Keen Competition, K3 Prized Bags & Quelbe Band – 50th STIR, March 29-31, 2024

St. Thomas, USVI. Keen competition complete with cool prizes like K3 Waterproof Bags, and a headlining Quelbe band brings the best of the present and past to the 50th Anniversary St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), set for Easter Weekend, March 29-31, 2024. Don’t miss out! Enter now at yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eid=16227. Everyone is invited! STIR 2024 invites CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association-handicap rule), racing, cruising, and bareboat classes; ORC; Large Multihulls; Hobie Waves; and One-Design classes with a minimum length of 20 feet. Get an extra day to play by entering the Round the Rocks Race yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eid=16226, on March 28. The competitive eye-candy course circumnavigates the 19-square-mile neighboring island of St. John, home of the Virgin Islands National Park.

Flying Jenny, USA's Sandra Askew's Cape 31, sails proudly before a backdrop of Beautiful St. John, US Virgin Islands inthe 2023 St. Thomas International Regatta
Photo: The USA’s Sandra Askew’s Cape 31, Flying Jenny, in STIR 2023. Credit: Dean Barnes

“What has always defined the St. Thomas International Regatta is world-class racing. This year, we welcome a highly-competitive fleet of teams who will compete on professionally set courses by some of the best race management in the world. Combine this with great prizes like K3 bags, the friendly island-style vibe of a St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC)-run event held beachfront, and a special 50th anniversary Saturday night party with the Quelbe Resurrection band, and it’s an event not to miss. True to our tagline, ‘We Love It Here! Come Join Us!’,” says Pat Bailey, who co-directs STIR 2024 with Greer Scholes.

Sneak Peek at Entries

The swift-sailing lineup of entries for STIR 2024 includes a mix of One-Design and CSA-handicap race teams.

One of the four boats sailing in the One-Design Cape 31 class is Flying Jenny.

“We raced the boat last year in the UK and will return to the UK in 2024, but the St. Thomas International Regatta is a perfect place for us to do some racing and training. The event is well run and everyone there makes us feel so welcome. I most enjoy the breeze, sunshine, and the landscape. We have an international crew, and they are magnificent,” says the USA’s Sandra Askew, Flying Jenny owner, whose team includes Rob Greenhalgh, Sean O’Rouck, Alex Gouff, Josie Gideon, Buddah, Drew Barnes, and Dave Askew.

Apollo, a J/121 Sails behind a rock crowned by seabirds in the 2023 St. Thomas International Regatta racing.
Photo: The USA’s Donald Nicholson’s J/121, Apollo, racing in STIR 2022. Credit Dean Barnes

Apollo, the USA’s Donald Nicholson’s J/121 will be back and race in the CSA Spinnaker 2 Class with nearly a dozen other boats. She is hull #2 and raced mostly out of her homeport in Newport, Rhode Island. Her inaugural ocean race was the 2018 Newport Bermuda Race where she won the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division and finished 6th overall. Apollo’s first STIR regatta was also in 2018, a few months before the Newport-Bermuda win, which proved a wonderful way for Nicholson and his crew to break in the new vessel. Apollo returned to STIR 2022 and is now back with much pent-up enthusiasm.

“Our crew is Corinthian and, with few exceptions, amateur. The team hails from the East Coast of both the U.S. and Canada and some of us have raced together for over 20 years. Given our geographic dispersion, we generally do regatta racing or distance races,” says Nicholson, who is Apollo’s owner and driver. “In addition to our love for regatta racing, we enjoy coming back to STIR for the beautiful Caribbean surroundings, the consistent breeze, stiff competition, and the camaraderie of the event. We especially love point-to-point course racing and despise the monotony of windward-leewards. Adding to that, we enjoy the quality and professionalism of the organizers and race officials, as well as the hospitality of the St. Thomas Yacht Club. We are also looking forward to participating again in the Round the Rocks.”

Puerto Rico’s Enrique ‘Keki’ Figueroa sails to windward in his Melges 24, Exodus.
Photo: Puerto Rico’s Enrique ‘Keki’ Figueroa’s Melges 24, Exodus. Courtesy Enrique Figueroa.

