Get Ready to STIR-it Up the Fun! 46th St. Thomas International Regatta Set for March 22-24, 2019

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Register now and get ready to STIR-up the fun! The St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), set for March 22-24, 2019, is the place to be for world-class racing and the chance to trade tacks and tactics with America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean and Olympic crews on the water and off. Add the one-stop venue at the St. Thomas Yacht Club and quintessential Caribbean vibe and it’s easy to see how STIR earned its motto, ‘We Love It Here’ You will too!

“We are looking forward to welcoming STIR veterans and newcomers alike and are working hard to make the 2019 St Thomas international Regatta the best yet as our island continues to recover from last year’s hurricanes,” says Margo Lynch, commodore of the St. Thomas Yacht Club and STIR co-director with Club manager, Greer Scholes.

 

 

Every One & One-Designs Are Invited 

Everyone is invited! STIR 2019 invites CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association-handicap rule), racing, cruising and bareboat classes; IRC; ORC; Multihull, Beach Cats and One-Design classes with a minimum length of 20 feet. Some of the hottest classes will be the one-design. To date, owners of J/121s and C&C 30’s have voiced an intention to race in STIR 2019. 

“Best sailing I’ve ever done,” says Sandra Askew, of Salt Lake City, UT, who raced her C&C 30, Flying Jenny, in STIR 2017 and plans to return in 2019 with other class members. Plus, there’s “sun, palm trees, beautiful water, great hospitality and an easy flight into St. Thomas from the mainland.” 

Over 20 vessels are expected on the start line in the IC24 class with as many as 12 races planned over the three-day event. 

What I like best about sailing in STIR is that it’s the only IC24 regatta in the region that has that many boats on the starting line at once,” says Mike Finley, of St. Thomas, who will race his IC24, Huron Girl, in STIR 2019 with crew from Michigan and Boston.

 

BYOB or Charter 

Bring your own boat or charter! Chartering especially makes it easy to fly in, jump on a race-ready yacht and set sail! Over half dozen outfits are offering vessels to charter either by the boat or crew spot for STIR 2019. One of these is the St. Thomas Sailing Center, with its fleet of IC24s.

 “The IC24 is what the J-24 should have been: high performance and dinghy like handling, but incredibly comfortable for crew and skipper to sail,” says Dave Franzel, STSC director. “The fleet at STIR is competitive on the water and friendly ashore. It is also one of the largest one design keelboat fleets in the Caribbean.”  

IC24s are available for $2200 with good sails, $2700 with new sails, for the 3-day STIR, practice day and 30-day Bluewater Membership at the St. Thomas Yacht Club. To reserve an IC24 boat for the 2019 event, Email: dave@stthomassailingcenter.com or call (340) 690-3681.

For something bigger, Antigua & Barbuda-based OnDeck (www.ondecksailing.com) is chartering its Beneteau 40.7, Ortac, and Farr 65, Spirit of Juno, for STIR 2019. 

Highly-competitive IC24 fleet makes for exciting racing. Credit: Dean Barnes“Regattas in the Caribbean are surprisingly accessible. You don’t need to be a zillionaire or an expert sailor …. but you do get to race against them,” says Peter Anthony, OnDeck director. “Spirit of Juno is our ‘head boat’ meaning that individuals or small groups can join the team for an event. We normally have around 4 pro crew on board so can take a mix of experienced racers as well as a few novices. Many people form strong friendships and end up racing many times together. It’s a great team and bonding sport not to mention the legendary Caribbean after parties.” 

There’re the makings for a 3-boat minimum one-design class of J/122s. The class-winning J/122, El Ocaso, is available from www.caribbeanyachtracing.com There’s also the very-fast, well-equipped J/122 Noisy Oyster for charter (www.J122experience.com). 

Beyond this, the J/120, J-aguar, is available by the yacht or crew spot from www.caribbeanraces.com. Bring your friends and charter the Farr 70 Volvo Ocean Racer, Ocean Breeze (www.oceanbreeze.eu), fresh from a full refit and with new Elvstrom sails. Or, take your pick of the Marc Lombard 46, Pata Negra; GP42, Phan; Swan 46, Milanto; Corby 45, Incisor; a J/122 or First 40 from LV Yachting, formerly Performance Yacht Charter (www.performanceyachtcharter.com).

