Registration Open! St. Thomas International Regatta Set for March 23-25, 2018

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Organizers of the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) are pleased to announce that 2018 event, set for March 23 to 25, will take place as scheduled despite damage to the island from Hurricane’s Irma and Maria. Never in the 45-year history of STIR has a fall storm, even a major one, interrupted the running of the ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’, and it will not in 2018. The host St. Thomas Yacht Club suffered some damage and the fleet took more than a few dents, but the venue for fantastic round the island races is still very much here. The resilience of regatta organizers, sponsors, volunteers, and club members as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands’ business community, hotel and tourism sectors is strong. Show your support and be part of our island’s recovery and future.

It’s All About Time at the St. Thomas International Regatta

Several classes were too close to call going into the final day of racing at the 44th St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), held March 24 to 26 out of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The reason? A mix of STIR-signature round-the-island courses combined with conditions that ranged from near breathless calm to blustery gusts over three days of racing that kept competitors on their toes and trading places on the scoreboard with classmates right down to the last finish. Of course, warm weather, picture-perfect turquoise seas and the regatta’s STIR up the fun Caribbean vibe brought out the best in everyone.

“We went into today knowing there would be two races,” says St. Thomas’ Peter Corr, who helmed his King 40, Blitz, to victory in Spinnaker Racing 1 with a crack 10-person crew that included talent from as far away as Australia and New Zealand. “We wanted to win both races, so our goal was to be careful, to not make any errors or get protested. We did just that, and the win was thanks to a great combined effort and team work.”

The BVI’s Henry Leonnig, racing his Melges 24, Firewater, topped the Spinnaker Racing 2 class after tying on points with Canada’s Rob Butler’s J/88 Touch2Play racing team.

“I got up early this morning and said to myself we have everything to lose,” says Leonnig. “By the time we headed out to the race course, the thought was to just relax, go sailing and have fun. Then at the start of the last race I began trying to overthink it. I stopped myself and went back to doing what we’d done throughout the regatta: get windward and get off the line fast. It worked. It was so incredible to be out in front of the class on that last race. Just pheromonal.”

In the Non-Spinnaker Racing class, there were lots of happy faces on crew members aboard Varuna, a VAr 37, which bested St. Thomas’ Kevin Gregory’s Beneteau First 44.7, Odyssey.
“We both had seven points going into today,” says Martin van Breems, founder and owner of the Sound Sailing Center, in Norwalk, CT. “Odyssey is a local boat and its sailed well. In the last race, we were slated to finish second. Then, Odyssey ended up not sailing the course properly and retired. It was a thrill for us to win. I’ve been sailing here for sixteen years and this is the first time we’ve won our class.”

The one-design C&C 30 and IC24 classes reveled in the razor-sharp competition.

In the C&C30’s, the Cottonwood Heights, UT’s Sandra Askew’s Flying Jenny bested Julian Mann, from San Francisco, CA, aboard his Don’t Panic by four points.

“We’ve come together over as a team over the last few months, having had a practice session together in the fall and then doing Key West Race Week,” says Jason McShane, crewmember aboard C&C 30 Class winner, Flying Jenny. “The boat was really well set up for the conditions. We have a sail program that’s awesome, both quality and set up wise and that helped us a lot.”

Puerto Rico’s Fraito Lugo won the IC24 Class for nearly the dozenth time aboard his Orion. After twelve races over three days, there was only a five-point difference between Orion and second place finisher, Sembrador, sailed by Puerto Rico’s Ramon Gonzalez.

“We came into the last day as the defender,” says Lugo, whose crew included his 14-year-old son, Alejandro. “Sembrador really came on aggressively and were on the offense. They won two of the five races today. But in the last race we finished second, ahead of them, and were able to put points between us.”

It came down to a tie-breaker to decide the winner in the Large Offshore Multihull Class. In the end the HH/MM Nala, bested the St. Croix-built Bieker 53, Fujin, owned by Greg Slyngstad from Sammamish, WA.

“This is the first regatta we’ve done on the boat since we launched her late last year and were extremely pleased with how the boat performed,” says Gino Morrelli, president of Newport Beach, CA-based, Morelli & Melvin, who designed and crewed on Nala.