Racing against Apollo in CSA 2 will be Puerto Rico’s Enrique ‘Keki’ Figueroa, and his team on the Melges 24, Exodus.

“Our team has been attending St. Thomas regatta since 1997. We have sailed J24s, with a best place of second in 1997 or 1998; Hobie Cats, in which we won that class in 2002 and 2003; and IC24s in the past years, with a top 5 finish on Kuliagus. We now bought a Melges 24 to be able to compete in other major Caribbean regattas, because it’s a lot of fun to sail and tow with my other sailboat. Our crew is my sailing family. Very tight group, we have too much fun,” says Figueroa.

PRIZES & PARTIES

Racing will be only half the fun at the 50th Anniversary STIR. There will be food, drink, music, and toes-in-the-sand dancing at the St. Thomas Yacht Club’s beachfront venue. On Saturday, March 30, the Quelbe Resurrection band will play live, bringing that old-time island vibe back with a toe-tapping call-and-response-style singing and drumming performance. Quelbe is the official music style of the U.S. Virgin Islands and currently, Quelbe Resurrection is the only band on St. Thomas and St. John that regularly performs this music.

STIR, which started as the Rolex Cup Regatta in 1974, has always been known as the ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’ for its prized timepieces. This year, the tradition continues with signature U.S. Virgin Islands watches from Cardow Jewelers for class winners.

Longtime stalwart sponsor, The K3 Company, is onboard this year too, with exquisitely crafted waterproof bags for class winners. These include the heavy-duty 35L Typhoon waterproof dry-bag backpack. One of the latest additions to the San Antonio, TX-headquartered company’s line, the ultra-rugged construction, and RF heat welded watertight seams means the Typhoon dry-bag sheds water in style.

Photo: The K3 Company’s heavy-duty 35L Typhoon waterproof dry-bag backpack. Courtesy K3.
Photo: The K3 Company’s heavy-duty 35L Typhoon waterproof dry-bag backpack. Courtesy K3.

“There has always been a very strong connection between K3 and sailing, especially surrounding the STYC events. We share many common values:  tradition, passion, perseverance, and strive for excellence,” says Lisa Keogh, founder of The K3 Company, a global manufacturer and distributor of premium outdoor products, specializing in waterproof gear and accessories.

All registered skippers will receive one of K3’s 20L TPU dry bags, another of the company’s most recent inventions. Offering a more lightweight and sustainable thermoplastic urethane material, this product is very forgiving and strong.

As a bonus, K3 is offering a 40% discount on purchases to all STIR participants through March 31, 2024. Please order on the website www.thek3company.com and use the discount code STIR2024 at checkout.

STIR 2024 is a Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta, with green initiatives such as paperless event management and a water refill station.

Get Ready, Get Set – Enter Today!

Enter the 50th STIR now (yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eid=16227). Pay only U.S. $400. Entry for IC24s is U.S. $340 and Hobie Waves is U.S. $200.

In addition to IC24s, Ondeck is offering its First 36.7, Blueprint, for whole boat charter and with new race sails, www.ondecksailing.com/st-thomas-international-regatta-stir/, or Email: antigua@ondecksailing.com. The J/120, J-aguar is available for charter from www.caribbeanraces.com, Email: mrbenjelic@gmail.com. LV Yachting, based in the UK, is offering five vessels for charter: Pata Negra (Marc Lombard IRC 46), El Ocaso (J/122), Panacea X (Salona 45), Emily of Cowes (Elan 450) and an XP50. To reserve, visit www.lvyachting.com or Email: chris.b@lvyachting.com

Strong Sponsor Support

STIR organizers thank the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism; The Moorings; Milagro Tequila, Bacardi Rum, Stoli Vodka, and Leatherback Brewing, distributed by the West Indies Company; Cardow, K3, and Ocean Surfari for their strong sponsor support.

For more information, visit www.stthomasinternationalregatta.com, Email: manager@stthomasyachtclub.org or Regatta Co-Director Pat Bailey at simpleislandboy51@gmail.com, or call (340) 775-6320. Check STIR out on Facebook (www.facebook.com/stirvi), Twitter @stirvi, and Instagram #STIRVI