ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final North America / Caribbean all set

Colin Rathbun and team during the 2011 BVI Spring Regatta
© Todd Van Sickle
ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final for North America and the Caribbean is all ready to go in Fort Worth, Texas. Teams have come from Canada, the British Virgin Islands and El Salvador to compete.

Registration, weigh-in and practice sessions for this Grade 2 event will take place today in the Fort Worth Boat Club's fleet of J/22s, followed by a welcome reception hosted by Event Director, Finlay R. Higgins and FWBC Commodore Michael H. Lattimore.

Representing the Canadian Yachting Association are Skipper Peter Wickwire with Tim Bishop and Matthew Christie. The team brings a wealth of fleet racing and coaching experience. Tim has coached at an Olympic event and Matt is a past recipient of CYA's Coach of the Year Award. Having match raced only a few years, Peter's team is currently the top Canadian open team, with an ISAF World Match Race Ranking position of #75.

From El Salvador, Skipper Mauricio Gallardo is joined by Jorge Guevara and Humberto Zepeda, each very active J/24 sailors with extensive windsurfing and Hobie 16 experience. Mauricio was Hobie National Champion in 2009, Jorge participated in the 2008 and 2009 Carolos Aguilar Regattas and Humberto sailed the 2009 Aguilar and was bowman in the Mexican Bicentenario Regatta in 2010.

Rounding out the field from the British Virgin Islands are Skipper Colin Rathbun with Christopher Haycraft and Antony Wighting. Colin grew up on a sailboat, but began competitive racing just before college, mostly crewing on larger boats and jumping to the helm when the IC-24 fleet came on the scene. He has participated in one of Dave Perry's match racing clinics and also a clinic hosted by the Chicago Match Race Center and competed in the 2006 Nations Cup qualifier in St. Thomas.

Chris performs middle duties as tactician and sounding board for Colin and is also a lifelong sailor and important part of the IC-24 movement. Ant serves as bowman, has windsurfed and sailed since the age of eight in the UK and Europe before moving to the BVIs.

Bob Gough from Bedford will serve as PRO for the event with Angelo Buscemi as Chief Umpire, leading the prestigious team of Don Becker, Cliff Black, Rick Hatch and David Pelling. Racing begins on Thursday 19 May.

The ISAF Nations Cup is a global competition to find the world's top match racing nations in both open and women's events and to develop match racing infrastructure around the world. The Nations Cup encompasses a series of eight Regional Finals from March to July 2011, from which the top team will qualify for the ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final, which will take place in Sheboygan, USA from 13-18 September 2011.

Nations Cup: Website