Round the Rocks Race Provides Great Tune-Up for St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. A fleet of nearly a dozen yachts sets sail in the first-ever Round the Rocks Race on Thursday, March 24. This 21-mile counter clockwise circumnavigation of the beautiful island of St. John will give racers a good chance to tune-up crews and shake-down yachts, while experiencing great racing conditions that span both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. It’s a perfect way to get ready for the main event ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’ – the 43rd St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), March 25 to 27

On Your Mark!

 “Having done the St. Maarten Heineken and St Barth’s races, the opportunity to race around an island in the Caribbean is sweet,” says Jack Desmond, from Marion, MA, who will sail his Swan 48, Affinity, in the Round the Rocks Regatta. “It’s a test of your navigational ability as well your ability to keep your boat sailing to its maximum potential. The crew is engaged in the race and the geographical beauty of the harbors and coves as we pass, well, it can’t get much better.” 

A sampling of other entries taking part in the Round the Rocks Regatta include Norwalk, CT’s Steve and Heidi Benjamin aboard their TP 52, Spookie; Long Beach, CA’s Doug Baker driving the J/122 Team Magnitude-El Ocaso; Antigua’s Bernie Wong at the helm of his RP37, TAZ and Puerto Rico’s Jose Teixidor’s Hanse 455, Cachondo in the CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association) Spinnaker Class. In addition to Desmond’s Affinity, St. Croix, USVI’s Tony Sanpere will sail his Catalina 30, Nauticayenne in the CSA Non-Spinnaker Class. Finally, the Large Multihull class sees two entries, Rye, NY’s Robert Alexander’s Gunboat 60, Fault Tolerant and Boston, MA’s Stephen Cucchiaro’s Gunboat 60, Flow

All Round the Rocks entrants receive HIHO Suntek Shirts, from event sponsor, HIHO a British-Virgin Islands’-based clothing company. These shirts are perfect for sailing, in that they are fast drying, ultra-lightweight and comfortable with an SPF 50. The HIHO owners will be racing in the Large Multihull and IC24 classes. In addition, the first 24 Round the Rocks entrants receive a K3 Bluetooth Outdoor Speaker. 

First place finishers in each of the three Round the Rocks Race classes receive a limited edition timepiece created by Cardow Jewelers, headquartered in St. Thomas, U.S. VI since 1954. The Love City, named for the relaxed island of St. John, is a product of Swiss craftsmanship and Virgin Islands design, which is water resistant, scratch resistant, shock resistant, with sapphire crystals, a working chronograph and stop watch. The watches also have date functions, luminous hands to help read at night or in the water, and a limited lifetime warranty. There will also be prizes for second and third place class finishers. 

The Round the Rocks Awards Ceremony takes place on the beach at the St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC), starting at 7 p.m. Afterwards, the Welcome Party kicks off with Music by Dirty Johnny and the Whisky Pistol Band. 

Nearly 80 Boats STIR Up Excitement

 On Friday, March 25, nearly 80 yachts with crews representing five Caribbean island nations, the U.S., Europe, South America and Australia/New Zealand will set sail in STIR. 

“We have a great fleet of boats this year, including new one-design VX One and Gunboat classes,” says regatta registrar, Lyn Reid. 

Friday’s course takes sailors along the southside of St. Thomas, into the Charlotte Amalie Harbor, and then back east. Best vantage points to watch on shore are the Waterfront Apron and Frenchman’s Reef Marriott Beach Resort between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Ashore, live music starts at the STYC at 2:30 p.m. by the Third String All Stars, with Cool Session Brass taking over the stage from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

The competition continues Saturday, March 26, off the northeast and southeast side of St. Thomas. Then, party like a sailor starting at 7 p.m. at Yacht Haven Grande with Spectrum Band. 

Racing concludes on Saturday, March 27, with the Awards Ceremony on the beach at STYC starting at 6:30 p.m. The Final Fling Party starts right after with Ah We Band. Winners in each of the STIR Classes also receive limited edition ‘Island Watches’ by Cardow Jewelers.

Cruzan Rum and Presidente Beer Sponsor 2016 St. Thomas International Regatta, March 25-27, 2016

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Organizers of the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) are pleased to announce that Cruzan Rum and Presidente Beer, distributed by Glazer’s Premier Distributors, LLC, are the official beverages of the 2016 STIR Regatta. 

“We are very excited to partner for our second year with Cruzan Rum and Presidente Beer for STIR 2016. These products will surely enhance the overall atmosphere of our regatta, especially at our nightly parties with live bands at St. Thomas Yacht Club and big party at Yacht Haven Grande on Saturday March 26. We look forward to welcoming everyone to STIR – sailors and landlubbers, visitors and residents alike – for a great regatta, a Cruzan Rum drink and cold Presidente Beer,” says regatta director, Chuck Pessler.


presidentecruzanbeach2smallCruzan Rum, which is produced at its Estate Diamond distillery on St. Croix, was founded in 1760 and has been run by eight generations of the Nelthropp family albeit with changes in corporate ownership over the years. The company produces some 50 award-winning rum products in different flavors and ages. This year, Cruzan Blueberry Lemonade, the newest flavor to the Cruzan lineup, debuts at STIR. The smooth quality of Cruzan Rum with the sweet fruity flavors of blueberries and tangy tastes of lemon packs a punch of flavor in this rum. 

And the tradition continues! The skipper winning the regatta’s most competitive class as judged by a trio of race officials will receive his or her weight in Cruzan Rum. 

Presidente Beer, hailing from the neighboring Dominican Republic and recognized as the #1 beer of the Caribbean, is also proud to be a sponsor of STIR 2016. Owned and operated by Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana, Presidente Beer is a pale lager with a rich refreshing flavor. 

The entire Cruzan line of Cruzan Rum as well as light and dark Presidente Beer will be available at all of the STIR 2016 events. 