Meanwhile, in the Beach Cat class, St. Thomas Teri McKenna, placed first with nearly all first-place finishes aboard her Nacra 17, Flight Risk.

“We have lots of experience. Both Sandra Tartaglino and I have each sailed beach cats for over 30 years. Today’s races were distance races offshore with the spinnaker boats. That made us really need to think about tactics. For example, we didn’t want to get in the wind shade of a large yacht,” McKenna says.

Class winners received Swiss-made, limited-edition, Island-styled timepieces from Cardow Jewelers, as well as other great prizes such as high-quality duffle/backpacks from K3 Waterproof Gear.

STIR is a world-class event renowned for its fantastic round the buoys and round the islands racing, first-class race committee, superb shoreside festivities and friendly can-do attitude towards its competitors.

The 45th edition is set for March 23 to 25, 2018.

Rock & Roll Time on the Second Day of the St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) proved its reputation as the ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’ by superbly delivering on its signature mix of round the rocks and round the buoy courses on the event’s second day of competition. What’s more, 6 to 8 foot seas off the island’s east end, gusts blowing to 20 to 25 knots and a mix of rain and sun all added to the fun.

“The windward-leeward courses we had in the morning were hard work,” says Phil Blake, who crewed aboard the IC24 Boat Drinks and is the general manager of IGY’s Yacht Haven Grande. “This, mixed with the passage race in the afternoon, rounded out a wonderful day of sailing. That’s what I love about sailing in the Caribbean. I’ve raced in regattas and Asia and the Middle East and they have the same look and feel, but we are blessed here with consistent tradewinds.”

It was the three W’s – windy, wavy and warm – that appealed most to Curtis Florence, the 2009 Canadian Yachting Association’s Rolex Sailor of the Year, who handled bow on the C&C 30, Nemesis, one of a four boat first-time one-design class in STIR. Florence, as well as helmsman Trey Sheehan, from Cleveland, OH, are members of Team Hooligan, who race a dozen large regattas annually from Key West to San Francisco, and decided to jump off their usual mix of J/70 and Melges 32 racing to sail the C&C.

“The first time we were on a C&C 30 was Thursday for the Round the Rocks Race,” says Sheehan, who flew down to race at the invitation of the owner of the C&C 30 sister ship, Themis. “We got schooled today; the rest of the class beat us pretty well. One-design racing is like hand-to-hand combat. I love it. Especially here in the Caribbean.”

Some of the hottest competition today was in CSA Spinnaker 1. Blitz, the King 40, owned and raced by St. Thomas’ Peter Corr, continued its reign at the head of the class.

“It was another Black Jack day,” says Corr, referring to the 2-1 finish his Aussie crew achieved in the two races yesterday and again today. “Today, we lost one race by 19 seconds. When I saw that, I knew immediately where we lost that time. In the first race, I was trying to cut inside the bottom mark to take breeze away from the Melges 32 (Big Trouble). The idea was to pop his air, go around and get ahead. However, we weren’t able to do that and lost speed.”

Bob Hillier, who hails from Lake Geneva, WI, and his J/122 El Ocaso alumni were trying to nip at Blitz’s lead today.

“We have a real interesting class,” says Hillier, charter manager for Caribbean Yacht Racing Ltd. “Two boats, the Melges 32 and RP 37, plane, we and the King don’t and the Andrews 70 is out so far in front we don’t see them. What each of us needs to do is sail our boats to their potentials.”

Big Trouble, a Melges 32 owned and raced by Chicago, IL’s Tom Elsen, rounds out the top three in CSA Spinnaker 1 going into the last day of racing.

“Our day today was great in every way, and sadly in some ways, a repeat of yesterday. That is, we had another first and another last, from the penthouse to the outhouse,” says Elsen.

Racing was definitely a treat aboard the Royal Danish Navy training ship, Svanen, which like its sister ship, the Thyra, are competing in STIR’s CSA Non-Spinnaker Class as part of the territory’s Transfer Centennial Celebration, or 100 years since the U.S. purchased the islands from Denmark. Both ships are 60-foot, 1960’s-built, Bermuda rigged yawls.

