Stephanie Devaux-Lovell had what she described as a “very tough day” to open competition for Saint Lucia at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Stephanie, aged 19 (turning 20 in September) is competing in laser radial sailing, with a spot at next year’s Olympics on the line.
With extremely light winds, insufficient for sailing, the opening race was postponed on Sunday morning. Eventually, the opening race got underway at 3:30pm, with a strong current pushing across the course, which affected the race strategy in the 3-5 knots of patchy wind.
Competing in downtown Toronto, at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, Stephi’s pre race strategy was to go right up the first part of the beat then left on the approach to the windward mark and to watch the layline to the mark on the downwind to sail the shortest distance taking the current into consideration.
Stephi got off to a good solid start in the middle of the line and started to execute her game plan. She rounded the first mark in eighth, and held this on the downwind leg. Then she had a good second beat to round the second windward mark in fourth.
Holding on to that position on the reach, she made a mistake on the second downwind leg, sailing too far against the current. That caused her to drop some places, and she crossed the finish line in seventh out of the 16 sailors who started the race, with 11 more races to go.
The second race of the day was abandoned due to the fickle breeze, but coach Beth Lygoe felt that Stephi had “a solid start the regatta,” whilst the young sailor says she is “looking forward to tomorrow.”
In the mini-race for the North American Olympic spot, Stephi is third, the sailors from Trinidad and Tobago (second) and Aruba (sixth) finishing ahead of her in the opening race.