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HomeNewsLocal newsTeam Virgin Islands Sailors Set Sail at the 2023 Pan American Games

Team Virgin Islands Sailors Set Sail at the 2023 Pan American Games

Boats and sailors take to the water to compete for the Gold medal. (Submitted photo)

Dozens of boats and sailors from North, South, and Central America and the Caribbean have set sail in the 2023 Pan American Games at the Cofradia Nautica del Pacifico, a two-hour drive south of Santiago, Chile. Team Virgin Islands includes three sailors, Mathieu Dale and the Men’s Skiff 49er team, Taylor Hasson and Steven Hardee.

“It’s very exciting to represent my home country and be able to do the best I can for my family especially, and everyone back home that’s watching,” said Virgin Islands’ sailor Mathieu Dale, competing in the Men’s Dinghy ILCA 7 class.

“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,” said Dale.

Mathieu Dale (Submitted photo)

The sailing competition began on Oct. 28 and will continue through Nov. 5. Challenging conditions on the water on day one included big choppy waves, overcast, and cold temperatures hovering around 50 degrees.

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

Taylor Hasson (Submitted photo)

“It was pretty tough conditions but it was really enjoyable actually just to get on the water and get the nerves out. It was less nerve-racking than I thought it was going to be. It was just kind of like a normal day sailing, but it was really enjoyable,” said Steven Hardee, Team ISV crew member for the Men’s Skiff 49er team.

Steven Hardee (Submitted photo)

Day two of the sailing competition on Oct. 29 was postponed due to unfavorable weather conditions. Competition picked up again on day three, with Dale ranking 19th overall in the Dinghy-ILCA 7 class and Hardee and Hasson ranking 8th in the Men’s Skiff (49er).

Team Virgin Islands sails a Dinghy-ILCA 7 at the Pan American Games. (Submitted photo)

Hasson says strategy this week includes “Chipping away at the fleet and getting further up there. Just one day at a time.” He and his Team ISV teammates say they’re appreciative of the enormous support from friends, family, and support from the Virgin Islands.

“It means a lot. Every time I get a text, it makes my day. Helps me push forward. There are a lot of hard days training. Seeing everyone support me, especially my family, has been really awesome,” said Hardee.

“The support from back home is awesome. My family has been unbelievably supportive throughout my entire sailing career. My friends back home and at school are very very supportive,” said Dale.

“I hope we can show young sailors that if you work hard, keep your head down, and keep grinding you can do great things,” he said.

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