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Team USA to represent the region in yachting

Team USA (from left) skipper Dustin Durant, Shane Young, Ben Wheatley and Alex Jacobs.

Team USA (from left) skipper Dustin Durant, Shane Young, Ben Wheatley and Alex Jacobs.

Following a convincing victory in qualifiers in Barbados, Team USA, skippered by Dustin Durant, will represent the Caribbean and Americas region in the 2013 Nations Cup J24 yachting† championship in Denmark.

Team USA spoiled the party for Team Canada when it mattered most, registering a convincing 3-0 victory in the final sail-off in Carlisle Bay on Sunday after the Canadians had completely dominated the preliminaries.

Six teams took part in the United Insurance Nations Cup qualifiers which were hosted by the J24 Club of Barbados and sailed over three days as an international regatta in Carlisle Bay.

Teams sailed different yachts so as to ensure that no crew was afforded an advantage.

The Canadians, skippered by Peter Wickwire, entered the final with 15 points, having defeated all rivals in the round-robin preliminaries, but encountered a more tactically-charged American team in an exciting tussle.

Durant and his crew, from Long Beach, California, grabbed the championship as they controlled the pre-start sequence and tactically stifled the Canadians in each of the three races in the finals.

The Canadians finished second overall while Team Puerto Rico, captained by Marco Texidor, were third after defeating Robert Povey’s Barbados team 2-1 in the sail-off for third place. The Barbadians, who made the semi-finals and were defeated by Team Canada, won the first race in an impressive performance against the Puerto Ricans but were unable to subdue their more aggressive rivals and took fourth place.

“It was truly a new level of competition for us Barbadian sailors but it was also a fantastic week learning from our competitors from North America. It will certainly raise the bar for our local guys to achieve new heights.†We look forward to meeting them again in the coming year,” Povey said.

The lone female crew in the regatta, an American team captained by Sandy Hayes, have also qualified for the Nations Cup finals in Middelfart, Denmark, in August as winners of the female division.

President of the J24 Club, Greg Webster, said the International Sailing Federation Grade-2 event was a learning curve for local J24 sailors and thanked all sponsors for helping to make it a success. Along with title-sponsors United Insurance, other support came from RL Seale, EarthWorks Pottery, 10 Saints Beer, the BYC, and RoseBank Apts.

“Our sailors gained some important exposure from this event which will serve them in good stead. It was great to watch the aggressive but precise tactics, when the boats were in close proximity to one another and the team-work that unfolded so as to prevent fouls and penalties.† We learnt a lot from the top international sailors and it was another successful event hosted by Barbados,” said Webster.

The ISAF Nations Cup is staged every two years and apart from the Caribbean other regional finals are scheduled for Russia, Portugal, The Netherlands, Argentina and Africa with more than 1000 races involving sailors from 40 countries. (BB)††

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