While Di Blasi, 15, has only been sailing the Laser Radial for less than a year, he brings to Sanya a strong determination to improve his skills, and to follow in the footsteps of the many notable U.S. Virgin Islands sailors who have come before him.
"The guys who are older than me, like [Olympians] Thomas Barrows (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands) and Cy Thompson (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands), and [match racing World Champion] Taylor Canfield (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands), are an inspiration to me," says Di Blasi. "They sail at the top, and they get exposure for the Virgin Islands. Someday I hope I will do the same."
Di Blasi has no shortage of role models coming from the USVI, a group that includes his sister Agustina Barbuto (St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands), who competed at the Youth Worlds in 2011. "St. John is a small island, and does not have many sports that you can play year-round. My parents decided that sailing made sense for me, and it was the best fit."
Di Blasi sees the Youth Worlds as a different experience from any other regatta. "The event is really awesome, because it's the best from every country," said Di Blasi. "At most regattas, it's a few from each country. This one is just for the best of the best. It's cooler, but harder."
In terms of his future plans, Di Blasi is focused on learning and racing as much as he can. "The Youth Worlds has helped me gain big-fleet experience, fleet management, and starts, which is very hard for me to find back home," said Di Blasi. "I'm getting better each day, but my goal has always been to get to the Olympics someday. I owe a lot to my parents, who have helped me get coaching, once they realized how committed I was."