 

Book Flights and Accommodations Now! 

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism’s latest update in August offers excellent planning tips. 

Flights:

 

  • Spirit: Orlando to St. Thomas’ Cyril E. King Airport three flights weekly beginning November 8, 2018.
  • American Airlines: Miami to St. Thomas twice daily. Charlotte to St. Thomas daily from November 4, 2018. Philadelphia to St. Thomas daily starting on December 19. New York to St. Thomas daily starting December 22.
  • United Airlines: Daily nonstop service between Washington Dulles International Airport and St. Thomas this winter.
  • JetBlue Airways: Daily Boston-St. Thomas route between February 14, 2019 and April 22, 2019
  • Delta Air Lines: Continues serving St. Thomas with flights from New York and Atlanta.

 

Accommodations:

There are now approximately 1,050 rooms available on St. Thomas, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, resorts, timeshares, etc. Plus, there are approximately 600 villa units and 200 charter yachts available on St. Thomas/St. John. Currently, there are 830 Airbnb listings in St. Thomas.

50% Discount on Registration 

Register now at www.stthomasinternationalregatta.com! Pay in full for only US $150 between now and 1700 AST January 31, 2019. Entry fees increase to US $300 between February 1 and March 19, 2019. Registration for IC24s: US $200, Beach Cats: $200


Time for Winners! 45th St. Thomas International Regatta

 

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Great racing is what the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) is renowned for. This year, the 45th annual, held only seven months after two Category 5 hurricanes, certainly didn’t disappoint. In fact, there were tied scores among top competitors in three of five classes going into the third and final day of racing.

“The weather was fantastic. The race committee did a fantastic job. We sailed well and made no mistakes. I think that was our key to winning,” says Koem De Smedt, tactician aboard Belgian’s Philippe Moortgat’s Swan 45, Samantage, which soundly led the CSA Spinnaker 1 Class throughout the three-day regatta. “We had planned to come even before the hurricanes. It was always Philippe’s dream to bring his boat here and race the Caribbean season. We had some local knowledge aboard, and that helped since we usually do round-the-buoy rather than round-the-island racing in Europe. Our crew is good and we have sailed together for the past decade. However, it was hard for them to keep their eyes in the boat yesterday when we sailed off St. John. It was so beautiful. They wanted to sight-see.”

CSA Spinnaker 1 Class
The tied scores in CSA Spinnaker 1 going into the last day’s racing were for second and third in class. In the end, St. Thomas’ Peter Corr and his team aboard the King 40 Blitz moved up to a solid second by winning the day’s one race. Puerto Rico’s Luis Juarbe aboard his Melges 32, Soca, rounded out third.

CSA Spinnaker 2 Class
In CSA Spinnaker 2, Canada’s Rob Butler’s new Reflex 38, Touch2Play Racing and St. Croix’s Peter Stanton’s Melges 24, Boogaloo, were tied in points. Ultimately Touch2Play emerged victorious by 1-point.

“This is our third regatta on the new boat and we had pretty well worked out the kinks by the time we arrived here, although the Round the Rocks Race was a nice tune up for us,” says Butler, whose signature pink hull, spinnaker and team shirts is a nod to the team’s fundraising efforts for breast cancer research. “The competition was excellent. Basically, the winner came down to who won the race today.”

Bravissimo, St. John’s Mike Feierabend’s J/24, placed third in class.

CSA Non-Spinnaker Class
The CSA Non-Spinnaker Class saw St. Thomas’ Lawrence Aqui’s well-sailed Dufour 40, Wild T’ing turn in a solid performance by scoring four firsts in five races. This was remarkable considering the boat was toppled while on the hard in the British Virgin Islands during the hurricanes and was only ready to sail three weeks ago following repair and a trip to St. Maarten for rigging.

