Jul 24 » WINNERS' BIOGRAPHIES

The Championship drew to an end a week ago and before a final goodbye we thought it would be interesting to learn a bit about the winners careers as sailors. We asked them to send us a brief biography of their sailing lives, containing information about the age they started sailing, the titles obtained so far and their family background; and here's what they sent. Thank you Hernán, Stephan, Benjamín and Mia. CONGRATULATIONS and good luck in future events!

Stephan Baker - 1st North American; 2nd overall

Stephan Baker is 12 years old, lives in Miami, Florida, and is a 7th grader at Ransom Everglades School. He has been sailing for 3 years at Coral Reef Yacht Club under Coach Omari Scott.

His mother is from Brazil and his father from Germany. They both have sailed and had hopes Stephan would enjoy sailing.

Stephan has been a member of the US National Team for 2 years and represented Team USA in Lake Garda, Italy; at the 2015 IODA North Americans, 2016 IODA South Americans (3rd place overall, 1st place team racing), and 2016 IODA North Americans (2nd place overall, 1st North American, 1st place team racing).

Stephan loves to sail, travel and meet new friends at the amazing destinations that sailing takes him.

Hernán Umpierre - 1st overall

This was the second time Hernan visited Antigua. Last year he came as part of a Uruguayan team of 3 members, together with the Radovitsky brothers, but this year he was the only Uruguayan sailor in our waters. He took up the responsibility of representing his country very seriously and indeed Uruguay can be very proud of him! Here's his short biography:

"Born in a sailors family, Hernán started his sailing career at the age of 7. His international participation in the Optimist Class includes three World Championships, finishing in Gold fleet in all of them. Before becoming the Winner of the Open North American Championship 2016, Hernan had been awarded a trophy for a 13th place in the Worlds 2016 in Portugal, and had been National Champion twice."

Thank you for coming, Hernan, we are very proud we had the pleasure in having you here.

Benjamín Fuenzalida - 3rd overall

"I started sailing when I was 8 years old in Algarrobo, 130 km from Santiago, where I live. My parents have been sailors since they were young, commencing my mother in Laser Class and my father in Windsurf. After that both of them sailed and competed in several classes, my mother obtained the 3rd place in a Snipe World Championship. I have three brothers, all of whom are sailors as well. We are a 100% sailing family! :) All the weekends we travel to Algarrobo to train.

My most important achievements before the 3rd place in Antigua 2016 have been:

2014
  • 3rd place overall and best non North American sailor at the North American Championship in Mexico
  • 5th place at the San Isidro Labrador Championship in Argentina
  • 3rd place at the Buenos Aires Sailing Week in Argentina
  • 1st place team racing championship South American Champoinship in Uruguay
2015
  • 4th place overall and 2nd in the closed event at the South American Championship in Peru
  • 3rd place team racing championship in the South American Championship in Peru
  • 4th place overall at the North American Championship in Antigua
  • 3rd place team racing championship in the North American Championship in Antigua
  • 3rd place overall at the Orange Bowl in USA
2016
  • 1st place team racing championship in the South American Championship in Ecuador
  • 1st place Nations Cup (team racing event) in the North American Championship in Antigua

I've always loved sailing and was encouraged by my parents, who travelled with me to many of the international events I competed in. My best and most close friends are from the sailing community, with them we are a very united group.

This year I retire from and am planning to sail in 420."

Mia Nicolosi - 4th overall and 1st girl

Mia started sailing at age 6 at the St Thomas Yacht Club. Her family moved to the US Virgin Islands in 2008. Prior to that no one in the family sailed. All of Nicolosi's children entered the junior sailing program and 3 of the 4 continue to sail on the international and college level.

Mia's 1st international event was 2013 Opti North Americans in Bermuda (Gold Fleet). Since 2014 she has attended the following international events:

  • 2014 South American Championship - Punte del Este, Uruguay (Gold Fleet)
  • 2014 North American Champhioship - Nayarit, Mexico (Gold Fleet)
  • 2014 Worlds - San Isidro, Argentina - (Silver Fleet)
  • 2015 South American Championship - Paracus, Peru (Gold Fleet)
  • 2015 North American Championship - Antigua (Gold Fleet)
  • 2015 Worlds - Dziwnow, Poland - (Gold Fleet)
  • 2015 Bermuda Junior Gold Cup
  • 2016 Mussanah Race Week, Oman
  • 2016 South American Championship - Salinas, Ecuador (Gold Fleet)
  • 2016 North American Championship - Antigua (Gold Fleet)
  • 2016 Worlds - Vilamoura, Portugal (Silver Fleet)

And the most important titles obtained so far are:

2016
  • North Americans - 4th overall, 2nd North American
  • North Americans - 1st Girl
  • South Americans - 4th overall
  • South Americans - 1st Girl
  • 2016 International Opti Regatta, St Thomas, VI - Winner
2015
  • 2015 Bermuda Junior Gold Cup - 2nd

Mia and Stephan on the podium of the International Optimist Regatta held every year in St Thomas, USVI

Photos © Matías Capizzano: http://www.capizzano.com/optinam-2016/

Event contact email address: amneris.calle@gmail.com, opticlass@yachtclub.ag

ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP

The SEABOARD MARINE Optimist North American Championship 2016 is organised by the Antigua Yacht Club under the authority of the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA). The venue is Nelson's Dockyard in English Harbour and it takes place from July 10th to July 18th. Entries are still open and it is expected to have +160 participants from more than 15 countries. Already entered: Argentina, Antigua, Brazil, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, Peru, USA, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Mexico.

For a programme, click here.

Major Sponsor: SEABOARD MARINE

Other Sponsors: Antigua and Barbuda, Antigua Yacht Club Marina Resort, The Catamaran Hotel, National Parks Antigua, Oasis, Pinehill, Antigua Pro Racing, Club Sushi, Brydens and Yao.

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The organisers of the Optimist North American Championship 2016 together with the Antigua Yacht Club wish to thank the following for their support, donations and contributions without which these championships would not be happening.