“Rum and sailors have gone together since the days when pirates marauded the Caribbean Sea. For over two hundred years, our locally distilled Cruzan Rum has been the grog of choice in the Virgin Islands and, now, around the world. Just as STIR has welcomed more and more sailors every year from the region and beyond, Presidente Beer, a favorite of our neighboring Dominican Republic, is also proud to be a sponsor of STIR 2016. After three days of salty competition out in the ocean, both Cruzan Rum and Presidente Beer are happy to be the refreshing beverage of choice on shore. We wish all the sailors best of luck for STIR 2016!” says Beth Aycock, senior marketing manager for Glazer’s Premier Distributors, one of the largest distributors of wine, spirits and malt beverage products in the U.S. and headquartered in Dallas, TX. 

YHG partySTIR, now in its forty-third year, is world-renown as the Crown Jewel of Caribbean yacht racing for its fantastic round-the-buoys and round-the-rocks racing, first-class race committee and friendly can-do attitude for the competitors. Over 80 entries from the Caribbean, U.S., Europe and Australia, including first-ever Gunboat and VX One classes as well as Grand Prix yachts and a fleet of over 20 one-design IC24s, are expected to compete in 2015. Crews are a combination of America’s Cup, Olympic and World Champion veterans as well as local Caribbean rock stars. STIR is welcoming a new event, the Round the Rocks Race, a circumnavigation of the beautiful neighboring island of St. John, on March 24.

Gunboat & VX One Classes Debut at 2016 St. Thomas International Regatta – Champion Sailors Set to Race

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Gunboat and VX One classes are first-ever additions to the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR). Set for March 25 to 27 and hosted out of the St. Thomas Yacht Club, the 16 entries – 4 Gunboats and 12 VX Ones – are among a sleek fleet of 80-plus yachts registered to race. What’s more, these two classes add even more America’s Cup and World Champion talent to the Olympic and Caribbean rock star teams that have long made STIR the ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Sailing’. 

Gunboats – Talented Teams Gunning for Podium Honors 

This year STIR welcomes a large multihull class, in addition to its perennial beach cat class. It’s no coincidence that original Gunboat builder, maker of some of the fastest multis in the world and two-time (2013 and 2017) America’s Cup rule maker, Pete Melvin, will be racing aboard one of these boats – the Gunboat 60, Fault Tolerant.


“I am looking forward to sailing with old friends,” says Melvin, partner in Morelli & Melvin Design and Engineering, based in Huntington Beach, California. “The owners of Fault Tolerant, Rob and Libby Alexander, Andy Morrell, and I were all on the Boston University sailing team at the same time in the 1980s, so we will be embellishing stories about how great we were back then. I am also looking forward to sailing in the multihull fleet. The original Gunboats were designed by my company and it will be interesting to sail on Fault Tolerant and learn how she sails.”


Fault Tolerant will race against Phil Lotz’s Gunboat 60, Arethusa; Stephen Cucchiaro’sGunboat 60, Flow and Jason Carroll’s Gunboat 62, Elvis

“We have raced the St Thomas regatta several times, most recently on our Swan 42,Arethusa,” says Lotz, who was the Swan 42 National Champion in 2009 and 2010 and second place finisher in the multihull class in this year’s Quantum Key West Race Week. “We always enjoy the regatta and the course around the islands. This will be our first season racing the Gunboat so we are looking to learn.” 

This will also be the first season of Gunboat racing for the team aboard Flow.


Flow is a new boat to us as of last summer,” explains captain, Tony Teale. “We raced the New York Yacht Club’s Cruise to Maine and by the time we get to St. Thomas we will have competed in the St. Maarten Heineken regatta. Most of the crew are friends of Mr. Cucchiaro’s and have a long history of dinghy, keel boat and multihull racing. We are looking forward to competitive racing with a good fleet of Gunboats, including two identical boats.” 

VX One’s Vie for Caribbean Cup Title 

The VX One Class holds its first international event, the VX One Caribbean Cup, a two-leg series that starts with STIR and concludes at the BVI Spring Regatta. This exciting and fast-growing class is now sailed in 9 countries worldwide. 

One of the dozen 19-foot VX One’s competing in this one-design class is Australia’s Andrew York aboard his Australia Two

I look forward to sailing against my U.S. VX One friends in good breeze and open water,” says York, whose sailing credits include representing Australia in twelve World Championships in four different classes, competing in two America’s Cups and coaching at a national and Olympic level. York’s crew are fellow Aussies, the father and daughter team of Rob and Nicole Douglass. Together, the Douglass’s have won multiple Australia Tasar titles and two World Championships. Separately, Rob is a Spiral National Champ and Nicole has competed on Australia’s Women’s World Match Racing Team. 

One of the U.S. teams York will be testing his skills against is George Gamble aboard his VX One, My Sharona

“Beautiful clear warm water, great competition and a stiff breeze is what we’re looking forward to,” says Gamble, who won the J/111 World Championship and finished third at the VX One North American Championships last year. 

It’s a family affair for another U.S.-based VX One team on Commando. Helmsman Andy Walford, will be joined by crew of wife, Beth, and eldest son, Richard. 

“As club level sailors, we are looking forward to some warm water sailing in the brisk breezes of the Caribbean and a competitive regatta,” says Walford, who grew up dinghy sailing in the UK before moving to the U.S. in the late 1980’s where he sailed in the 505 Worlds in 2004 and Melges 24 Worlds in 2011. “The VX One is well suited to the conditions to provide a really exhilarating ride. Along with the shore activities, it’s going to be a great vacation.” 

Entries Grow for New Round the Rocks Race 

Six entries are already signed-up for the first-ever Round the Rocks Race. Set for March 24, the race, independent of STIR, features a point-to-point course around the island of St. John with separate scoring and a special prize-giving awards. There will be a large perpetual trophy for the fastest elapsed time and first through third trophies for each class. Three Gunboats – Arethusa,Fault Tolerant and Flow, as well as the TP52 Spookie, are among the entrants. 

