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V.I. Sailors challenge big waves, cold temperatures

Team Virgin Islands (ISV) sailing team arrived in Santiago, Chile, to compete with sailors from all across the Americas for the 2023 Pan American Games, but Mother Nature is proving to be their toughest opponent.

“Tricky conditions. The breeze didn’t fully fill in as much as we thought it would,” Taylor Hasson said. “But there’s big chop with the north winds, so it was definitely tricky with pretty choppy waves. But it was a good day all in all.” Hasson is the skipper for the Team ISV Men’s Skiff (49er) craft, along with crew member Steven Hardee.

Hardee agrees that the conditions are a little different from the waters of the Virgin Islands, but he’s making the best of the experience. “It’s really cold here because we’re pretty close to Antarctica and being from the Virgin Islands. It’s really cold!” Temperatures on Saturday remained in the low 50s during competition at the Cofradía Náutica del Pacífico, which is a two-hour drive south of Santiago. “It was less nerve-racking than I thought it was going to be, it was just kind of like a normal day of sailing, but it was really enjoyable,” Hardee concluded.

Also sailing, but in the Ilca 7 competition for Team ISV is Mathieu Dale, and he is enjoying representing the Virgin Islands. “It’s very exciting to represent my home country and be able to do the best I can for my family, especially everyone back home that’s watching,” Mathieu Dale said. “Hopefully, that can be an inspiration for a lot of the young sailors coming up through the program to see what you can do for your country.”

Dale was supposed to compete on Sunday, October 29, 2023, but all racing was postponed due to unfavorable weather conditions. All three V.I. sailors are scheduled to compete again on Monday, where it is forecast to be cloudy and the temperature is expected to rise to the mid-60s during the day.