“To race is a special occasion for us,” says Captain Martin Englehardt, “Racing and training don’t go hand in hand. Training, which we mainly do, needs to be slow and thorough. In racing, it’s all about reacting quickly.”

The buoy to buoy part of today’s racing proved a physical one for the beach cat class.

“It was all about hoisting, rounding and dousing,” says St. Thomas’ Teri McKenna, who is crewing for skipper Sandra Tartaglino, on McKenna’s Nacra 17, Flight Risk. The two women are first in class with nothing less than bullets so far.

In the Large Offshore Multihull Class, it’s the 66’ HH Nala, that’s leading. Unfortunately, trouble with the traveler aboard Arethusa that will require some in-yard carbon work, has taken the Gunboat 60 owned by Phil Lotz, of Fort Lauderdale, FL, out of play.

Racing continues and concludes on Sunday.

New this year, STIR introduces its daily Beach Party, with beach games, water toys and DJ music, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. The festive shoreside vibe continues right to the beachfront awards ceremony on Sunday, starting at 6:30 p.m. Afterwards, there’s a VI Cultural Celebration.
Back on shore, it was “Party like a sailor” to the music of Spectrum Band.

Wind was the Word on the First Day of Racing in the St. Thomas International Regatta

Nearly cat’s paw calm in the morning combined with typical Caribbean tradewinds gusting to 20-plus knots in the afternoon provided something for everyone during the first day’s racing to the Charlotte Amalie harbor and back at the 44th St. Thomas International Regatta. These polar-opposite conditions plus the challenge of round the islands rather than strictly buoy racing proved the talk of why some of the best sailors in the Caribbean, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand put STIR on their list of must-do’ regattas each year.

“It was certainly tricky sailing,” says Martin van Breems, president of the Sound Sailing Center in Norwalk, CT, whose race-chartered VAr 37, Varuna, crewed by Center members finished the two-race day first in the CSA Non-Spinnaker Class. “We had 10 crew onboard. So, on the downwind leg when it was so light, I had them all up on the bow to keep the stern out and the boat moving. Then, upwind, when the wind picked up, they all rode the rail all the way back.

Competitors in the Large Offshore Multihull Class especially reveled in the afternoon breeze.

“A squall went through mid-day and didn’t progress, but the breeze kept building. That was fine for us. It wasn’t overpowering. In fact, we were able to fly a hull to the finish and that’s what Gunboats like to do,” says Amy Drinker, of Marblehead, MA, who worked the pit with pit boss, Cam Lewis, on the Gunboat 60, Flow, last year’s class winner. Lewis is a well-respected multihull sailor who back in the 80’s broke the mythical Jules Verne 80-day world navigation by less than a day on an 86-foot catamaran and as a result earned the coveted Rolex Sailor of the Year award.

This year’s first-ever one-design C&C 30 class really appreciated both the conditions and the courses.

“I used to cruise down here and am pretty familiar with the islands,” says Walt Thirion, of Annapolis, MD, who owns two boats racing: Nemesis and Themis. “That helped us today as we were able to cut a big chunk of time off the upwind leg by knowing we could cut in closer to certain islands than some other boats in the class without this local knowledge.”

Thirion’s co-owner of the boats, Geoff Ewenson, a former Olympic Finn sailor from Annapolis, MD, vows to grow the C&C class at STIR.

“We plan to have at least 8 boats down here next year,” says Ewenson.

Touch2Play, Canada’s Rob Butler’s J/88, topped the CSA Spinnaker 2 Class.

“It was almost like two separate races today with the wind conditions,” says crew Jeff Johnstone, whose father founded well-known J-boat builder, J Boats USA, headquartered in Newport, RI. “Rig setting are really important in light wind. Trim and drive is everything in big breeze.”

The one-design IC24 is the largest class of the regatta. It’s a design that starts with an old unused J/24 hull.

“We had talked with the original designers of the IC24 here in St. Thomas about doing something like this in our factory, but we have such a loyal J/24 following. However, I’m all for repurposing a boat with a cockpit that is age friendly. The missing in junior sailing programs is keelboat experience,” says Johnstone.