“We purchased the TP 52, ex-Interlodge, in June,” says Steve Benjamin, who was named 2015 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, and who with wife Heidi raced their former Spookie, a Carkeek HP 40, in last year’s STIR where they won the CSA 1 Class. “So far we did two of the 52 Super Series events in 2015, the Copa del Rey Manfre and the Cascais Cup, and finished 8th in both. In January, we won the Lauderdale to Key West Race and finished second at Key West Race Week. We’re looking forward to as much racing in the Caribbean as possible and very excited about racing around St. John as we know it is a challenging venue with lots of shifts and strong winds. Peter Holmberg will be joining Heidi and I and we’re putting several of the veteran Spookie team back together with a few young guns!” 

Great Parties 

Beach BBQs and nightly parties with live bands will take place at St. Thomas Yacht Club Thursday March 24, Friday March 25 and Sunday March 27. The Awards Ceremony takes place Sunday March 27 starting at 6 p.m. on the beach in front of the Club. On Saturday March 26, there’s the STIR tradition: the Yacht Haven Grande Party with Spectrum Band on stage. Have dinner and enjoy the best of St. Thomas restaurants and bars nearby Yacht Haven Grande while detuning after a day of racing. 

Register Now! 

Register online now for the Round the Rocks Race and St. Thomas International Regatta at Both events promise challenging courses, professional race management and island-style hospitality. 

STIR 2016 is sponsored by Cruzan Rum and Presidente, distributed by Glazer’s Premier Distributors; and the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism. 

For more information, contact Regatta Director Chuck Pessler at (340) 642-3204 or Email Check out STIR on Facebook (, Twitter @stycvi and Instagram #STIRSTT 

For hi-res photos, please follow links below:

New Round the Rocks Race – Great Way to Tune-Up for the 2016 St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Register now for the first-ever Round the Rocks Race! It’s a great way to stir up the fun in advance of the 2016 St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR)! Set for March 24, this one-day event is independent of STIR and features its own point-to-point course around the island of St. John, separate scoring and special prize-giving. It’s a great way for teams to tune up in advance of the main event three-day STIR. 

New Round the Rocks Race“Sailors tell us they want more racing and we’re known for our professional race management. Put the two together it creates the perfect opportunity to offer a new one-day race. Those who don’t want to or can’t race aren’t penalized since scores in the Round the Rocks race don’t count toward the STIR. It’s just another way to sail in our beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands waters and have yet another way to win!” says regatta director, Chuck Pessler. 

Entries to date include a trio of Gunboat 60s. These are Phil Lotz’sArethusa, Robert Alexander’s Fault Tolerant and Stephen Cucchiaro’sFlow

The Round the Rocks Race is open to everyone. This includes CSA; IRC; HPR; Multihull; CSA Bareboat; CSA (unmeasured) for boats from the USVI, BVI and Puerto Rico; Beach Cats and One-Design classes with a minimum length of 20 feet. 

The Round the Rocks Race course is a circumnavigation of the 19-square mile island of St. John. It’s a route that offers a full range of exhilarating sailing challenges against the beautiful backdrop of an island that is two-thirds pristine national park. Crews will need to keep on their toes with frequent tacks along offshore cays, cross currents and wind shifts around the east end and slalom-like conditions in the downwind. Monohull and multihull, sport boat and ocean racer, spinnaker and non-spinnaker boats will all find something to suit. 

Register online now for the Round the Rocks Race at:

Register now too for STIR, set for March 25-27, 2016, if you haven’t already! Pay only US $250 up until January 31, 2016. Plus, on the last day of December and January, one entry each will be selected at random from among all entries to date to win customized long sleeved tech shirts for the entire crew. 

The 2016 STIR promises challenging courses, professional race management and island-style hospitality. 

STIR 2016 is sponsored by Cruzan Rum and Presidente, distributed by Glazer’s Premier Distributors; and the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism. 

For more information and questions, call Regatta Director Chuck Pessler at (340) 642-3204 or Check out STIR on Facebook (, Twitter @stycvi and Instagram #STIRVI

2015 Regatta Results

Place, Yacht Name, Yacht Type, Owner/Skipper, City, State, Country, Results, Total Points

( – 5 Boats)
1. Kick ’em Jenny 2, Melges 32, Ian Hope-Ross , Cole Bay, St. Maarten, SXM, 6 -6 ; 12

Jersey Bay Course

IC 24 (One Design – 20 Boats)
1. Cachondo, IC 24, Marco Teixidor , San Juan, PR, USA, 2 -1 -1 -2 -2 -5 -1 -2 -6 -1 -1 -8 ; 32
2. Sembrador, IC 24, Ramón González , Salinas, PR, USA, 6 -2 -2 -1 -1 -15 -4 -3 -7 -8 -2 -3 ; 54
3. Bill T, IC 24, Tyler Rice , St. Thomas, VI, USA, 4 -5 -4 -4 -11 -4 -10 -4 -1 -4 -5 -5 ; 61
4. CYM/INTAC, IC 24, Jason Putley , Tortola, Road Town, IVB, 3 -7 -7 -6 -4 -8 -8 -5 -2 -2 -4 -10 ; 66
5. Foxy Lady, IC 24, Andrew Waters , Road Town, Tortola, BVI, 5 -3 -12 -10 -9 -6 -2 -1 -4 -7 -7 -1 ; 67
6. Porfin 7, IC 24, Fernando Irizarry , San Juan, PR, USA, 1 -4 -3 -5 -3 -11 -9 -8 -3 -10 -6 -4 ; 67
7. Save Coral Bay, IC 24, Thomas Kozyn , St. Thomas, USVI, USA, 7 -9 -5 -3 -6 -3 -13 -7 -8 -3 -9 -2 ; 75
8. Taina, IC 24, Eric Tulla , San Juan, PR, USA, 11 -12 -10 -7 -8 -2 -3 -11 -9 -5 -3 -7 ; 88
9. Island Water World Racing, IC 24, Chuck Pessler / Frits Bus , St. Thomas, USVI, USA, 9 -8 -17 -11 -5 -1 -6 -9 -5 -9 -8 -14 ; 102
10. Magic Bus, IC 24, Phillip Shannon , St. Thoms, VI, USA, 10 -11 -6 -8 -7 -10 -12 -6 -16 -6 -13 -12 ; 117
11. Red Dog, IC 24, Mike Williams , St. Thomas , USVI, USA, 8 -6 -9 -9 -10 -9 -7 -13 -13 -17 -10 -16 ; 127
12. Ice Cubed, IC 24, Kurt Nose , St. Thomas, VI, USA, 18 -10 -13 -14 -12 -16 -11 -10 -15 -13 -18 -11 ; 161
13. All In, IC 24, Colin Brego , St. John, VI, USA, 16 -17 -14 -16 -14 -17 -14 -16 -10 -15 -12 -6 ; 167
14. Ocean Potion, IC 24, Mike Finley / Jeff Dykstra , St. Thomas, USVI, USA, 13 -15 -11 -13 -18 -12 -13 -17 -17 -16 -14 -15 ; 174
15. KATE, IC 24, James Swan , St. John, VI, USVI, 15 -14 -8 -21 -21 -21 -17 -12 -12 -14 -15 -9 ; 179
16. Luna, IC 24, Francisco Figueroa , San Juan, PR, USA, 17 -18 -16 -17 -13 -15 -18 -14 -11 -11 -11 -18 ; 179
17. Lord Charlton, IC 24, Jon Charlton / Leanne Lord , St Thomas, VI, USA, 12 -13 -21 -15 -15 -13 -15 -15 -14 -18 -17 -13 ; 181
18. White Album, IC 24, Mike Fabian , St. Thomas, USA, 14 -19 -15 -12 -16 -14 -16 -18 -18 -12 -16 -17 ; 187
19. Boat Drinks, IC 24, JP Montegut , St. Thomas, USVI, USA, 19 -16 -18 -21 -19 -18 -20 -20 -20 -19 -19 -20 ; 229
20. Roundabout, IC 24, William McConnell , St. Thomas, VI, USA, 21 -21 -21 -18 -17 -19 -19 -19 -19 -20 -20 -19 ; 233