“We didn’t make mistakes, while the other boats took flyers when they saw us ahead and it ended up costing them,” explains St. Thomas’ Mike Williams, who called tactics aboard Wild T’ing. “What we enjoyed most was the last race, when the race committee combined CSA 2 and Non-spinnaker. It gave us a chance to actually see other race boats, not just compete against them based on time.”

Hermes, Canada’s Irek Zubko’s Pogo 12.5, finished second, while St. Thomas’ Stephen Schmidt and crew ended third in Non-Spinnaker aboard Schmidt’s Santa Cruz 70, Hotel California Too.

One-design Hobie Wave Class
The one-design Hobie Wave class was a STIR first, although beach cats in general have always been represented at this event. St. Thomas’ Bill Bacon and Pierre-James Zani were tied for first going into the final day. In the end, it was St. Thomas’ Kyree Culver who won literally single-handedly and in her first major regatta.

“I was always taught to pay attention to the sails and boat speed and that’s what I did. Plus, John Holmberg gave a clinic the day before the regatta and that really helped,” says Culver, who works at the St. Thomas Sailing Center, which chartered six Hobie Waves for STIR. Another six were brought over from Cruz Bay Watersports, in St. John.

Zani placed second while St. Thomas’ Naomi Laing finished third in the Hobie Wave class.

IC24 Class
Finally, the IC24 class definitely proved its top notch competitive nature, with the lead changing several times before the final curtain. In the end, it was St. Thomas Chris Rosenberg, who with St. Thomas boat builder Morgan Avery innovated the IC24 design, that won by a comfortable lead.

“We started practicing in January and trained together 8 to 10 times before the regatta. I think that’s what led to our victory,” says Rosenberg. “It’s amazing, when you considered that the IC24s at the Club were all smashed. Our boat was essentially totaled, but the St. Thomas Sailing Center put them all back together again beautifully, including bringing in a skilled fiberglasser, Chris Small, from New England.”

Rosenberg, who has sailed in this regatta and championed class wins several times, sums up the spirit of this event best when he says, “This year’s STIR proved every bit as exciting as years past. We had the addition of the Hobie Waves, more IC24s than in the past and substantial CSA classes. It was incredible.”

Puerto Rico’s Marco Teixidor aboard Cachondo and Fraito Lugo on Orion, finished second and third in the IC24 class, respectively.

In total, nearly 50 boats ranging from 13- to 70-feet in length raced. Crews represented everything from professional sailors to weekend warriors and boats hailed from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Antigua, the U.S.A, Canada and Europe.


Light Winds Keep Sailors on their Tactical Toes on Day 2

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Boost or bust aptly describes the day for many of the yacht racing teams on the second day of racing in the 45th St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR). Less than 10 knots of breeze proved challenging for some and for others it was a chance to put their light wind skills on display and move up the scoreboard. This theme echoed throughout the nearly 50 boat fleet, whether they were 13- or 70-feet in length, crewed by professionals or weekend warriors or homeported in the Caribbean, U.S. or Europe.

“For us, the light air was an advantage,” says Antigua’s Bernie Evan-Wong, driving his Reichel-Pugh, Team TAZ. “We do well in either light wind or heavy air, because in either of these conditions we can get up on a plane. So, it as a good day for us.”

Team TAZ moved from fourth to second place in CSA Spinnaker Racing I, behind leader Samantaga, Belgian’s Philippe Moortgat’s Swan 45. Blitz, St. Thomas’ Peter Corr’s King 40, rounds out the top three in class yet is tied in points with Team TAZ.

Touch2Play Racing, Canada’s Rob Butler’s new Reflex 38, continued its reign in the CSA Spinnaker 2 class after today’s two races. However, tied in points is St. Croix’s Peter Stanton driving the Melges 24, Boogaloo. Stanton, and his brothers Chris and Scott, won the overall top yacht award at this event as teenagers back in 2002.

“This is the second keel boat event I have ever skippered,” says Stanton. “All those past regattas I’ve won with my brothers, I have always been on the rail or in every other position except as skipper. This is a new role for me. It’s fun. So far, we’re having a good showing.”

