The opening races of the 15th annual RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup were held in "glamour" conditions out on the Great Sound today. Breeze was 20-22 knots from the ESE all day under mostly sunny skies. Straight out of the gate in it looked to be a South American drag race with Jose Rother from Argentina and Santiago Pacheco from Uruguay leading the pack.. 'Santi' was here last year and has returned having won his National Championships two years in a row. He is back to make good on his 5th place finish of last year as he felt he could do better and was very pleased to have the opportunity to return. Santi said, "I was so happy when I won the Nationals Championship at home and really hoped that Uruguay would receive the invitation so that I could come back to Bermuda, I love it here so much".
Not to be overlooked on the water was 12 year old Richard Schultheis from Malta. Both he and his sister Antonia are here competing and Malta is making their debut appearance in the Junior Gold Cup. Although he is the youngest of the overseas sailors and one of the smallest, he handled the breeze with confidence and his consistent finishes of 5, 3, 5 leave him in 4th after today.
The local sailors got off to a bang as well with three BER sails crossing the finish line in the top 11 in the opening race. Sebastian Kempe, Magnus Ringsted and Christian Ebbin have been training hard with Bermuda's high performance coach and attending numerous overseas regattas. Their hard worked paid off today. Sebastian sits in 6th, Magnus 9th and Christian 13th and they were right in the mix today with some of the world's best. All three sailors are 12 years old and have three years left in the Optimist Class.
Leading the female fleet in 8th overall is Natascha Rast from Switzerland, the 2017 Swiss Female National Champion. Right on her heels is Anna Barth from Germany and Antonia Schultheis from Malta. This year's fleet of 13 females, 7 from Bermuda, is one of the largest female fleets in recent history. Leading the Bermuda female fleet is Nicole Stovell in 15th place overall and 4th female.
Racing continues tomorrow through Sunday with the first annual Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup Team Race Championships to be held in Hamilton Harbour on Saturday.