By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
After a three year absence from the Virgin Islands and six years since it has not resided in the BVI, the Premier’s Cup returned to the territory on Sunday, when Tortola I won the 16th annual Premier’s International Youth Regatta, with a domineering performance.
After Tortola I put up four bullets early on day one, the focus turned to who would pick up the silver and bronze medals in the spirited competition between six teams, where a mere six points separated second through fourth positions.
Led by Jason Putley, Tortola I amassed 15 points from an impressive nine bullets and three second place finishes for only the BVI’s second victory in the event after winning in 2008. The Cayman Islands—who had two first place finishes— turned back 2011 and 2012 winners Anguilla, 33-36 for silver, while defending champs Antigua was two points back with 38 to place fourth.
USA/Sail Caribbean trimmed Tortola II by two points 63-65, for fifth place.
“I came out just to watch the races but being a competitor, being passionate, I wanted to see them win and I ended up doing a little bit of coaching, but it was mostly them,” stated Donte Hodge, who was on the first BVI victorious team in 2008. “I just gave them a couple pointers, a couple things that I saw that he could have done a little better.
Especially today, we were a little slow on the starts. I don’t think he was match racing enough yesterday—even though we won most of the races. I wanted him do a little more match racing.”
Hodge said he told Putley not to be scared to cover people, run them to the left and if you’re leading the pack, lead the pack, don’t go away from the pack. He said if you are in the one or two position it’s basically a match race after that.
“It’s super special for BVI to have won this, especially Jason,” he noted. “Jason and I have been teammates for a long time so to see him—and all the guys on there I kind of grew up with them—to see them grow up and do this it’s pretty special. It feels good.”
The Premier’s International Regatta is run by KATS Executive Director Dickson Igwe, said he thought it went exceptionally well and the camaraderie was supremely encouraging. He said the competition was tight and it’s good to know that the BVI won.
Premier Dr. Orlando Smith said the event continues to be good and is also an important part in the development of young people, especially as it relates to the marine industry.
“I think there are lots of opportunities there for our people and I want to encourage this program because it can only benefit the BVI,” he noted. “I congratulate Team BVI. It’s good to see BVI coming out on top this time. Especially since we are the hosts, we should sometimes win.”