Dave Franzel, head of the new St. Thomas Sailing Center, took an early lead in the IC24 class aboard Bill T. Meanwhile, Team Island Water World with St. Maarten’s Frits Bus at the helm, landed fourth on the classes’ scoreboard.

“It was very competitive and very difficult. We did reasonably well in light air and dropped back in heavy air. While we stayed in contention the whole time, I personally think we still have to find our groove. After all, I haven’t sailed IC24s for two years,” says Bus.

Perhaps the best sailing story of the day was of how Chris Hutton’s bucket list trip to St. Thomas for his 40th birthday proved to be extra special. The Canadians resident’s wife arranged the trip and Hutton was thrilled to get out on the water as a volunteer on one of the mark boats. Little did he know he’d get to go sailing himself when he jumped in the water to help right a Hobie 16 that got slammed by the headwinds and rollers right outside the harbor.

“I’ve always wanted to be a part of the regatta and little did I know I’d have the opportunity to literally jump right in,” says Hutton.

STIR sailors also enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity today when the fleet proudly flew the U.S. Virgin Islands flag and paraded past the waterfront between races in commemoration of the territory’s Transfer Centennial. The U.S. purchased the Virgin Islands from Denmark on March 31, 1917.

New this year, STIR introduces its daily Beach Party, with beach games, water toys and DJ music, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m on Thursday through Sunday.

Blitz, Hotel California Too & Fujin Class Winners in Round the Rocks Race St. Thomas International Regatta Kicks-off Friday

Twenty-three boats took their start this morning on a 21-nautical mile course that circumnavigated the U.S. Virgin Island of St. John counter clockwise in the Round the Rocks Race. This one-day warm-up for the main event St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), March 24-26, offered a full range of exhilarating sailing challenges from frequent tacks along offshore cays to cross currents and wind shifts around the east end and slalom-like conditions in the downwind. The island’s Virgin Islands National Park served as the picture-perfect backdrop for this incredible and highly competitive course.

“I enjoy any time we’re racing and to win is all the better,” says St. Thomas’ Peter Corr, whose team aboard his King 40, Blitz, finished first in the CSA Spinnaker Racing Class. “We started off across Pillsbury Sound, fought the current and then the winds changed direction and it was tough. The sail up the south side of the island was nice, but then the wind died by the time we got to Coral Bay. After that, we shot around to Francis Bay, enjoying smooth seas although the winds changed direction often. Then, the ride down the north shore was great straight to the finish. We have a lot of experience on the team and it works in our favor.”

El Ocaso, a J/122, which race charters under Caribbean Yacht Racing based in the British Virgin Islands, finished second class, while TAZ, Antigua’s Bernie Evan-Wong’s RP 37, ended third.

“It was a really good race for us today. There were good conditions and we were able to get in the right place at the right time with the currents,” says Evan-Wong, who has finished 9th out of 41 boats in February’s RORC Caribbean 600 and a third place podium finish earlier this month at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.

The team aboard the C&C 30, Don’t Panic, didn’t panic at all about not besting the class today.

“We really looked at this as a tune-up for us,” says navigator, John Bonds, Jr., from San Francisco, CA. “The C&C class is growing quickly and very fun. It’s something that we’ve tried to figure out is a big little boat or a little big boat and I think it’s the former. It handles like a bigger keel boat than a larger dinghy, with a nice smooth transition to a plane and then keeps on accelerating.”

Newport, RI’s Charlie Enright served as Don’t Panic’s tactician.

“We usually race windward-leewards so it was nice to have the reaches today,” says Enright, who on Wednesday was announced as a member of the U.S. team for the 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean Race.

in CSA Non-Spinnaker Racing, it was St. Thomas’ Steve Schmidt driving his Santa Cruz 70, Hotel California Too, that topped the scoreboard. Schmidt, who had planned to spend the day working on his boat in preparation for STIR, decided to sail the Round the Rocks Race at the encouragement of crew member, Tony Sanpere of St. Croix.

“For a last-minute pick-up crew, with experience that ranged from first time on a boat to very experienced, they all did a wonderful job. Because of that, it was very fun for me,” says Schmidt.

