Budget Marine & Marlow Ropes Sponsor Volunteer Shirts for 2019 St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Volunteers are the lifeblood of many Caribbean regattas. This is certainly true of the 2019 St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), set for March 22-24. To recognize these give-back participants, regatta organizers are pleased to announce that Budget Marine and Marlow Ropes have volunteered to sponsor the regatta volunteer shirts for STIR 2019.

“Nearly 100 volunteers help to make STIR happen on the water and off. We are grateful to all of them and to Budget Marine and Marlow Ropes for enabling us to say, ‘thank you’ to them in a tangible way,” says Margo Lynch, STIR co-director and commodore of STIR host, the St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC).

Budget Marine’s St. Thomas store, which is located adjacent to Independent Boatyard 1.5 miles west of the STYC off Route 32, as well as the St. Maarten-headquartered chandlery’s 11 other Caribbean island locations, stocks a comprehensive range of Marlow products and accessories to assist and support sailors throughout the season. These range from Marlow’s world class Racing, Cruising and Dinghy ropes to their every-day mooring lines and accessories.

“Marlow Ropes are delighted to sponsor the St Thomas International Regatta 2019 in partnership with Budget Marine,” says Emma Donovan, marketing manager Marlow Ropes: “Now in its 46th year, the regatta is one of the greatest competitions for sailboats in the Caribbean and we are looking forward to seeing some great racing in superb conditions.”

The spirit of the sea runs strong at Budget Marine as the company has been part of events for years and in many cases initiated them. Company founder and a sailor himself, Robbie Ferron, set the tone from the beginning. He was one of the initiators of the Heineken Regatta in 1980. Last year, although a tough year after the hurricanes, Budget Marine supported close to 40 events big and small throughout the Caribbean. This year, Ferron initiated a new event: the First Caribbean Multihull Challenge.

“We chose to sponsor the volunteer shirts for STIR as the volunteers are the ones making it happen – from initiating and planning to doing the work. Getting people excited is always easy but getting things done is a little more difficult and we owe it to those that take the time and put in the effort to make these events work,” says Kathy Kurtz, general manager of Budget Marine St. Thomas. “We at Budget Marine pride ourselves in always continuing to develop and promote on the water activities as well as motivate the youth to be part of both the fun events and the serious maritime business. And, of course, there is a big chance that you will see us on the water whether participating in the event or enjoying the outstanding sailing and environmental conditions of the Caribbean!”

The K3 Company Renews Sponsorship of St. Thomas International Regatta, March 22-24, 2019 – Offers Discounts Until December 31!

Organizers of the 2019 St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), set for March 22-24, 2019, are pleased to announce that The K3 Company has renewed its sponsorship. The global manufacturer and distributor of premium outdoor gear and accessories will provide one of its newest products – the K3 DRIFTER 20 Liter Dry Bag Backpack – as STIR 2019’s official skipper’s bags.

“We are excited to continue our support of STIR 2019 as well as the St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) and its numerous events throughout the year,” says Lisa Keogh, managing director of the Dallas, TX, USA-headquartered company and a racing sailor herself. “The STIR regatta is a main attraction on the sailing calendar and continues to attract a very competitive international field. Year over year, the STIR event is highly anticipated by competitive sailors, spectators and sponsors alike. We at K3 are passionate about supporting our communities, especially in the Caribbean, where we supply leading edge products so our athletes, competitors and customers alike can push their limits outdoors.”

The K3 DRIFTER 20 Liter Dry Bag Backpack, available in lime, gray and orange, is a hybrid model that features a ventilated quick dry harness pioneered by K3. It’s ultralight and quick dry attributes make it perfect for sailing and water sports enthusiasts. The dry-bag backpack also features two exterior splash proof pockets for quick access to keys, cash, sun screen and more. Reflective trim on both the front and back of the bag means the bag is easily visible day and/or night.  Most importantly, the drifter is constructed with 500 Denier Tarpaulin and RF (radio-frequency) welded seams with no stitching, which lends to airtight and watertight seams. It actually floats.

The K3 Company’s support of STIR 2019 also includes the provision of a K3 PRO-TECH 10-liter dry bag in white and black. This product is built with ultra-rugged construction and water tight seams, offering supreme functionality and un-mistakable class for the stylish sailor.

Can’t wait until March? Or, have a sailor on your holiday gift list? From now through December 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 STIR2019 @ checkout.

