Eight South Floridians win trophies in OB Youth Regatta

Lack of wind canceled Tuesday’s final race of the 2014 Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta on Biscayne Bay, sending Monday’s leaders — including eight South Floridians — home with trophies in closing ceremonies at Miami’s Coral Reef Yacht Club.

The Broward team of skipper Martina Sly and Ciara Rodriguez-Horan finished first in the 91-boat Club 420 class, followed by the Miami team of skipper Ivan Shestopalov and crew Adrienne Han.

Fort Lauderdale’s Sophia Reineke was 10th overall and the top female in the 121-boat Laser Radial class, which was won by Henry Marshall.

Justin Callahan and Bella Cassaretto, who train at Coral Reef, finished second and third, respectively, in the combined red, white, and blue fleets in the Optimist class behind champion Teddy Nicolosi of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

And Miles Wolff of Fort Lauderdale was runner-up to winner Aiden Lopes of Bermuda in the 69-boat Optimist green fleet for beginner sailors.

Out-of-towners Matthew Keller and Ford McCann won the Laser 4.7 and Laser Full categories, respectively.

The regatta, which opened Saturday with more than 600 competitors from the United States and around the world, was the first major event for Rodriguez-Horan, 15, and Sly, 18, as a team. They prepared by practicing most weekends in Biscayne Bay and by paying close attention to weather forecasts.

“It wasn’t easy to win,” said Ciara, of Fort Lauderdale.

“A lot of tactics,” added Martina, of Weston.

On the Laser course crowded with more than 130 boats, Reineke, 16, had to keep her cool. But she enjoyed the challenge.

“I like a single-handed boat a lot better,” she said. “It’s easier to make decisions. If I get mad and make mistakes, I learn from it better.”

Reineke said she hopes to follow in the footsteps of her older sister, Erika, a college student on the U.S. Sailing Team and Olympic hopeful. The sisters train together, but have never competed head to head in a major regatta — yet.

“I’m a little scared,” Sophia admitted of the prospect. “I’ve always looked up to her.

“She’s my biggest inspiration.”

Ten-year-old Miamians Stephan Baker and Enzo Menditto are friendly competitors in the Optimist class, who often trade the lead in local and national regattas. Stephan finished 13th overall in the 220-boat combined red, white and blue fleets, and Enzo came in 27th.

Both train at Coral Reef Yacht Club and hope to become world-sailing champions someday.