Five large offshore multihulls reveled in the breeze and long reaches that the Round the Rocks Race presented. In the end, it was Fujin, a Bieker 53 owned and helmed by Greg Slyngstad of Sammamish, WA, that won based on the new Multi Rule handicap the class is working to perfect.

“Our first race after launching the boat last year was the Heineken Regatta in St. Maarten. Then, we raced the boat up in Newport and along the East Coast last summer. This year, we raced St. Maarten again and won the class. I’ve never sailed off St. Thomas before and we were glad to do well again today,” says Slyngstad.

Fujin was built by Gold Coast Yachts on St. Croix.

“One of the advantages is that the boat is really light – 13,000 pounds for a boat that big is pretty incredible. That’s just one reason is goes so fast,” says Gold Coast’s Roger Hatfield, who sailed with the Fujin team today.

St. Thomas International Regatta’s Tradition of Time continues with Cardow Jewelers Sponsorship

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Timing means everything in yacht racing. Therefore, organizers of the Round the Rocks Race, set for March 23, and the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), March 24 to 26, are proud to welcome Cardow Jewelers aboard as sponsor of the precision timepieces that will be awarded to class winners. 

“The time-honored history of the world’s great regattas has long been associated with the world of luxury, particularly timepieces. As one of the original watchmakers of the Caribbean, we at Cardow Jewelers find it a natural fit to sponsor the St. Thomas International Regatta with Cardow Island Watches as prizes. These unique timepieces and the long sailing tradition in St. Thomas embody both the Virgin Islands’ unique creativity, diversity and craftsmanship,” says Cardow’s Carolina de Lyrot. 

The limited-edition timepieces to be awarded as highly-coveted class-winner prizes are from Cardow’s Executive Collection. Three are versions from the Swiss Optima Series: Automatics. These feature the main Virgin Islands – St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix, with a Swiss engineered tungsten metal body where the 21 jewel automatic movement sparkles with rubies and sapphires. An additional three styles hail from the Swiss Turbo Series, also feature the trio of Virgin Islands and are highlighted by a tungsten metal with ceramic bracelet and Swiss-crafted movement. 

Cardow Jewelers, which is located on Main Street in Charlotte Amalie, is the longest singly owned family jewelery business in the Caribbean and best known as the Flagship Jeweler of the Virgin Islands. Cardow Jewelers is uniquely qualified as being a local retailer, jewelery creator and watchmaker—bringing the exclusive world of luxury to St. Thomas since 1954.  

“The St. Thomas International Regatta has long been known as the ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’ and defined by its tradition of time. We are very pleased to continue this custom with acclaimed Cardow Jewelers as our sponsor and hope that the Virgin Islands theme to these timepieces will remind our winners to come back to race next year and bring their friends,” says regatta director, Chuck Pessler. 

The St. Thomas International Regatta, now in its forty-fourth year, is a world-class event renowned for its fantastic round the buoys and round the islands racing, first-class race committee, superb shoreside festivities and friendly can-do attitude towards its competitors. Over 60 entries, including a sleek fleet of offshore catamarans, plus one-design C&C 30’s and home-grown IC24s are expected in 2017. Additionally, the second annual Round the Rocks Race, a circumnavigation of the neighboring island of St. John will take place March 23.

Yacht Haven Grande Hosts Party for 2017 St. Thomas International Regatta, Ideal Dockage Location for Grand Prix Race Yachts

St. Thomas, USVI. Yacht Haven Grande, named the Superyacht Marina of the Year in 2016, will provide sponsorship support to the 2017 St. Thomas International Regatta, organizers are delighted to announce. The St. Thomas International Regatta, set forMarch 24 to 26, will host its annual much-anticipated ‘Party Like a Sailor’ celebration on March 25 at Yacht Haven Grande, an ideal base for Grand Prix race programs.


Photo: Yacht Haven Grande, St. Thomas, from the water. Credit: Courtesy YHG.


“Yacht Haven Grade endeavours to promote all marine recreation and conservation activities in the U.S. Virgin Islands,” explains general manager, Mike Revier. “The St. Thomas Yacht Club is among the many local organizations who continually exhibit dedication to both the natural and community resources of St. Thomas, and so we support them however possible. Additionally, we believe sailing regattas are under-discovered spectator sports and we want to help expose the local and international community to these exiting marine events.”