Through an untiring commitment to innovation and original designs, K3 is recognized internationally for the functional and premium waterproof gear the brand produces without the lofty price tag. K3 continues to push the boundaries with leading edge design, so its customers can push the limits outdoors – on and off the water.

“We are thankful for The K3 Company’s continued sponsorship of STIR and other STYC events. Their high-quality, durable, waterproof bags are really sought-after by our sailors and are an integral and valuable part of the whole STIR regatta experience,” says commodore Margo Lynch, co-regatta director with STYC manager Greer Scholes.

STIR, celebrating its 46th year, is a globally-recognized regatta renowned for its fantastic racing, first-class race committee and friendly can-do attitude towards its competitors.

Register Now! STIR 2019 offers classes for CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association-handicap) Racing or Cruising; IRC; ORC; Multihull; Beach Cat or One Design classes with a minimum length of 20-feet. Pay only US $150 until January 31, 2019. Entry fees increase to US $300 between February 1 and March 20, 2019. Registration for IC24s: US $200, Beach Cats: $200. Register too for the Round the Rocks Race on March 21. To register and to find the NOR, visit: www.stthomasinternationalregatta.com

Traveling to St. Thomas is easy! American, United, JetBlue, Delta and Spirit all fly direct to St. Thomas from cities such as Philadelphia, Washington, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Orlando and Miami. Stay and play. Hotels, B&B’s, resorts, villas, condos and Airbnb’s are open.

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. 



  • 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.



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.”

Perfect Conditions on First Day of 45th St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. The Caribbean lived up to its reputation as one of the best places on the planet to sail during the first day of racing in the 45th St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR). The nearly fifty boats, competing in four classes, reveled in the perfect conditions: 10- to 15-knots of breeze, 3- to 5-foot swells, blue sunny skies and temperatures comfortably in the 80s. With the weather throwing no curve balls, the big focus of the day for the racers was on each other. This proved formidable given the depth of talent in each class.

“We’ve sailed extensively in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, such as in the UK and the Netherlands,” says Philippe Moortgat, the Brussels, Belgian-based owner of the Swan 45, Samantaga, Moortgat has vacationed with his family for many years in the Virgin Islands during the winter holidays and without his boat. This year, he decided to combine his love of racing and the Caribbean on a trip to STIR and other Caribbean regattas. The first day of racing was indeed rewarding as without local knowledge and nearly half of his crew novices, Samantaga leads the CSA Spinnaker Racing class after two races. “I really like sailing around the island, around the rocks. It’s new to us here, but we had good wind and a very good day.”

The Spinnaker 1 class is extremely competitive with only four points separating the first through fifth places. In fact, both second and third place boats, Puerto Rico’s Luis Juarbe’s Melges 32, Soca and the USA’s Robin Team’s chartered J/122, Teamwork/El Ocaso, respectively are tied on points. Ditto for the boats in fourth and fifth place, Antigua’s Bernie Evan-Wong’s RP 37, Team TAZ, and St. Thomas’ Peter Corr’s King 40, Blitz. Blitz won this class in 2017 and Corr hopes to do the same again this year.

“The conditions were great,” says Corr. “But the courses today were mainly reaches. Blitz is at its worst reaching. Hopefully we won’t have long reaching runs tomorrow.”

In the Spinnaker 2 class, Puerto Rico’s David Fernandez, and his team aboard his Holland 11-meter, Atorrante, didn’t take the lead. That honor belonged to Canada’s Rob Butler’s crew aboard his new Reflex 38, Touch2Play Racing. However, what the Puerto Rico-based team aboard the Holland 11 meter had was a solid third place and great fun.

“We had good wind and great competition. Touch2Play and Boogaloo (St. Croix’s Peter Stanton’s Melges 24) were the boats we saw most on the course. In fact, in the first race, we were neck and neck with Touch2Play around Buck and Capella islands. We were higher and faster and traded tacks for a while. Eventually, Touch2Play got away from us,” says Greg Fink, who trimmed spinnaker. Three of Atorrante crew were 16-year-olds who just graduated from the Optimist dinghy: David Perez Fernandez, Kyle Fink and Fabio Santiago.

There was equally close racing in the CSA Non-Spinnaker class between leader, St. Thomas’ Lawrence Aqui driving his Dufour 40, Wild Thing, and second place Hermes, a Pogo 12.5 sailed by Ontario Canada’s Irek Zubko.

