Winning the first race of the day, local sailor Azhai Smith continued his way up the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup leaderboard in the third day of racing.
The 12-year-old who hopes one day to be a part of Bermuda’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup team moved up one position overall, finishing the day in 7th place.
Very light and shifty winds put a damper on the day’s sailing, with only three of the scheduled four races taking place in the Great Sound.
Taking honors for the day was Uruguayan Santiago Pacheco, who now stands in 5th place overall.
“It was good weather for me,” said the 13-year-old. “I am very fast with light wind.”
Pacheco, who has been sailing since he was six years old, said he’s thoroughly enjoying his first time in Bermuda. “I like everything here. I went to the beach yesterday, and I will maybe go cliff jumping later today.”
Meanwhile, two generations of sailors were able to share a moment out on the water yesterday, as Italian Ubaldo Bruni watched his father, Gold Cup winner Francesco Bruni, flying along in the background aboard the Artemis AC45.
"My dad was trying to see me while he was sailing, trying to have a look. And when he finished he tried to go with the chase boat to see me. I definitely want to be where he is some day.”
With his family now residing in Bermuda, Bruni said he has come to love sailing on the island.
“I like Bermuda as a place because, on the sailing side, there's a range of winds which is nice, and even the temperatures are nice. I like how simple it is here.”
By W. C. Stevenson
20-knot winds and troublesome waves were on the menu again for the second day of racing in the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup.
But despite the tough conditions, and capsizing twice, Bermudian Azhai Smith solidified his place as the top Bermudian of the regatta with a second strong showing, finishing the day in 8th overall. “It was blowing really hard out there,” said the 12-year-old. “I capsized twice, but luckily it wasn't during the races, just once after a race and once before. It was pretty windy, which I’m okay at handling, but not the best.". With only two years of sailing under his belt, Smith’s performance against some of the top sailors in the world has been heartening. While he was initially hesitant getting into the sport, his talent for racing has Smith pondering a future in professional sailing."It's great to be the top Bermudian in the field. My dad, he really loves boats, so he kind of wanted me to get into sailing. I wasn't quite sure about it at first, but I love it now.”
The young man will be able to compete in Optimists for three more years, but at the rate he’s growing, Smith said transitioning into another boat might come sooner rather than later.“I think I'm going to go into Lasers next and continue on from there,” he said.
The day’s racing belonged to the girls once again, as Mia Nicolosi lead the field for a second day running. The 13-year-old from St. Thomas overcame conditions not suited to her size, ending the day with two first places, a third, and a fourth place finish. "There's always room to do better,” she said. “The heavy winds are really tiring.”
Among those suffering the worst from the chilly, windy conditions was River Andrews, who is sailing in Bermuda for the first time.“I expected it to be really warm here, since it's a tropical island,” said the 14-year-old from Antigua. “I think I do better in heavy wind than in light wind, but I did better in the third and fourth race because it wasn't as heavy and I warmed up a bit. These kids are the best of the best. They're really difficult to beat. So you really have to try here.”
Andrews is in Bermuda along with his filmmaker father, Alexis, whose movie “Vanishing Sail” will be screening at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club tonight. The film follows one of the last remaining master boatbuilders, Alwyn Enoe, in the Lesser Antilles, in his race to build one last sloop and compete in the Antigua Classic Regatta, and hopefully preserve the art of boatbuilding for future generations.
Junior Gold Cup continues tomorrow.