The 46th Year for the St. Thomas International Regatta

Author:
Updated:
Original:
Jimtaylordesign

The weekend of March 22-26 in the US Virgin Islands marked the 46th year of the St. Thomas International regatta with over 50 boats competing overall.

The fleet is divided into one-design and PHRF classes which means that smaller, 18 boat strong IC24 fleet offers up some of the most competitive one-design sailing in the Caribbean. Teams from the US, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands come to compete and with a strong legacy of collegiate, All American sailors from the islands plus top one-design competitors chartering boats in advance and bringing their teams along, the one design fleet in St. Thomas has become the largest and most competitive in the Caribbean. These IC24s are competing in Great Bay just around the corner from Cowpet Bay where the St. Thomas Yacht Club is located. At press time, there were five teams from Puerto Rico vying for the top spots, followed in sixth place by Dave Franzel of Cambridge, MA who is also the director of the St. Thomas Yacht Club sailing center.

Equally competitive are the beautiful larger boats that compete in the PHRF format. Some of the top boats again come from Puerto Rico and the US and many of the boats will continue the Caribbean Racing season when the St. Thomas International Regatta wraps up and will move along to race in the British Virgin Islands, St. Barth’s and Antigua. These boats always like to attend the St. Thomas International Regatta because of its reputation for competitiveness and excellent race management. The larger fleets competing are pictured sailing through St. James cut between Great Saint James and Little Saint James islands. Farther to the east and around the corner are dive spots at Coki Point Beach, the resort/vacation club at Margaritaville on Water Bay and the aquarium at Coral World – all worth a look.

Included in this fleet is the spectacular Jim Taylor designed Blackfish owned by Ron Zarrella a custom-designed, 49-foot, cold-molded racer/cruiser, Blackfish, maintained a middle of the class position. Zarrella had never raced in the US Virgin Islands and he was not only awed by the competitiveness but by the land and seascapes that make this sailing venue so unique.

“The racing today, off St. John and in Pillsbury Sound, has to be the most scenic courses I’ve ever done,” says Zarrella, who is competing in STIR for his first time. “We usually sail in the classic yacht regattas, so we weren’t necessarily expecting to win. But, we really wanted to experience this (racing in the Caribbean in STIR).”

The courses for the St. Thomas International regatta are near Christmas Cove where a number of yachts are pictured at anchor. This is one of the most popular anchorages in the US VI as it not only offers a front row seat to some spectacular racing, but it is very close to both Red Hook where many of the yachts provision in the US VI and it is also close to the island of Jost Van Dyke and Tortola. Chartering in and around the US VI during the regattas means that not only are sailors enjoying exploring this spectacular region but also they are getting a glimpse of how incredibly competitive and skilled sailboat racing is in this part of the world.

March 2019

Related

02-'17-Trans-Atlantic_Downwind-Schralpin

At The Helm: Man Overboard!

Imagine this simple scenario: the boat’s powered up, sailing close-hauled in a building breeze under full sail. I come on deck as the skipper during the watch change to make sure the new crew is comfortable and the boat is properly set up for both the current conditions and ...read more

Promo-01-LEAD-MGR00321

Contrasting X-Yachts & Moody Cruisers

One of the most fascinating things about sailboats is the different ways that sailors, naval architects and builders will approach a single design problem. The result has been a bewildering array of rigs and hull forms over the years, and in the case of the two boats we’ll be ...read more

04-Yacht-anchored-in-front-of-one-of-Lastovo's-gunboat-tunnels-(3)

Cruising Charter to Croatia

As is the case with so much of the Mediterranean, to sail in Croatia is to take a journey through time. Centuries before the birth of Christ, Greeks traded amphoras of oil, wine and grain across these waters. During the first millennium, the Romans built lavish palaces and ...read more

m123728_13_01_171012_PMA_02901_9999

Alicante Announced as an Ocean Race Europe Stop

The Ocean Race Europe, a new event in offshore sailing, will include Alicante as one of four stopover cities. This European offshoot of the former Volvo Ocean Race will include the biggest change to the racing rules under the new title—fully crewed IMOCA 60s will join the ...read more

01-LEAD-doublehanded2

Preparing for a Doublehanded Race

A few months ago we took a look at the development and attraction of doublehanded racing (Two to Tango, June/July 2020). Hopefully, that served to whet your appetite. If so, the question becomes: “How do I get started? The good news, as we explained in Part 1, is that if you are ...read more

01-LEAD-Day-three---dolphins.-300-dpi

A Key Approach to Passagemaking

How you approach offshore sailing is key to the success of each passage. In addition, some of the most valuable, even crucial attitudes and skills may not be either learned or valued in everyday life on shore and may even fly in the face of talents that are greatly admired and ...read more

OceanVoyagesInstitute-2048

Point of SAIL: Mary Crowley of the Ocean Voyages Institute

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of the Ocean Voyages Institute, a not-for-profit based in California that has been both educating sailors and working to preserve the health of the world’s ocean ...read more

01-Ocean-Voyages-Institute_PHOTO-READY_1_pg

Tracking and Catching Plastic Waste

Plastic waste—in the form of everything from plastic soda bottles to abandoned fishing nets—constitutes a major threat to the health of the world’s oceans. Giving the immense size of an ocean, though, actually finding all the plastic floating around out there in a time-efficient ...read more