In CSA Non-Spinnaker, St. Thomas’ Lawrence Aqui aboard his Dufour 40, Wild Thing, continues at the top of the class. In second is Canada’s Irek Zubko driving the Pogo 12.5, Hermes.

“We had a perfect start, a perfect race, and then right at the end a cloud came in, the breeze dropped to almost nothing and we sat for what seemed liked 20 minutes before we crossed the finish line,” says Zubko, who last year finished sixth in the 2017 J/24 World Championships, Zubko hopes to return to STIR next year when he’d like to charter an IC24, a design created in the U.S. Virgin Islands, yet utilizes a J/24 hull.

Competition proved razor close in the one-design IC24 class. In fact, after 10 races only two points separates Puerto Rico’s Marco Teixidor from St. Thomas’ Chris Rosenberg on Team Play. Rosenberg and St. Thomas’ Morgan Avery created the IC24 design that debuted in STIR in 2001.

“This is the most competitive class in the regatta, that’s why I sail in it,” says St. Maarten’s Frits Bus, who races with St. Thomas’ Chuck Pessler on Island Water World Racing, which moved from 8th to 6th in class today. “Everybody can sail in heavy air, its takes skill to sail in light air. We are good in light air.”

Light winds were also something St. Thomas’ John Holmberg enjoyed as he competed against 12 other boats in the regatta’s first one-design Hobie Wave Class. “I love light air. It takes work and not everyone is willing to take a deep breath and do what it takes. For example, these boats have two rudders. Rudders create drag in the water, so you want to move them very slightly. Moving the rudders too much slows you down, especially in light air.”

Holmberg, who ended third in class today St. Thomas’ Bill Bacon and Pierre-James Zani in first and second, respectively, was instrumental in introducing the Hobie Wave class to this year’s STIR.

“It’s the perfect beginner boat to serve as a pipeline to get young sailors into the sport. After all, the St. Thomas Yacht Club was founded on small one-design boat racing and look what many of our members have gone onto – the Olympics, the America’s Cup.”


Round the Rocks Race on Thursday Kicks-Off Three-Day 45th St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. A dozen boats are registered for the third annual Round the Rocks (RTR) race on Thursday. This one-day event, whose course is a 19 mile circumnavigation of the neighboring island of St. John, is a great way for teams to tune up for the main event, the 45th St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), which takes place from Friday through Sunday.

“By popular demand, we brought back the Round the Rocks race this year. This sprint around St John is both scenic and tactical. It’s a great way to kick-off STIR, especially with Rock City Brewing Company sponsoring the race and after-racing Happy Hour,” says regatta director, Bill Canfield.

The twelve-boat race fleet is split into two groups: CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association) Spinnaker and CSA Non-Spinnaker classes. Ten boats are competing in the Spinnaker class including Ontario Canada’s Rob Butler’s Reflex 38, Touch2Play Racing.

“The Round the Rock is a highlight event for two reasons: the spectacular scenery and tactical challenges due to the navigation of surrounding waters with currents and shifting winds,” says crew member, Larry Huibers.

Huibers adds, “This year will be special because we want to be part of the rebuilding process after the storms. The community has been so kind and excited to have us all down, we only hope we can return the hospitality and assist as the tourism gets back solidly in its feet. We are bringing some new crew and really look forward to seeing their joy in experiencing the Caribbean. The competition looks to be deep this year so that adds a lot of fun.”

One of Touch2Play’s competitors is Apollo, Donald Nicholson’s brand-new J/121. Built as hull #2, this will be only the second time the Weston, MA-based sailor and his team have raced the boat. The first was the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta three weeks ago, when the team enjoyed a podium placement, finishing third in its class.

“This is the third ‘big boat’ in our program; Apollo replaced my custom Farr 42, Convictus Maximus. We have been racing as a core crew for about 15 years; the core crew being myself, Denise Bienvenu, Paul White and David Malkin, including two Newport-Bermuda races, a Chicago-Mackinac race, and numerous other regattas on both coasts of the USA. But we have never raced as a team in the Caribbean. So, we are extremely excited to be honing our skills with this exciting new boat in such a wonderful venue. We also have Jeff Johnstone from J-boats on board for the RTR and STIR,” says Nicholson.

