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Antilles School Places 2nd at Baker Team Racing Tourney

The Antilles School Sailing Team members earned themselves the impressive designation as the second-best High School sailing team in the nation, after competing in the Baker Team Racing Championships, held May 28 and 29 out of the U.S. Sailing Center of Martin County, Florida.

This tremendous accomplishment came as a result of keen teamwork, tactical prowess and superior boat speed by the seven-member team of Virgin Islanders. “I’m really proud of them. They did exceedingly well,” said Antilles coach, Rob Upson.

The Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA) established the Baker Trophy for the National Team Racing Championship title in 1990. Since then, it has been the cream of the crop of public and private school sailing teams who gather each year to vie for this prestigious title.

This year, 12 high school teams from across the nation, each of whom earned their slots through regional qualifiers, competed in a total of 18 sprint-style, 5-leg, digital-end shaped courses.

Antilles began the regatta with a win over last year's 3rd place team Tabor Academy, Massachusetts. Impressive boat speed from the beginning led the team to a 5-0 record in the qualifying round. The first defeat came in the semi-final round, a double round robin of the top 6 teams. A poor on-the-water penalty call, eventually overturned and becoming a win, set the team on edge. This was followed by two losses, one to Point Loma, California, and then Tabor, in a fiercely contested rematch. Antilles got their game back with an impressive win over St. Georges in their first meeting. This win was especially sweet since a defeat to St. Georges in the 2004 championship relegated the team to the silver round. In the second rotation, Antilles again lost to Point Loma and Tabor, but still came out in second place and moved into the Gold Divsion.

In the single rotation, Antilles defeated Tabor (4th) and St. Georges (3rd) to comfortably take second place. However, Point Loma could not be overcome and took the championship.

“The Point Loma team has been competing since they were freshmen,” said Taylor Canfield, skipper, who sails with Nathan Rosenberg as crew. “They have a lot of good boat speed and a good understanding of the set-up of team racing, the plays and when to do each one.”

A better understanding of team racing rules is one way in which skipper Cy Thompson, who sails with Rian Bareuther as crew, said the Antilles team has grown over the last year when they finished 5th at the Baker Championships. “We’ve all become much faster,” Thompson said.

Skipper Thomas Barrows, who sailed with both Sarah Burks and Hugo Roller as crew, added, “We’ve also developed different crews that can switch out for different conditions, like light air and heavy air.”

Light, shifty conditions proved challenging for the first day’s racing. Steady breezes of 10 to 15 knots filled in the second day. Racing took place on the Intercoastal Waterway off Stuart, Florida.

The Antilles School Sailing Team - the ISSA’s first high school team from the Caribbean - was established in 2003 and currently has over a dozen members.

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