Yacht Haven Grande is one of a network of 13 marinas operating in seven countries that are managed by the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-headquartered IGY Marinas. The marina complex is unique in the region for its ability to support vessels with drafts more than 16-feet (5 meters) and beams in excess of 65-feet (20 meters), while also providing ample space for rigging and other logistical activities, all within minutes of a major shipping terminal. Additionally, Yacht Haven Grande partners with several high caliber vendors and service providers and offers fantastic social opportunities only steps from the docks.


“All social and dinning events at Yacht Haven Grande are special because we have the most beautiful and luxurious public access property in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The St. Thomas International Regatta party is especially exciting because of the energy buzzing through the crowd as the regatta culminates in this beautiful setting after days of hard racing and competition,” says Revier.


There are several superb social opportunities only steps from the Yacht Haven Grande docks. Marina guests have exclusive access to all the property’s hospitality facilities, including a private gym, pool and sports courts. There is also free Wi-Fi and lounge areas for vessel crew, as well as multiple dinning and shopping options on property. Furthermore, Yacht Haven Grande’s staff of marine professionals can understand and facilitate any special requests typical of grand prix yachts, drawling upon local and on-site resources as needed.


Photo: St. Thomas International Regatta ‘Party Like a Sailor’ party at Yacht Haven Grande. Credit: Dean Barnes


We are delighted to once again welcome Yacht Haven Grande aboard as a sponsor of the St. Thomas International Regatta. This much-appreciated backing provides us with a trio of excellent opportunities. First, the chance to show our visiting sailors more of our beautiful island. Secondly, a central spot to easily host our local residents to share in the fun, and thirdly, an opportunity for sailors to see the marina’s facilities to support Grand Prix race programs.”


The St. Thomas International Regatta, now in its forty-fourth year, is a world-class event renowned for its fantastic round the buoys and round the islands racing, first-class race committee and friendly can-do attitude towards its competitors. Over 80 entries, including a sleek fleet of offshore catamarans, plus one-design C&C 30’s and home-grown IC24s are expected in 2017. Additionally, the second annual Round the Rocks Race, a circumnavigation of the neighboring island of St. John will take placeMarch 23.

The K3 Company Signs on as Sponsor of 2017 St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. High-quality outdoor marine gear is essential to all sailors, from weekend warriors to professional race teams. Therefore, organizers of the St. Thomas International Regatta are delighted to announce that The K3 Company, a global manufacturer and distributor of premium outdoor gear and accessories, will provide major sponsorship in support of the 2017 regatta.  

“Sponsorship allows us to give back to those who have supported us while at the same time embracing the sport, competitiveness and a love for what we do,” says managing partner, Lisa Keogh, who grew up sailing and racing catamarans. Keogh launched the K3 Company in 2009 after a successful career in the Consumer Electronics Industry and now distributes K3 branded products in over 43 countries encompassing the sailing, marine, surf, dive, resort and boutique industries. “We have quickly become a global leader within the outdoor/waterproof gear arena and continue to work feverishly to meet customer demand for premium product and leading edge designs.” 

The K3 Company will support the 2017 St. Thomas International Regatta by supplying three products, which will be offered and awarded to registered sailors. These are:


            ● PRO-TECH 10 and 20 Liter Dry Bag Backpack. A hybrid between a dry bag and backpack unlike anything else on the market today. It floats! Ventilated harness, O-rings, mesh pockets and shock cords are just a few of the key components.


            ● K3 Tango Sport In-Ear Headphones. Designed and developed by the same factory that manufacturers brands such as JBL, Jaybird, Monster and more. IPX4 sweat-proof and moisture proof. Allows wearers to stay connected for up to 5 hours and conquer the elements at the same time.


            ● Excursion Duffle Backpack Bags. The ultimate in travel. Contains internal wet/dry pack, interior mesh pockets, heavy duty base, ID Card, lockable zippers, quick release alpine backpack straps, twin haul handles, optional shoulder strap and more.  Four carry options to meet all needs for work and/or play. 