Boats sailing in the Round the Rocks race will start off St. Thomas’ east end, sail counterclockwise around St. John and finish off St. Thomas.

Onshore, Rock City Brewing Company will sponsor Happy Hour at the St. Thomas Yacht Club from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Featured products include the company’s Hull Bay Beach Lager and Dumpster Cock VIPA kegs. The Sun Kings will play live music, also starting at 4 p.m. The RTR Awards Ceremony takes place on the beach at 6:30 p.m., when prizes, including heavy-duty 40-liter Excursion Duffles from the K3 Company, are awarded for first, second and third boats in class. There will also be a perpetual trophy awarded for the boat with yacht with the best elapsed time.

Meanwhile, registration for the St. Thomas International Regatta will take place on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the St. Thomas Yacht Club.

Nearly 50 boats, with sailors from the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Antigua, the U.S.A., Canada and Europe, will take to the start at 11 a.m. on Friday off St. Thomas’ east end.


K3 Showcases Newest Product at 45th St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Register now and receive a brand new K3 Pursuit 20-Liter Hybrid Backpack. Organizers of the 2018 St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), set for March 23-25, 2018, are pleased to announce the sponsorship of The K3 Company and its newest product as this year’s regatta skipper’s bag.

“K3 is honored to once again be a part of the St Thomas International Regatta,” says Lisa Keogh, managing partner of the Dallas, TX-headquartered company, who grew up sailing and racing catamarans. “We have chosen to highlight our newest 2018 haute product, the K3 Pursuit, a 20-liter hybrid dry bag backpack as part of our sponsor support. The K3 Pursuit backpack offers a premium quick-dry ventilated harness along with high frequency welded air- and water-tight seams to keep your gear safe, dry and shed water in style.”

The K3 Company’s support of STIR includes the provision of two other high-quality outdoor marine gear products. One is the K3 PRO-TECH 10-liter dry bag. Built with ultra-rugged construction and water tight seams, this product offers supreme functionality and un-mistakable class for the stylish sailor. The second is the K3 40-liter Excursion Duffle. Derived from tough tarpaulin laminate and a heavy-duty flex base, key features include quick-release ergonomic backpack straps, internal mesh zip pocket(s), an internal zip wet/dry pocket, compression straps, twin haul handles, an external mesh zip pocket, hefty shoulder strap, double stitching, and lockable zipper. It’s definitely the ‘liter of the pack’. These prized products will be awarded to class winners in the Round the Rocks Race, set for March 22, and for STIR.

Something for Everyone
Not a skipper? Not a class winner? No worries! From now through March 31, K3 is offering an exclusive 30% discount as part of its STIR sponsorship. For those in need of travel and/or active gear, please check out the K3 website at: www.thek3company.com. Utilize coupon code STIR2018 @ checkout.

The K3 Company is a global manufacturer and distributor of premium outdoor gear and accessories, and a worldwide leader within the waterproof gear and accessories sector. Through an untiring commitment to innovation and original designs, K3 is recognized internationally for the functional and premium products the brand produces without the lofty price tag. K3 professionals strive daily to push the boundaries with leading edge design, so its customers can push the limits outdoors – on or off the water.

“K3 has been a valuable sponsor of St. Thomas Yacht Club events for the past few years,” says regatta director, Bill Canfield. “It;’ wonderful that they have stayed with us in tough times after the storms. Their waterproof bags are a great addition to STIR.”


New Hobie Wave Class at 45th St. Thomas International Regatta

There’s a brand new, first-ever opportunity to ride the waves at the 45th St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), set for March 23-25, 2018. Hobie Waves, that is, easy-to-sail, one- or two-person, beach-launched catamaran that are fast and fun to sail. While beach cats have long been a key class in STIR, this is the first time Hobie Waves will be available to charter to race as a one-design class on their own separate course in a special two-day, March 24 and 25, regatta within STIR. Not sure how to sail a Hobie Wave? Multihull national champion and St. Thomas native, John Holmberg, will host a FREE beachside clinic on March 23 from 3 to 4 p.m., where he will cover basic rules, tactics and trim.

