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Team JK Sailing Manny USA wins 2023 TOTE Team Race at St. Thomas Yacht Club

by Carol Bareuther 15 Jun 19:02 PDT June 12-18, 2023
L to R: Amelia Woodworth, John Hartney, Joshua Wenokur, Ethan Wenokur, Coach Manny Resano © Matias Capizzano

Good starts, great speed, and quick refocusing when coming from behind proved the successful strategy for Team JK Sailing Manny, from California, USA, which won the TOTE Team Racing Championship on Thursday.

The Championship is 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 30th International Optimist Regatta (IOR), Friday through Sunday.

Over a dozen teams of four sailors each participated in the TOTE Team Racing Championship. In exciting racing, the title came down to a best-of-three contest between two teams, Team JK Sailing Manny, with sailors Amelia Woodworth, John Hartney, Joshua Wenokur, and Ethan Wenokur, and Team USVI, with Audrey Zimmerman, Howard Zimmerman, Coby Fagan, and Emma Walters. Team JK Sailing Manny won the first race. The wind built and Team USVI won the second race. Going into the third race, the score stood 1-1 between the two teams.

"Right before the start of the final third race, the wind died down a bit and I knew we had a slight advantage," says Coach Manny Resano. "The USVI coach was anchored right next to me, and I told him: the fish is sold, this trophy is ours!"

Working well together as a team was one key to Team JK Sailing Manny's win, says Woodworth. "Our focus as a team was getting clean starts and sailing fast. I think that we had good communication, which really helped us overall. We were able to quickly pivot when things didn't go our way."

Ethan Wenokur adds, "We had a relatively simple strategy in the nine races. That was getting a clean start to the race and good boat speed helped us lead at the first mark. Then we analyzed our position and decided what the next move should be."

Eighty-five 8- to 15-year-old sailors representing the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S.A, France, Italy, and Argentina started the week by training in the three-day TOTE Clinic held June 12 to 14. Top local and international coaches ran the Clinic.

The clinic ended with a Volvo Ocean-style race, where sailors completed four legs around the east end of St. Thomas. The Hartney, from Team JK Sailing Manny, won the Volvo in the Championship fleet.

"Learning about different techniques in the waves and understanding the local geography helped me a lot," says Hartney, speaking about how he applied learnings from the TOTE Clinic to his win.

The Volvo Ocean Race winner in the beginner Green Fleet was the USA's Francisco Don from the Coral Reef Yacht Club in Miami, Florida.

"Watching the wind shifts and trying not to tack too much," says Dom, were strategies that kept him in the lead.

The 30th IOR gets under way on Friday. The 85 junior sailors are represented by both Championship and Beginner 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 race committee plans to run 10-plus races over the next three days, depending on the weather.

The Awards Ceremony takes place on Sunday at 3 p.m. at STYC. Trophies will be awarded to the top five sailors in each fleet: Red (ages 13-15), Blue (ages 11-12), White (ages 10 and under), Green (beginners), and the top three sailors overall by score. A Perpetual Trophy, introduced in 2017, is inscribed with the overall winner's names from the past 29 years. Additional trophies include the Peter Ives' Perpetual Trophy, Chuck Fuller Sportsmanship Award, and the perpetual Founders Trophy, awarded to the Top Female Sailor.

Strong sponsor support

Winners in the Red (ages 13-15), Blue (ages 11-12), and White (age 10 and under) fleets will receive signature Virgin Islands'-styled Lite Up Watches from Cardow Jewelers, each in coordinated Red, Blue, and White colors. Perfect for junior sailors, the kid-favorite timepieces are water-resistant and feature a silicon band, flashlight, light-up feature, and an outline of all three U.S. Virgin Islands on the face.

The IOR is sponsored by TOTE Maritime, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, Simmons Boatworks, Cardow Jewelers, K3 Waterproof Gear, MSI Building Supplies, and the St. Thomas Restaurant Group.

The IOR is sanctioned by the Caribbean Sailing Association.

This year's event will follow an eco-friendly theme. Sailors will be encouraged to recycle all plastic water bottles, keep all lunch bag wrappings out of the water, pick up any trash on shore, and accept drinks without straws.

For more information, call (408) 314-7119, or Email: Or, for the Notice of Regatta (NOR), Results, and other information, visit the St. Thomas Yacht Club website or Regatta Network.

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