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Thomas Barrows III of St. Thomas Makes U.S. Olympic Team In The 49er Class

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Thomas Barrows III of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Joe Morris of Annapolis, Maryland, have earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic sailing team in the 49er class, while Bora Gulari of Detroit and Louisa Chafee of Warwick, Rhode Island, won a spot in the Nacra 17 catamaran class.

This will be Barrows’ second Olympics. He represented the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Laser class in 2008 before starting to sail under the U.S. flag in the 49er, a high-performance skiff that is the fastest of the Olympic classes.

Barrows, who was born and raised in St. Thomas, attended Yale University, where he earned the College Sailor of the Year Award in 2010.

Thomas Barrows said that he has always loved being on the water. His parents Jean and Shep moved to the Caribbean on their boat in the late ‘70s and introduced Thomas to sailing at an early age.

After learning to sail at St. Thomas Yacht Club, Thomas started racing in the Optimist dinghy. In the Optimist class Thomas showed great promise as a racer by winning the 2000 New England Championship.

After sizing out of Optimist, Thomas moved on to the Laser Radial, the Club 420 and eventually the Laser Standard. Thomas attended Antilles School in St. Thomas, and during the summers sailed out of Pleon Yacht Club in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Sailing at these two venues presented Thomas with the best of both worlds; he was able to master the strong winds in the Caribbean and the light winds of Marblehead.

The crews were selected based on their combined scores from January’s Sailing World Cup Miami and the world championships in Clearwater that concluded Sunday.

Gulari is a two-time Moth world champion and U.S. Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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