 

“It’s great to have a new one design fleet join our regatta. Getting 12 or more boats of any type on the water at the same time in the Caribbean is a positive trend. We welcome the Hobie Waves to the STIR. Hopefully local sailors will take advantage of the wonderful inexpensive way to compete in an international event,” says regatta director, Bill Canfield.

 

The Hobie Wave class is an excellent opportunity for the Virgin Islands community to participate in and say they’ve sailed in STIR, known as the ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’. What’s more, it’s an easy and affordable way for hurricane relief workers on-island in March to have access to a boat, get a taste of the territory’s spectacular marine environment, and plan to visit again on vacation in the future.


Margaritaville St. Thomas Restaurant and Resort On Board as Sponsor of 45th St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. The Margaritaville St. Thomas Restaurant and Resort is on board as a sponsor of the 45th St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), regatta organizers are pleased to announce. Opened in August of 2015 and inspired by the lifestyle and lyrics of Jimmy Buffett, the property, including pools, the Landshark Bar & Grill, License to Chill and 5 O’clock Somewhere Bar, is and has been a strong supporter of the Virgin Islands community.

“In light of events from late 2017, Margaritaville St. Thomas continues to have a primary focus on the community and re-build of the island. We’ve accomplished this through various efforts such as supporting relief workers, participating in road and beach clean ups, and supplying ice to law enforcement on hot days. Most important to the island is providing an oasis to locals, linemen and tourists alike to wind down after a long recovery day. The resilience of the island is stronger than ever and as Jimmy quotes the island “…Feel the stinging, I’ve been given, never ending, unrelenting…” we are VI Strong,” says Rodney Renner, general manager-resort operations for Wyndham St. Thomas, a Margaritaville Vacation Club Resort.

While the resort is currently closed for post-storm renovations, there’s plenty for Parrot Heads and STIR sailors alike to enjoy at the Margaritaville St. Thomas Restaurant, which is open. The menu is filled with local fare such as Fried Grouper and Coconut Crusted Snapper, as well as signature dishes such as ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’. Plus the Margaritas are always flowing. Local Live entertainment is held at the Six String Stage accented by the sight and sound of waves crashing in the background.

“We are pleased to have Margaritaville St. Thomas support STIR this year. They have proven to be a real asset to the community during these tough times,” says regatta director, Bill Canfield.

St. Thomas International Regatta
STIR, celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, is a globally-recognized regatta renowned for its fantastic racing, first-class race committee and friendly can-do attitude towards its competitors. This year’s theme focuses on getting back to the ‘good old days’ and simple pleasures of Caribbean racing in the aftermath of major hurricanes last fall.


Omega Sponsors Impressive Watch for IC24 Class Winner

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Organizers of the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) are proud to announce that Omega, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer, will sponsor the illustrious prize of an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra timepiece to the winner of this year’s IC24 class.

Photo: The Seamaster Aqua Terra by Omega.

“Omega is proud to support one of the most prestigious regattas in the Caribbean with a long history of exciting and memorable moments. The IC24 class has become the largest one-design keelboat fleet in the Caribbean with high caliber sailors continuing to join the class. We see the IC24 class having the potential to be at the forefront of competitive sailing in the Caribbean, attracting interest not just from local talented sailors, but top sailors from around the world,” says Alia Fontes, manager of the Omega Boutique in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Seamaster Aqua Terra pays tribute to Omega’s rich maritime heritage, thus is an elegant and excellent watch for the sailing enthusiast. This model features a symmetrical case designed out of stainless steel, with a wave-edged design featured on the back. The blue dial is distinguished by a horizontal ‘teak’ pattern, which is inspired by the wooden decks of luxury sailboats. There is also a date window at 6 o’clock and rhodium-plated hands and indexes filled with white Super-LumiNova. Blue is used for the central seconds hand and the four quarter numbers on the minute track. This chronometer is certified at the industry’s highest standard by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS).