St. Thomas International Regatta Course

CSA 1 (CSA – 2 Boats)
1. SPOOKIE, Carkeek HP 40, Steve & Heidi Benjamin , Norwalk, CT, USA, 1 -2 -1 -1 -1 -2 ; 8
2. Team Varg / Conviction, TP 52, Ola T. Hox , St. James, BAR, 2 -1 -2 -2 -2 -1 ; 10

CSA 2 (CSA – 11 Boats)
1. Corr’s Light Racing / Southern Child, Beneteau First 40, Peter Corr , Mona Vale, NSW, STT, 3 -1 -4 -1 -1 -2 ; 12
2. Dunder, J 122, Rupert & Jan Thouron , Middlesex, VT, USA, 5 -4 -1 -2 -6 -3 ; 21
3. El Ocaso, J 122, Mitchell Padnos , Holland, MI, USA, 4 -3 -2.5 -3 -3 -8 ; 23.5
4. Better Than…, Swan 42, Gosia Rojek , Brooklyn, NY, USA, 6 -2 -2.5 -7 -4 -7 ; 28.5
5. Spike, J 111, Sam Talbot , Road Town, Tortola, BVI, 1 -5 -7 -9 -7 -6 ; 35
6. TAZ, RP 37, Bernard Evan-Wong , St. John’s, Antigua, ANT, 2 -8 -5 -8 -8 -4 ; 35
7. White Rhino, Swan 56, Todd Stuart , Newport, RI, USA, 7 -6 -6 -4 -12 -1 ; 36
8. Kismet, Morris 48, David Southwell , Brookline, MA, USA, 8 -7 -9 -5 -2 -5 ; 36
9. Team Boston / Lancelot II, Beneteau First 40, Chris Jackson , Hamble, Southampton, UK, 9 -9 -8 -6 -5 -9 ; 46
10. Alizé, Beneteau First 435, Joe Hummel , Wilmette, IL, USA, 10 -12 -11 -10 -9 -11 ; 63
11. Sunset Child, J 120, Marcus Cholerton-Brown , New York, NY, USA, 12 -12 -10 -11 -10 -10 ; 65

CSA 3 (CSA – 7 Boats)
1. Dark Star, J 105, Jonathan Lipuscek , San Juan, PR, USA, 2 -1 -1 -1 -1 -2 ; 8
2. Pipedream, Sirena 38, Chris Haycraft , Road Town, BVI, 3 -4 -4 -2 -3 -1 ; 17
3. Boogaloo, Melges 24, Morgan Dale , Christainsted, VI, USA, 1 -5 -2 -4 -5 -4 ; 21
4. Solstice, J 105, Bryan Coon , Hicksville, NY, USA, 5 -2 -3 -3 -6 -3 ; 22
5. Zarafa, HOD 35, Peter Scholfield , Lymington, Hampshire, GBR, 4 -3 -5 -6 -2 -5 ; 25
6. Magnificent 7, J 27, Paul Davis , St. thomas, USVI, USA, 6 -6 -6 -5 -4 -6 ; 33

CSA – Non-Spinnaker (CSA – 4 Boats)
1. Hotel California too, Cruising SC70, Stephen Schmidt , St. Thomas, USVI, USA, 1 -1 -2 -1 ; 5
2. Nauticayenne, Catalina 30, Antonio F. Sanpere , Christiansted, VI, USA, 3 -2 -3 -2 ; 10
3. Avanti, Hanse 430e, Jeremi Jablonski , Wilton, CT, USA, 2 -5 -1 -5 ; 13
4. Paladin, J 36, Stanford Joines , Kingshill, USVI, USA, 5 -5 -5 -5 ; 20

Melges 32 (One Design – 4 Boats)
1. Lazy Dog, Melges 32, Sergio Sagramoso , San Juan, PR, USA, 5 -1 -1 -1 -1 -4 ; 13
2. SOCA, Melges 32, Luis Juarbe , San Juan, PR, USA, 1 -3 -3 -3 -2 -1 ; 13
3. Smile and Wave, Melges 32, Jaime Torres , San Juan, PR, USA, 2 -2 -2 -2 -3 -3 ; 14
4. Big Trouble, Melges 32, Tom Elsen , Chicago, IL, USA, 3 -4 -4 -4 -4 -2 ; 21