“At one point, it was almost like we were match racing,” says Zubko.

Aqui agrees and explains, “We got into a tacking duel. They beat us at it, but we beat them overall based on handicap.”

The one-design IC24 class was the largest with 14 boats. The class lead changed often through the day with St. Thomas’ Chris Rosenberg’s Bill T. emerging on top by two points after five races. One competitor, St. John’s Doug McLean, felt just getting to the start line was a victory. “My IC24 was destroyed in (hurricane) Irma. We hauled it out, built a form and had to rebuild the foredeck. Morgan Avery (one of the original designers of the IC24) was working nearby and shared with us what he would do. That was invaluable. We finally launched the boat three days ago. That was the happiest day of my life since the hurricane. We rigged the boat after that. Now, we’re now only sailing, but holding our own, often in the top five in many races today.”

STIR 45 Sets Sail

Nearly fifty boats will compete in the three-day 45th St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), starting Friday. Last year’s podium finishers well represent CSA Spinnaker Classes. In fact, the first through third place boats in Spinnaker 1 in 2017 are back to battle again. In order, these are St. Thomas’ Peter Corr’s King 40, Blitz; Teamwork powered by El Ocaso; and Big(gest) Trouble, St. Petersburg, Florida’s Tom Elsen’s Melges 32. Likewise, Touch2Play Racing’s Butler’s is back and looks forward to bettering their second-place finish last year in CSA Spinnaker 2.

New this year is a one-design Hobie Wave class. The beef up of the beach cat class this year is ideal since the boats are beach-able. This is something that helps ease the traffic at the dock, which is much smaller due to hurricane damage. Beach cat sailing is also great fun!

“Beach cat racing is very in touch with the water and is usually laid back with lots of laughter out on the course and even more on shore,” says St. Thomas’ John Holmberg, who has sailed a number of types of beach cats in STIR in the past and is a former Prindle 19 National Champion. “I am looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones too.”

Another Hobie Wave entrant is St. Thomas’ Kyree Culver. “This will be my first time skippering in a major regatta. I like the fun and friendly attitude of the beach cat sailors. I will be sailing by myself.; no crew needed on the Hobie Wave! I’m excited about the range of experience in the fleet. There will be newcomers like me and experts like John Holmberg.

Equally large at 13 boats is the one-design IC24 class, with sailors representing the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and the U.S.A.

“We are looking forward to giving our best in the IC24 class competition, to support our neighboring island of St. Thomas, and to have lots of fun,” says Puerto Rico’s Luigi Miranda, who is crewing on El Castigo del Pollo. “Our skipper, Gilberto Rivera, is an experienced IC24 and J24 class competitor with previous STIR participations. Our trimmer, Kiko Dalmau, is another experienced sailor that has participated in many international sailing championships in other classes such as Melges 32. Our foredeck, Lucas Miranda, is a young experienced sailor that has represented Puerto Rico in several international youth championships in the RS-X and Techno windsurfing classes.”

Round the Rocks Winners Announced, 45th St. Thomas International Regatta Starts Friday

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Nearly a dozen boats reveled in the mix of spectacular scenery plus tactical challenges in brisk winds and bumpy seas as the fleet sailed around the island of St. John in the 3rd Round the Rocks Race. In the end, it was Teamwork powered by El Ocaso, a J122 chartered by Beaufort, NC’s Robin Team and his family from Caribbean Yacht Racing Ltd. that won the CSA Spinnaker 1 Class, plus earned their name on the Perpetual Trophy for Best Elapsed Time. That time was 3 hours, 32 minutes and 54 seconds to circumnavigate the 19-square-mile island of St. John, home of the Virgin Islands National Park.

“This is our first time sailing in the U.S. Virgin Islands, although the team has been racing together for over 35 years,” says Team. “What I loved about the race today was tacking on the weather side in and out of the coves. Also, getting in close to the cliffs, where we’d get a lift. We made great strides following those lifts.”

Antigua’s Bernie Evan-Wong and his crew aboard the Reichel-Pugh 37, Taz, finished second in the CSA Spinnaker I class, followed by Ontario Canada’s Rob Butler and his team aboard the Reflex 38, Touch2Play Racing in third. In the CSA Spinnaker 2 class, the winner was St. Thomas’ Stephen Schmidt and his fellow sailors aboard Schmitt’s Santa Cruz 70, Hotel California Too.

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.”