“We are thrilled to have Omega join us as a sponsor and offer a fantastic timepiece to the winner of the competitive IC24 class. This will push the competitors to a new level to take home this fantastic prize,” says regatta director, Bill Canfield.

STIR, celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, is a globally-recognized regatta renowned for its fantastic racing, first-class race committee and friendly can-do attitude towards its competitors. This year’s theme focuses on getting back to the ‘good old days’ and simple pleasures of Caribbean racing in the aftermath of major hurricanes last fall.


St. Thomas Yacht Club Named Wight Vodka’s Favorite Yachting Bar in the Caribbean, Club Gears up for it’s 45th St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. If your bucket list includes having a drink at the 2017 Favorite Yachting Bar in the Caribbean, then tick that box with us March 23 to 25 at the St. Thomas International Regatta. Announced on January 3, 50° North, creators of Wight Vodka and Scuttlebutt Europe announced that the STIR-host St. Thomas Yacht Club won its annual contest in a special Caribbean category to recognize bars that were hard hit by the hurricanes last fall.

“It’s an honor to have received this recognition, especially as the Club is still recovering from the after effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria,” says regatta director, Bill Canfield. “As a result, this will not be our biggest STIR, but we can guarantee everyone a special time. For those who have never visited, Cowpet Bay is a beautiful place to finish a race and the Club and its bar are located beachfront here. Plus, for those that are long timers, think back to your first Caribbean regatta and what a great experience it was. We are offering this same vibe this year with an emphasis on ‘simple fun and great sailing’. That’s why we love it here!”

Photo: Over 20 IC24s are expected to race in STIR 2018, possibly the largest one-design class in a Caribbean regatta. Credit: Dean Barnes

IC24’s A Plenty
A sampling of who’s registered so far shows what might be the largest one-design class in a Caribbean regatta. Over 20 IC24s, with sailors from around the Caribbean and World, are expected to compete in up to a dozen races over three days with a mix of windward/leeward and island races.

“This event gathers the largest number of IC24s in the Caribbean, offers great race courses, good variety and organizers keep it fun both on and off the water,” says Puerto Rico’s Jaime Torres, who will helm his Smile and Wave with a strong team, consisting of Alejandro Carrera on bow and Gretchen Ortiz in the pit. “It’s a long-standing tradition for my family and I to race and enjoy the spectacular hospitality of the St. Thomas Yacht Club for the St. Thomas International Regatta. Now, we have a new tradition. That is, we ask talented kids or women to come in and drive the boat, thus giving the class a source of new talent.”

The IC24 fleet at the St. Thomas Sailing Center, located at the St. Thomas Yacht Club, were expertly repaired post-hurricane to their racing best by famed fiberglass specialist, Chris Small, of Chris Small Boatworks, in Ipswich, Massachusetts. IC24s are still available for charter from the St. Thomas Sailing Center. The STIR charter package fee of $2100 with decent sails and $2800 with new sails, includes a ready-to-race IC24 for the three-day STIR, a practice day the Thursday before and a 30-day Bluewater Membership in the St. Thomas Yacht Club.

New Boats Debut in Racing Class
Teams from Canada, the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico are all looking forward to racing new boats at the 2018 STIR. One of these is Rob Butler’s Touch2Play racing team.

“The J88, which we raced last year in STIR, has been replaced with a Reflex 38,” says Larry Huibers, manager of Collingwood, Ontario-based Butler’s team. “It’s a slightly larger platform, which will host our crew in a little more comfort and make transiting to the other events easier. The blend of great tight racing and fun shore side activities makes coming back a priority for us.”

New to owner Emanuele Bianchi, of Chicago, Illinois, is the 2015-built Tartan 101, Red Hot Caribe, which Bianchi describes as a 33-foot high performance fractional sloop with a very generous carbon rig powered by top notch North Sails.