Non-Rated Cruising (PHRF_ToT – 5 Boats)
1. Odyssey, Beneteau First 44.7 (Non-Spin), Kevin Gregory , St. Thomas, VI, USA, 1 -1 -1 -1 ; 4
2. Dawn Treader, IC 24, Jamie Madsen , St. Thomas, USVI, USA, 2 -2 -3 -2 ; 9
3. Augura, Beneteau 40, Brian Emerich , St. Thomas, USVI, USA, 3 -6 -2 -6 ; 17
4. Freya, Erickson 36, Shawn Leass , VI, USA, 6 -6 -6 -6 ; 24
5. Oriole, NY 30, Jean François Canavaggia , Marseille, Bouches du Rhone, FRA, 6 -6 -6 -6 ; 24

Beach Cats (Portsmouth – 9 Boats)
1. Flight Risk, Nacra 17, Teri McKenna , St. Thomas, VI, USVI, 1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 ; 9
2. Island Sol, Hobie 16, Paul Stoeken , St. Thomas, VI, USA, 2 -2 -3 -4 -3 -2 -1 -3 -3 ; 23
3. Whiplash, Falcon F-16, Teri McKenna , St Thomas, VI, USVI, 10 -10 -2 -2 -2 -1 -2 -2 -2 ; 33
4. Caribbean Auto Mart, Nacra 20, Thomas Ainger , Christianstead, VI, USA, 4 -4 -4.5 -3 -5 -4 -7 -5 -5 ; 41.5
5. Blame It On Rhea, Nacra 20, Mark Chong , St. Thomas, VI, USA, 5 -10 -8 -5 -4 -3 -4 -4 -4 ; 47
6. Totally, Hobie 16, Niall Bartlett , St Thomas, VI, USA, 3 -10 -4.5 -7 -7 -5 -3 -7 -8 ; 54.5
7. Nuts, Hobie 16, Ian Bartlett , Oaksey, Wiltshire, UK, 10 -3 -6 -6 -6 -6 -5 -6 -7 ; 55
8. Taco Hell, Nara 5.8, Sam Fifer , St. Thomas, USVI, USA, 10 -10 -7 -9 -8 -7 -6 -8 -9 ; 74
9. White Sails, Hobie 16, Joyce McKenzie , St. Thomas, USVI, USA, 6 -10 -9 -8 -10 -10 -10 -9 -6 ; 78

New Classes, New Race Set for St. Thomas International Regatta – March 25-27, 2016

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Gunboats and VX One boats are set to sail in first-ever classes at the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), set for March 25 to 27, 2016 and hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club. What’s more, organizers will also welcome entries into the ORC (Offshore Racing Club) handicap class, plus invite all sailors to tune-up in an all-new round the island race scheduled for March 24. This exceptional program of serious world class yacht racing continues to earn the STIR the status of ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’. 

“We are excited to offer these new classes. It is a perfect fit with our philosophy of giving sailors what they want within the changing trends in global yacht racing. Closer to home, we’ll continue with last year’s introduction of a Non-Rated Cruising Class for boats from the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The new one-day pre-STIR race gives visitors and locals alike a chance to tune-up as well as another way to win big,” says regatta director, Chuck Pessler.

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Robert Alexander of Rye, New York is one of the first to enter his Gunboat 60, Fault Tolerant, in 2016 STIR. Alexander has campaigned his sleek-sailing catamaran in several high profile events this summer, including Block Island Race Week where he finished second in the multihull class. 

Fault Tolerant is spending the winter in the Virgin Islands and competing in STIR 2016 is definitely on our calendar,” says Alexander. “We love the event’s mix of great racing and fun parties. And, of course, it’s perfect that our Gunboat friends are planning to join the racing!” 

Eleven VX Ones are currently registered to sail in the first VX One Caribbean Cup, of which STIR 2016 is the first leg, including Australia’s Michael James. 

“Being able to fly in from Australia and be part of the VX One’s debut in the regatta and meet up with other owners was just too good to miss out on. This regatta will be the biggest fleet of VX’s that I have sailed against and if the competition is as good as it is here in Australia it will take 100 percent concentration to be successful. Plus the parties look like they are going to be great fun,” says James, who placed second in the 2015 Australia Sports Boat Association Mid-Winters aboard his VX One, the Beast.

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Tim Pitts, vice president of the VX One Class Association and a native of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, anticipates a total of 18 of these swift three-man keel boats on the start line in March. 

“The VX One Caribbean Cup, which spans two of the Caribbean’s foremost regattas – the STIR and BVI Spring Regatta, is a huge step for the VX One Class. This series represents the class’ first-ever international event and it has drawn entries from the US, Australia and UK. These boats are perfectly suited to Caribbean racing. We look forward to hot racing and stiff competition as the group of entered VX One racers dance amid an international line-up,” says Nicklaus Fordham, series organizer. 

Register Now! No other regatta in the Caribbean offers so many classes and rating rules under which to compete. Teams are invited to enter in Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA); IRC; High Performance Rule (HPR); Multihull; CSA Bareboat; Non-Rater Cruising Class (PHRF-handicap); Beach Cats; and One-Design classes with a minimum length of 20 feet. 

The 2016 STIR promises challenging courses, professional race management and island-style hospitality. 

Discount for Early Registration! Entries received and paid for in full by 5 p.m. AST January 31, 2016 pay only US $250. The registration fee between February 1 and March 22, 2016 increases to US $400 for all boats, except US $250 for beach cats and US $300 for IC24s and Non-Rated Cruising Class boats. 

Register online at  For more information and questions, call Regatta Director Chuck Pessler at(340) 642-3204 or Email Check STIR out on Facebook (, Twitter @stycvi and Instagram #STIR2016


STIR 2016 in sponsored by Cruzan Rum and Presidente, distributed by Glazer’s Premier Distributors; and the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism.

