World Record Sail - 100 Nautical Miles Solo in an Optimist!
Fourteen-year-old Carrick Jones of Antigua has just completed an incredible solo sail in his Optimist Dinghy. On November 22 at 16:30, the young athlete set off from Falmouth Harbour, Antigua, arriving into Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten, just before midnight on November 23 – a distance of 100 nautical miles across open ocean unassisted in his Optimist.
Carrick Jones started talking about wanting to do an unassisted long distance sail in his Optimist a few months ago, and his father, Tanner, a seasoned sailor himself, quite frankly thought he was crazy. But Carrick persisted and his determination turned the dream into a reality. Carrick was inspired by a previous record sail completed in 2022 by 13 year old Lolie Osswald who sailed 80 nautical miles from Antigua to St. Barts.
From the beginning safety was a priority. Three support boats including a RIB, accompanied the young sailor throughout but were prohibited from giving assistance in any way. A routine check-in signal system between Carrick and the main vessel was established. Advance preparation included carefully organised food supplies, attaching a light to his Optimist, and night pre-training. A tracker was placed on his boat to provide updates for family and supporters. The biggest concern was the potentially rough sea state, which as locals know, can be extreme with waves a few metres in height and building steady winds upward to 20 plus knots. In fact, there was a one day delay due to unfavourable conditions. In the end the winds were unseasonably light, which was also a huge problem since halfway across there was only 1 knot for about 12 hours! This turned a projected 24 hour trip into 36, and the hardest and biggest challenge became the sailor’s lack of sleep, mental strength and ability to stay awake! An emotional moment was experienced by the support team when suddenly Carrick capsized at 4 am in the pitch blackness due to a rogue wave. Carrick, demonstrating his incredible skills was quick to sort himself out and continued sailing towards his goal.
Carrick started sailing at the age of 6 years with his family in Jolly Harbour Antigua, and soon became a junior member at the Antigua Yacht Club in the Optimist Dinghy program. Recently he represented Antigua in one IODA Optimist North Americans and two IODA Optimist World Championships. Karl James,MBE, Junior Club Manager and Coach, believed from the beginning that Carrick would achieve what he set out to do without fail, saying: ‘‘Carrick’s solo sail is an incredible feat of bravery, determination and athletics and is an inspiration to all of us. I’m extremely proud of Carrick and he deserves to be well recognized by all for this amazing achievement.’
A warm welcome for Carrick was organized by fellow Optimist sailors and supporters by the Sint Maarten Yacht Club. Wet, tired, but obviously very happy, Carrick seemed bright and positive when addressing his audience at midnight after docking his Optimist. Today he is enjoying a long rest before intending to race in the 18th Annual Optimist Regatta hosted in Sint Maarten over the upcoming weekend.
Congratulations to Carrick Jones for setting a World Record for sailing the longest distance (100 nautical miles) in an Optimist dinghy validated by the two yacht clubs at either end, the Antigua Yacht Club and the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, who have examined and confirmed the data. At the time of this writing a trophy is being established by regional clubs of the Caribbean, hoping to challenge and inspire more young Optimist sailors to follow their dreams.
Watch the Youtube Video here: (2545) 14 year old Carrack Jones sets off to sail an Opti 100 miles from Antigua to St Maarten. - YouTube