“We are a mix of fun, avid sailors, mostly based in the Great Lakes, peppered with East and West Coast, Canadian and European flavor,” he says. “Our team is comprised of a group of highly competitive, qualified amateurs with broad experience that includes a mix of ocean, buoy, medium to long distance and one-design sailboat racing. STIR 2018 will be one of the highlights of a season spend enjoying fun island-hopping deliveries as we explore the beauty of the Caribbean.”

Back after a year’s hiatus is STIR 2016 racing class winners, Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Lipuscek and his team aboard a new Dark Star.

“The new Dark Star is a recently purchased McConaghy 38, which is larger and faster than the previous Dark Star, a J/105,” explains Rafael ‘Rafi’ Martinez, who like many of the team’s crew have raced in STIR since the early 1990s.” Our core crew will remain the same and we are pumped to see what this boat can do in the Caribbean trade winds.”
Photo: Rob Butler’s former J/88 Touch2Play races in STIR 2017. Butler will be back for 2018 on his new yet same-named, Reflex 38. Credit: Dean Barnes.


It’s Back to the Good Old Days of Caribbean Racing! 45th St. Thomas International Regatta Set for March 23-25, 2018

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. If you enjoyed Caribbean racing in the 1970s and 1980s – or heard the stories and wished you were there – this year’s St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), set for March 23-25, 2018, is the place to be!

After some tough soul searching, STIR organizers at the host St. Thomas Yacht Club realized it will be unfair to promise a full-scale regatta without our dock and deck covering. So, the next best thing was to roll back the clock to a simpler era.

“It’s all about simpler times, more fun, no worries and a chance to just come and enjoy the sailing,” says regatta director, Bill Canfield, who has been involved in STIR for all but one of its 45 years and can attest to the great laidback low-key island vibe in the early years. “We will of course offer wonderful sailing ‘around the rocks’, with our veteran PROs, great beach parties, cold rum and hot music.”

STIR 2018 invites CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association-handicap rule) racing, cruising and bareboat classes; Multihull, Beach Cats and One-Design classes with a minimum length of 20 feet. The hot, hot, hot class will be the one-design IC 24’s with over 20 vessels expected on the start line and as many as 12 races over three days.

BYOB or Charter 

Bring you own boat or charter! Chartering especially makes it easy to fly in, jump on a race-ready yacht and set sail!

 

*          St. Thomas Sailing Center

            Yachts: IC24s

            Charter: By the Yacht

            Contact: Dave Franzel, (340) 714-4173, stycsailingcenter@gmail.com,

www.stsc.styc.club

 

*          Caribbean Races

           Yachts: J/120 (J-aguar) and Kiwi 35 (Wild Devil)
           Charter: By Yacht or by Crew Spot
            Contact: Ben Jelic, (721) 527-5006, mrbenjelic@gmail.com,

www.caribbeanraces.com

 

*          OnDeck Racing

           Yachts: Beneteau 40.7 (Ortac) and Farr 65 (Spirit of Juno)
           Charter: By Yacht or by Crew Spot
           Contact: Peter Anthony, (268) 562-6696, antigua@ondecksailing.com,

www.ondecksailing.com

 

*          Caribbean Yacht Racing Ltd.

Yachts: J/122 (El Ocaso)
Charter: By Yacht
Contact: Bob Hillier, USA +1 (262) 216-5967; St. Maarten +1 (721) 586-4900, bob@caribbeanyachtracing.comwww.caribbeanyachtracing.com

 

*          J122 Experience

           Yachts: J122 (Noisy Oyster)
           Charter: By Yacht or with First Mate
           Contact: Olivier Parchet, +41 79 297 46 81, oparchet@pebble-home.com,
           www.J122experience.com

 

50% Discount on Registration 

In keeping with the simpler old-time theme, even the entry fees for STIR 2018 have been rolled back a few decades. Register and pay in full for only US $150 between now and 1700 AST January 31, 2018. Entry fees increase to US $300 between February 1 and March 20, 2018. Registration for IC24s: US $200, Beach Cats: $200

For assistance with accommodations, please Email: stycisv@gmail.com