Time for Prize-Giving at the 42nd St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Some boats leapt into the lead while others strengthened their front-runner status on the third and final day of racing in the 42nd St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), presented by TAG Heuer. The 62-boat fleet, boasting entrants from the Caribbean, USA and Europe, competed in eight classes on round-the-buoy and round-the-rock courses with 10 to 15 knots of breeze. By the end of the day, there was no doubt which class-winning skippers would take home the prestigious prize of a TAG Heuer Aquaracer Caribbean Limited Edition timepiece and what one lucky fleet winner would earn or her his weight in Cruzan Rum.

A tie-breaker decided the champion in the highly-competitive one-design Melges 32 class. In the end, it was Puerto Rico’s Sergio Sagramoso’s Lazy Dog that triumphed over fellow islander Luis Juarbe’s SOCA by earning the most first place finishes.

“We weren’t able to start the first race on Friday, so we thought we were out of the game. Then, we came back and won four races straight. We almost lost it at the end; we finished fourth in the last race due to a couple of mistakes. The scores were very tight the entire regatta. Racing was intense. Just like we like it,” Sagramoso explains.

Puerto Rico’s Jaime Torres driving his Smile and Wave rounded out third place in the Melges 24 Class.

A collision almost ended the hopes for a podium finish for California’s Annie Gardner and husband, Eric Whitte, who sailed their Hobie 16, Flight Risk, in the Beach Cat Class.

“We were blind-sided at the start of the fourth race on Saturday by one of our fellow competitors,” says Gardner, who has the scars on her patched hull to prove it. “Luckily, local boat builder Morgan Avery towed us back without us sinking. He stayed up all night fixing the boat so we could come back out and sail today.

Gardner’s Flight Risk finished first in the Beach Cat class. Island Sol, a Hobie 16, and Whiplash, a Falcon F-16 owned by St. Thomas’ Paul Stoeken and Teri McKenna, respectively, ended second and third.

The Virgin Islands-grown IC-24 class proved the largest, with 20 boats, and the most exciting. Puerto Rico’s Marco Teixidor, on his Cachondo, handily triumphed after losing first place last year in this class in the final race.

“It’s very challenging because there is no chance to throw-out a bad score,” Teixidor explains. “Our game plan was to sail as best as possible. That meant conservative starts followed by good boat handling and good boat speed.”

Puerto Rico’s Ramon Gonzalez earned runner-up aboard Sembrador, while St. Thomas’ Tyler Rice’s Bill T came in third.

The big boat CSA 1 class saw only two entries this year. This isn’t odd because many sailors internationally are moving to smaller-style sport boats. Spookie, a Carkeek HP 40 sailed by Connecticut’s Steve and Heidi Benjamin, earned the class win followed by Conviction, a TP 52 sailed by Clint Brooks from Barbados.

“After the second race today I told the crew I was really happy we came to race in St. Thomas for the first time. The sailing is fantastic and so were the conditions. Where else can you go swimming and paddle boarding after a day of racing,” says Benjamin.

In the CSA 2 Class, it was the Corr’s Light Racing team, headed by St. Thomas’ Peter Corr, which held its first place position from day one until the end. Corr chartered the Beneteau First 40, Southern Child, from Performance Yacht Charter, with headquarters in the UK and US.

“Our yachts are race ready,” says Lucy Reynolds, Performance Yacht Charter manager. “That means if you bring the right team, we’ll get you a podium finish. This weekend proved it.”

Dunder, the USA’s Rupert and Jan Thouron’s J/122 and El Ocaso, the USA’s Mitchell Padnos’ J/122, ended second and third, respectively.

Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Lipuscek’s J/105, Dark Star, won the CSA 3 Class. What’s more, Dark Star also won its skipper’s weight in Cruzan Rum.

“We have been working very hard as a team for the last six years and it has paid off,” says Chupi Bermudez, the mast man onboard.

The BVI-based Pipedream, a Sirena 38 owned and sailed by Chris Haycraft, ended second in the class the USVI’s Morgan Dale’s Melges 24, Boogaloo, third.

In the CSA Non-Spinnaker Class, the USVI’s Steve Schmidt triumphed aboard his Santa Cruz 70, Hotel California Too.

“I’ve won regattas on other Caribbean islands, but never on St. Thomas,” says Schmidt, who says it was the small class size combined with excellent St. Thomas- and St. Croix-based crew and equally advantageous weather conditions that lead to his boat’s win.

St. Croix’s Tony Sanpere aboard his Catalina 30, Nauticayenne, placed second and Connecticut’s Jeremi Jablonski’s Hanse 430e, Avanti, third.

Finally, St. Thomas’ Kevin Gregory won the Non-Rated Cruising Class aboard his Beneteau First 44.7, Odyssey.

“I raced this regatta in 2009 and then stopped sailing competitively. The addition of a cruising class, and the great time we had this weekend, has reignited my racing bug,” says Gregory.

St. Thomas’ Jamie Madsen aboard his IC-24, Dawn Treader, and fellow islander Brian Emerich’s Beneteau 40, Augura, finished second and third, respectively.

Something to Suit Everyone at the 42nd St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Round-the-buoy and round-the-rock courses tested the talents of seasoned sailors and weekend warriors alike on the second day of racing in the 42nd St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), presented by TAG Heuer. The 62 yacht fleet split onto two different courses that maximized the enjoyment for crews of varying skill levels as well as the performance of assorted yacht makes and models. The result was a whole lot of racing going on and a ton of fun.

The IC-24 and Beach Cat classes sailed around the buoys in Great Bay, which fronts the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas resort.

“The ICs were a tough class today with some really close competition,” says Michael Royer, a native of Peabody, Massachusetts, who moved to Puerto Rico three years ago, took up sailboat racing and is now getting his feet wet by competing on other islands. “This is the first time our crew has sailed together. So, we’ve been working the kinks out and should have it all figured out by the last day.”

Puerto Rico’s Cachondo, Sembrador and Porfin 7, respectively, are in first through third in the IC-24 class.


Puerto Rico’s Marco Teixidor’s Cachondo leads the IC-24 Class after two days of racing. Credit: Dean Barnes

Meanwhile, St. Thomas, USVI, sailors ranked at the top of the scoreboard in the Beach Cats. Flight Risk is first, followed by Island Sol and Whiplash.

