St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Strong starts, staying focused and sailing fast proved the secret to success for Team CRYC Spectra, who won the TOTE Team Racing Championships on Thursday. The Championships are one of a trio of events sailed this week out of the St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) and were prefaced by the three-day TOTE Clinic and followed by the 28th International Optimist Regatta (IOR), Friday through Sunday.

Sixteen teams of five sailors each participated in the TOTE Team Racing Championships. In exciting racing, the champion title came down to a competition between Team Puerto Rico and CRYC Spectra. In the end, Team CRYC Spectra, all 14-years-old, proved triumphant at staying the course especially in windy squalls by scoring a 1st, 2nd, 3rd in the final race. Team members are Alfonso Lanseros (Miami, FL), Sophie De Leon Urban (Miami, FL), Will Barnhart (Miami, FL), Sebastian Johan van de Kreeke (Miami, FL) and Tanner Krygsveld (St. Thomas, USVI).

“Good communication and staying level-headed rather than stressed,” were strategies that helped Team CRYC Spectra win the TOTE Team Race, according to Krygsveld.

“I was at the boat end at the start, saw who was over at the start and the starboard advantage,” adds van de Kreeke, regarding his contribution to the Team’s success.

Team CRYC Spectra coaches from the Coral Reef Yacht Club in Florida are Omari Scott and Chris Craven.

Eight- to 15-year-old sailors representing 6 nations – Antigua, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S.A, and all three U.S. Virgin Islands – started the week by training in the three-day TOTE Clinic held June 14 to 16. Top local and international coaches ran the Clinic.

“Learning how to sail in unstable winds is what I learned most in the Clinic,” says De Leon Urban.

For Barnhart, the Clinic was an opportunity to get used to the conditions in St. Thomas. “I’ve never raced here before, but my friends have and that made me want to come.”

The TOTE Clinic concluded Wednesday with a Volvo Ocean-style race, where sailors completed four legs around the east end of St. Thomas.

“It was very cool,” says Lanseros of the race. “It was around the islands and what I learned is that the closer to the land I got, the more the wind died down.”

The 28th IOR gets underway Friday, with the first start at 11 a.m. off the southeast coast of St. Thomas. The race committee plans to run 10-plus races over the next three days, depending on the weather.

The junior sailors are represented by both Championship and Beginner Green fleets. The Championship fleet is divided into age groups: White (age 10 and under), Blue (ages 11 and 12), and Red (ages 13 to 15). The Beginner Green fleet is composed of sailors aged 14 and under who are relatively new to sailing.

“This is the most Green fleet sailors we have brought to this event and all of them, including their parents, are here for the first time,” says Pedro Luis Fernandez, who is coaching 11 sailors from Puerto Rico’s Club Nautico de San Juan program. “This event has really opened their eyes to all the possibilities: new people, new conditions, bigger fleets.”

Puerto Rico’s 12-year-old Juan Gonzalez is one of the Beginner Green fleet sailors participating for the first time.

“I learned in the Clinic to never give up, to always be aware of the shifting winds and use them to my advantage,” he says.

The IOR is hosted by the Virgin Islands Sailing Association (VISA) and sanctioned by the Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA).

An Awards Ceremony will take place on June 20.

Trophies will be awarded to the top five sailors in each fleet and top three overall. Additional trophies include the Peter Ives’ Perpetual Trophy, the Chuck Fuller Sportsmanship Award and the top female sailor. The Sea Star Perpetual Trophy will be inscribed with the names of the sailors on the winning team racing team. A new Perpetual Trophy, introduced in 2017, is inscribed with the overall winners from the past 27 years.

This year’s event will follow an eco-friendly theme. Sailors will be encouraged to recycle all plastic water bottles, use the reusable water bottle in the goodie bag throughout the regatta, keep all lunch bags and wrapping out of the water, pick up any trash on shore and accept drinks without straws.

The IOR is sponsored by the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, TOTE Maritime, and MSI.

For more information, call (340) 513-2234, Email:, or visit

Results will be posted at:

Please also visit the International Optimist Regatta on Social Media!, @internationaloptiregatta

Media contact:
Carol Bareuther
Tel: (340) 998-3650
Skype: Carol.Bareuther

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