PRO-Tech 20-liter Dry Bag Backpacks will be provided in skipper’s bags at registration. K3 Tango Sport In-Ear Headphones will be awarded to class winners as prizes in both the Round the Rocks Race as well as main-event St. Thomas International Regatta, while the duffle backpack will be presented exclusively as prizes to regatta class winners. 

“We are proud and pleased to have the K3 Company onboard as a major sponsor for the St. Thomas International Regatta. There is already quite a buzz growing among sailors who look forward to these premium watersports products as part of their participation in STIR. We encourage sailors who have not yet registered for our regatta to do so now and not miss a chance to win these incredible products. After all, they can be used throughout the year as well as serve as a reminder of our event and to come back to race again next year.” 

The St. Thomas International Regatta, now in its forty-fourth year, is a world-class event renowned for its fantastic round the buoys and round the islands racing, first-class race committee and friendly can-do attitude towards its competitors. Over 80 entries, including a sleek fleet of offshore catamarans, plus one-design C&C 30’s and home-grown IC24s are expected in 2017. Additionally, the second annual Round the Rocks Race, a circumnavigation of the neighboring island of St. John will take place March 23.

Cruzan Rum and Miller Lite Sponsor 2017 St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Organizers of the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) are proud to announce that Cruzan Rum and Miller Lite beer, distributed by Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, LLC, will provide major sponsorship in support of the 2017 regatta.

southern-glazers“Referred to as the ‘Crown Jewel of the Caribbean Regattas’, Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits (formally Glazer’s Premier Distributors, LLC) is honored to, once again, be a part of the St. Thomas International Regatta,” says John Sopsic, vice president. “Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits has chosen to feature Cruzan Rum and Miller Lite as the official sponsors of the 2017 STIR. These global brands, along with our other select premium products, will be exclusively at all Regatta bars for the duration of the event and will surely enhance the overall atmosphere of the Regatta including the nightly parties at the St. Thomas Yacht Club and the ‘big party’ at Yacht Haven Grande. We look forward to providing the refreshing beverages of choice on shore to all sailors, landlubbers, visitors and residents alike.”

cruzanCruzan 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 meticulously crafts some 50 award-winning rum products in different flavors and ages. A signature feature of STIR is that the skipper winning the regatta’s most competitive class as judged by a trio of race officials receives his or her weight in Cruzan Rum.

miller-liteMiller Lite, the Original Light Beer produced by the Miller Brewing Co., in Milwaukee, WI, is produced using a special 21-day triple hops recipe. The recipe uses a unique blend of choice Saaz and Pacific Northwest hops, caramel malt and strain of the original brewer’s yeast that Frederick Miller brought from Germany in the 1850’s. Thus, Miller Lite delivers more golden color, hops, aroma and satisfying taste than expected in a 96-calorie per serving lite beer.

“We are excited to welcome Cruzan Rum and Miller Lite beer onboard as sponsors for the 2017 St. Thomas International Regatta,” says regatta director, Chuck Pessler. “It’s important to bring the right products to our regatta to enhance the overall atmosphere and enjoyment for our sailors, their families and friends, and I believe we have accomplished this in our partnership with Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits. We look forward to welcoming everyone to the St. Thomas Yacht Club in March for a great regatta, a rum drink and a cold beer all can really enjoy,” says regatta director, Chuck Pessler.

The St. Thomas International Regatta, now in its forty-fourth year, is a world-class event renowned for its fantastic round the buoys and round the islands racing, first-class race committee and friendly can-do attitude towards its competitors. Over 80 entries, including a sleek fleet of offshore catamarans, plus one-design Melges 20s, C&C 30’s and home-grown IC24s are expected in 2017. Additionally, the second annual Round the Rocks Race, a circumnavigation of the neighboring island of St. John will take place March 23.

Take advantage of a discount for Early Registration for STIR! Entries received and paid for in full by 5 p.m. AST January 31, 2017 pay only US $250. The registration fee between February 1 and March 21, 2017 increases to US $400 for all boats, except US $250 for beach cats and US $300 for IC24s and Non-Rated Cruising Class boats.