The remaining six of the STIR’s eight classes sailed a course that wound around Great St. James to St. John and its offshore islands. This, combined with yesterday’s route to Charlotte Amalie and back, gave racers a chance to see the islands by sea as well as test themselves against the currents and wind patterns provided by rocks they rounded.

This type of course was perfect for entries such as Marcus Cholerton-Brown’s Sunset Child, a J/120 racing in the CSA 2 class that is owned and chartered by his US- and UK-based company, Performance Yacht Charter.

“Today was totally awesome. We have crew from the US, UK, Russia, Italy, Columbia and Portugal. Some have never raced before. Everyone gravitated to the position on the boat they were most comfortable with and it all worked out well,” says Cholerton-Brown, who is on the helm.

Corr’s Light Racing/Southern Child and El Ocaso, two other yachts chartered by Performance Yacht Charter, finished the day first and third, respectively, in CSA 2 followed by Dunder in second.


White Rhino, the USA Todd Stuart’s Swan 56, flies downwind under spinnaker. Credit: Dean Barnes.

In CSA 3, the BVI’s Chris Haycraft, who is on the helm of his Sirena 38, Pipedream, found himself the odd man out in the class.

“All of the courses today favored asymmetrical spinnaker boats and we were the only non-asymmetrical. It’s a tough class, but we had some great racing,” says Haycraft, whose family has sailed in the STIR all 42 years.

Dark Star, which won the CSA 3 in the past, is in first, followed by Boogaloo and Solstice.

The four-member crew aboard Tony Sanpere’s Catalina 30, Nauticayenne, boasted over 150 years of sailing experience. What’s more, this CSA Non-Spinnaker entrant represents the VI Disabled Sailing Team and has both physically- and visually-challenged crew.

“Our goal is Rio 2016,” says Sanpere. “If we get there, and there is an 80 percent chance we’ll make it, we’ll set a record for being the oldest Paralympic team in history.”

Nauticayenne is third in the class, with Hotel California Too first and Avanti second.

A new class to the STIR this year is Non-Rated Cruising.

“This class is an opportunity for non-racing competitive boats with no professional crew to get an introduction and be part of the racing,” says the USVI’s Brian Emerich, who is helming his Beneteau 40, Augura, and is currently in third. “The long race around the islands gave us a chance to get trimmed out and enjoy the sailing too.”

Odyssey leads the Non-Rated Cruising class followed by Dawn Treader.

One of the winningest sailors in the Caribbean, Antigua’s Bernie Evan-Wong, sailed from Antigua to race in the STIR and is in the CSA 2 class.

“We had a good day, but we weren’t able to get the boat sailing up to its handicap,” says Evan-Wong, whose TAZ is a high-performance Reichel-Pugh 37. “Even so, what I liked best was a mix of round-the-buoy and round-the-island racing that this regatta offers. It’s the best of both worlds.”

In the remaining two classes, Spookie leads CSA 1, while Lazy Dog has taken over the frontrunner position in the one-design Melges 32 Class.


Puerto Rico’s Sergio Sagramoso’s Melges 32 leads this one-design class. Credit: Dean Barnes.

Racing continues and concludes on Sunday. Music by Full Circle greets the fleet from 2:30-5:30 p.m. The Regatta Awards Ceremony starts at 6 p.m. on the STYC beach, followed by the Final Fling Party with Spectrum Band playing from 7-11 p.m.

Wild, Windy & Wonderful Racing on Day One at 42nd St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Spectacular broaches, inadvertent jibes, man overboard rescues and crazy capsizes created a dramatic start to the 42nd St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), presented by TAG Heuer. Some of the 62 yachts sailing in this March 27 to 29 event hosted out of the St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) would have called the 20- to 25-plus knot breeze and 4- to 6-foot seas survival conditions if it were not for the brilliant sunny skies and 80 degree air and water temperatures. Others reveled in the ‘typical Caribbean’ conditions and enjoyed the ride on a course that took the fleet to the Charlotte Amalie harbor and back. Everyone, however, agreed that the first day of racing in the STIR delivered the bucket list experience they anticipated.

“The life line broke right before the first start and we had crew in the water,” explains Puerto Rico’s Ivan Aponte-Gonzalez, bowman on Luis Juarbe’s Melges 32, SOCA, one of four yachts in this one-design class. “We were able to pick him up, make the start on time and actually win the race. What was really cool was going 16 to 17 knots downwind into town.”

SOCA leads the Melges 32 class tied on points with Smile and Wave in second place and Lazy Dog third after two races.

Turtling upside down with hulls in the air was the order of the day in the Beach Cat Class. It wasn’t a capsize that took the USVI Hobie 16 entry of Nuts, driven by 18-year old Nicholas Gartner with the UK’s Ian Bartlett as crew, out of the first race.


“We blew the jib before the start,” says Gartner, a senior at Antilles School who will attend either the U.S. Naval Academy or U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in the fall. “So, we came in, drove off to get another jib, rushed to put it on and then hauled off to the harbor. Thanks to the heavy wind we got there just in time to make the second race and finished third.”

Flight Risk leads the Beach Cat class, with Island Sol second and Caribbean Auto Mart third.

In the record 20-entry IC-24 Class, the BVI’s Jason Putley, on the tiller aboard CYM/INTAC, said it wasn’t so much the wind and swells as it was first day tactical issues that lead to a collision in the last of the classes three races.

“We led the first race all the way down the southside of the island (St. Thomas) until the last 25 seconds when two other boats beat us. We did pretty well in the second race, then in the third we hit another boat and our shrouds got locked together. The whole class passed us before we got untangled and got going again,” says Putley, an 11th grader at Tortola’s Cedar School, who plans to make an Olympic bid in the Laser for 2020.

Cachondo tops the IC-24 Class followed by Porfin 7 and Sembrador.


Four of his crew had never sailed before, but that didn’t stop the UK’s Peter Scholfield from achieving solid mid-pack finishes aboard his HOD 35, Zarafa, in the highly-competitive CSA 3 Class.

