan Open Regatta in St Croix last weekend.

Nathan Haycraft won White Fleet and finished 6th overall, while James Rajic-Knight finished 11th and Maxwell Reshetiloff finished close behind in 12th.

The Optimist Green Fleet was won by Ryan Lettsome who finished comfortably 23 points ahead of second place. Anya Reshetiloff finished in 4th place with Nicolas Haycraft in 9th out of 20 boats.

Thad Lettsome finished 2nd in the Laser class and even though he was sailing with a radial sail, he only finished 2 points behind 1st place who was using a Standard Full Rig which is much larger than the Radial.

The first day of the event started off with the race area set just inside the reef in Teague Bay with light, but very shifty winds.

The team responded very well and was able to quickly adapt to the conditions which showed with wins in the first race from Duff, Thad Lettsome and Ryan Lettsome.

The Friday before the event, a Moorings Catamaran, which was generously donated to the sailing team for the weekend by Moorings, was loaded up with 7 Optimists and 1 Laser sail boat before making its 6 hour journey across to St. Croix.

Conditions were perfect for the journey with flat seas and great weather making it a comfortable trip across.

British Virgin Islands Duff WIns 22nd International Optimist Regatta

Rayne Duff in St Thomas

Rayne Duff in St Thomas

Shifting strategies to match wind speed and direction, staying out in front of the fleet and remaining calm provided successful strategies for 11-year-old Rayne Duff. Duff won the 22nd International Optimist Regatta (IOR) hosted out of the St. Thomas Yacht Club, St. Thomas, USVI, from June 20 to 22. At the conclusion of Sunday’s final two races, the Tortola, British Virgin Islands based sailor continued to lengthen his lead and comfortably finished with 33 points separating him from his closest competition. That’s quite a feat considering the keen level of competition in the 59-boat Advanced Optimist fleet and wind conditions blowing a brisk 10 to 15 knots, plus higher in gusts.

“I still need to work on my starts,” says Duff, who along with his other team members will be representing the BVI in the Optimist North American Championships, in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico, July 9 to 16. “But being consistent, in the top three in every race, is really what helped.”

Duff not only won the overall championship, but also the 11- and 12-year-old Blue Fleet. The BVI had a total of 7 sailors in the competition.

BVI Coach Rob Lind said “the BVI team sailed really well and we were very proud of all of them, especially of course Rayne Duff”. 

Nathan Haycraft came second in the 10 and under White Fleet – 35th overall. Thad Lettsome in 11 and 12 year old Blue Fleet was the 2nd best BVI Boat and 19th overall. Sam Childs finished 25th overall, James Dawson 36th overall and Amelie Clark 39th. Anya Reshetiloff competed in Green Fleet.

In the 13- to 15-year-old Red Fleet, it was 13-year-old Teddy Nicolosi, from St. Thomas, USVI, who finished first in spite of poor scores at the beginning of the regatta.

“The first day I was too nervous, I couldn’t think straight,” says Nicolosi, a member of the USVI National Team that will also compete in the Optimist North Americans in Mexico. “The second day I relaxed and told myself I didn’t care about the results, that it was just practice. Then I started sailing better.”

The USA’s Stephan Baker won the age 10 and Under White Fleet. “I played the left side of the course. That’s what my coach recommended and he has a lot of experience here. It really paid off,” says Baker. Baker is coached in Miami, Florida, by Antigua native and former BVI coach, Omari Scott.

The trophy for Top Girl was awarded to 11-year-old Isabella Casaretto from the USA. Casaretto also finished an impressive 7th overall.

“I sailed here last year and didn’t do well,” says Casaretto. “This year, I got clean starts, clear air and kept up with the top of the fleet. I like it that there’s a lot of wind here.”

Twenty-two junior sailors competed in the Green or Beginner Fleet, which bodes well for the future of the sport. In the end, it was 9-year-old Caroline Sibilly from St. Thomas, USVI, who emerged victorious.

“My strategy was to get away from the others and into clear air so I could go fast,” says Sibilly.

“I was very impressed with the level of skill here especially in the top sailors,” says David Campbell James of Southampton, UK, who served as the IOR’s Principal Race Officer.

A total of 81 sailors competed in the Advanced Red, Blue and White Fleets and beginner Green Fleet. The Advanced Fleets completed 10 races and the Green Fleet a total of 18races over the three days of competition. Sailors hailed from 10 nations – Antigua, Argentina, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Germany, Puerto Rico, Spain, the Netherlands, U.S.A, and all three USVI.

The IOR 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 Sea Star Clinic, run by local coaches and coaches from, and included the one-day Sea Star Team Race. The BVI team sailors were Rayne Duff, James Dawson, Thank Lettsome and Nathan Haycraft. They won 3 of their 5 heats qualifying for the semi-finals; they ended up with 4th place.

The team race was won by STYC 1, made up of Teddy Nicolosi, Christopher Sharpless, Mateo DiBlasi and Robert Hunter.

The BVI would like to thank their Sponsors Moorings, Nanny Cay and Nagico Insurances without whom the weekend would not have been possible.


Team BVI Wins Caribbean Dinghy Championships 2013

BVI Sailing Team at Caribbean Dinghy Championships 2013, Antigua: (l-r) Josh Morrell, coach Omari Scott, James Dawson, Matthew Oliver, Rayne Duff, Thad Lettsome.

BVI Sailing Team at Caribbean Dinghy Championships 2013, Antigua: (l-r) Josh Morrell, coach Omari Scott, James Dawson, Matthew Oliver, Rayne Duff, Thad Lettsome.

Consistent sailing saw BVI sailors win the 2013 Caribbean Dinghy Championships held this weekend.  The two day event was raced in Lasers, Zoom, Optimist and Pico dinghies in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua.  The event, run under the auspices of the Caribbean Sailing Association, was hosted by the Antigua Yacht Club in conjunction with Antigua’s National Sailing Academy.  The Royal BVI Yacht Club and the BVI National Sailing Federation sponsored the BVI team.
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