“It was great fun sailing today even though we didn’t necessarily come in covered in glory,” says Scholfield, a retired major in the Royal Armored Corps, whose crew are all members of the Royal Dragoon Guards who have recently served in Afghanistan. “You could say the boys had a baptism by fire.”

Dark Star, Boogaloo and Solstice, respectively, are the top three leaders in the CSA 3 Class.

The CSA 2 sported the sleek race boats, among them Nantucket Yacht Club-based Kismet, a Morris 48 owned and helmed by David Southwell.

“The conditions today are what we expect when we race in the Caribbean,” says Southwell. “We’ve raced in the RORC Caribbean 600 two years and this is the first time we’re sailing in St. Thomas. It’s very competitive here and that’s what we really like.”

Corr’s Light Racing/Southern Child leads CSA 2 followed by Spike and El Ocaso.


In the remaining three classes, yachts currently in first are Conviction/Team Varg in CSA 1, Hotel California Too in CSA Non-Spinnaker and Odyssey in Non-Rated Cruising.

Racing continues on Saturday off the southeast side of St. Thomas. Music by Flip Switch plays at STYC from 3-6 p.m. Then, from 6 p.m.-Midnight, party like at sailor at the STIR’s Yacht Haven Grande Party. Listen to Spectrum Band on stage, while dining and imbibing at nearby restaurants and bars.

Sailors cast off on the final day of regatta competition on Sunday March 29. Music by Full Circle greets the fleet from 2:30-5:30 p.m. The Regatta Awards Ceremony starts at 6 p.m. on the STYC beach, followed by the Final Fling Party with Spectrum Band playing from 7-11 p.m.

Sixty-Two Yachts Stir Up Excitement at 42nd St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Sixty-two yachts from the Caribbean, U.S. and Europe cast off Friday in the 42nd St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), presented by TAG Heuer. Hosted out of the St. Thomas Yacht Club March 27 to 29, this ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’ boasts an impressive fleet ranging from 50- to 60-foot super hi-tech sport boats to lightening quick 16-foot beach cats. Up for grabs is the prestigious prize of a TAG Heuer Aquaracer Caribbean Limited Edition watch awarded to the skippers of the yachts that win each of the regatta’s eight classes.

“Sailors love our regatta and come from all over the world to sail here because we offer truly excellent racing,” says regatta director, Bill Canfield. “Our race committee are pros. They don’t make mistakes, so time is spent out racing rather than in redress.”

Two of the STIR’s eight classes, the one-design Melges 32s and IC-24s, are forecast to be among the most competitive and most exciting.

“The same four Melges 32s that raced last weekend in the Puerto del Rey Sailing Challenge will be racing this weekend, and last weekend it came down to the last leg in the last of six races to determine the winner. It was that close!” says Puerto Rico’s Jaime Torres, who helms his Smile and Wave. “The long windy downwind race to Charlotte Amalie on Friday is ideal for the Melges 32s and it’s a great way for us to start this regatta.”

A record 20 IC-24s are racing, with teams from the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The IC-24 is a locally-modified version of a J/24.

“We are really excited about this being a record class for the ICs,” says Puerto Rico’s Marco Teixidor, who will be driving Cachondo. “There will be tough competition and that will make it a lot of fun. If we win, that will make it even better.”

In other classes, CSA 1 will be a two-horse race between two speed machines: Spookie, a Carkeek HP 40 sailed by Heidi and Steve Benjamin of Norwalk, Connecticut, and Conviction, a TP 52 owned and driven by Clint Brooks and his team from Barbados.

The CSA 2 class features everything from a pair of J/122s to New York Gosia Rojek’s Swan 42, Better Than…and Antigua’s Bernie Evan-Wong’s Reichel-Pugh 37, TAZ. Evan-Wong is definitely one to watch as he has enjoyed numerous podium finishes including at the RORC Caribbean 600 and Antigua Sailing Week.

Caribbean and visiting rock stars make up the CSA 3 class. Among these is St. Thomas’ Paul Davis on his J/27, Mag 7.

“We’ve raced this regatta for 15 years,” says Davis. “If it’s blowing 15-plus knots like its forecast, look for us to be at the front of the pack.”

The CSA Non-Spinnaker Class hosts a couple of teams that come with fun stories. One is a group of students from St. Croix’s Central High School sailing with teacher, Stan Joines, aboard Joines’ J/36 Paladin. The STIR is an annual tradition for this team that often finishes in the top of its class. Fellow Crucian sailor, Tony Sanpere, will helm his Catalina 30, Nauticayenne, with a team that makes up the Virgin Islands’ entry to the Paralympic Olympic Games.

Finally, there’s a first-time unrated class of cruising boats and for the first-time in several years a strong nine boat beach cat class.

The racing starts at 11 a.m. on Friday with the course set to Charlotte Amalie harbor. In the afternoon, the Jump-Up Party kicks off from 5-11 p.m. at STYC. The John Gazi Band plays from 3:30-5:30 p.m., with the rhythms of the Ah We Bank taking over from 7-11 p.m.

On Saturday, racing is off the southeast side of St. Thomas. Music by Flip Switch plays at STYC from 3-6 p.m. Then, from 6 p.m.-Midnight, party like at sailor at the STIR’s Yacht Haven Grande Party. Listen to Spectrum Band on stage, while dining and imbibing at nearby restaurants and bars.

Sailors launch off on the last day of regatta competition on Sunday March 29. Music by Full Circle greets the fleet from 2:30-5:30 p.m. The Regatta Awards Ceremony starts at 6:30 p.m. on the STYC beach, followed by the Final Fling party with Spectrum Band playing from 7 to 11 p.m.

Weather Routing Inc. (WRI) is the Official Weather Provider for the STIR and will provide forecasts by 6 a.m. daily during the regatta. These forecasts are available at: Weather maps and products specifically created for this event are also available at this link.

For more information about the STIR and real-time results, visit or Or, follow for the latest information on Facebook, and Twitter @stycvi