Offshore Multihull & One-Design Classes Star in St. Thomas International Regatta

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. A large offshore multihull fleet and entries for at least two one-design classes are already registered for the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), set for March 24 to 28, 2017 and hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club. What’s more, there is an opportunity to participate in CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association); IRC; Multihull; CSA Bareboat; Beach Cat; and One Design classes with a minimum length of 20 feet, making STIR the most user-friendly sailing competition in the Caribbean. That’s not all! The great STIR tune-up, the Round the Rocks Race, will take place again on March 23 and features a circumnavigation of neighboring St. John, home of the Virgin Islands National Park. This exceptional program of world-class yacht racing continues to earn STIR the status of ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’.

“Our inter-island race venue here in the U.S. Virgin Islands is the perfect platform to launch a large number of diverse classes,” says regatta director, Chuck Pessler. “This is the invitation we’d like to offer to sailors around the world for 2017, whether you prefer one hull or two, racing or cruising or just watching and enjoying our lively shoreside beach party scene.”

New for 2017 – Multihulls & Melges

Last year’s regatta welcomed its first Gunboat Class. Building on STIR’s reputation as ‘where the big cats roam’, the 2017 event welcomes a larger and more diverse fleet of offshore multihulls. Returning will be Fault Tolerant, a Gunboat 60 owned by Robert and Libby Alexander of Rye, New York, USA. New Canaan, Connecticut, USA’s Jim Vos, has entered his new HH 66, Bambi, while Greg Slyngstad, from Sammamish, Washington, USA, is set to sail his Bieker 53, Fujin.

“Fujin is a relatively new boat. She was built in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, by Gold Coast Yachts and completed in August of last year. We’ve raced St. Maarten (3rd place), Les Voiles (3rd place), Newport Race Week (2nd place) and the Vineyard Race (1st to finish, 2nd corrected). We are moving the boat back to the Caribbean this fall/winter and were drawn to the St. Thomas race due to the other multihulls that are entered. It will be my first time racing in this regatta,” says Slyngstad, who has sailed competitively for 20-plus years and previously owned Hamachi, a J/125 in which he raced to Hawaii twice, finishing first in class in both the 2014 Pac Cup and 2015 Transpac, as well as won his class in the 2015 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.

Fujin’s crew for STIR 2017 hails mostly from Seattle, Washington, USA, and will include Jonathan McKee, who won gold and bronze medals in the Flying Dutchman and 49er classes, respectively, in the 1984 and 2000 Summer Olympics. Fritz Lanzinger, named Sailor of the Year at Seattle’s Corinthian Yacht Club in 2014 and accomplished Canadian sailor, Andrew McCorquodale, will also crew aboard Fujin.

On the heels of hosting nine Melges 32s in a one-design class in 2013, STIR will welcome nearly a dozen Melges 20’s in 2017. One of these owners is Jim Wilson, of Rye, New York, USA, who will be sailing his Melges 20, Oleander.

“A good friend encouraged me to race this regatta for a couple of years and others have spoken well of the event too,” says Wilson, who favors one-design sailing and has competed in the Melges 20, primarily the winter series in South Florida, for the past four years. “For the last year or so I have been sailing with Jeremy Wilmot from Australia as tactician and others forward, most recently, Luke Lawrence or my two daughters. Probably our best result is 5th place in the 2015 Melges 20 Worlds in San Francisco, but Oleander has also placed top 5 in the winter series a couple of times.”

The U.S. Virgin Islands’ home-grown, highly-competitive one-design IC24 class is shaping up well with three entries to date: Puerto Rico’s Ramon Gonzalez’ Sembrador and Jaime Torres Smile and Wave and St. Maarten’s Fritz Bus aboard Island Water World.

Logistics Made Easy

All routes lead to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

By air, American Airlines (New York, Boston, Miami, San Juan), Delta Air Lines (Atlanta), jetBlue (Boston connecting through San Juan) Spirit (Fort Lauderdale), United (Chicago, Washington DC/Dulles, Newark) and US Airways (Charlotte, Philadelphia) offer direct flights from major U.S. cities. There are also direct flights from Europe once weekly, on Fridays, between Copenhagen and St. Croix, on Norwegian Air. Local airlines, Cape Air and Seaborne, offer several daily flights between St. Croix and St. Thomas. Danes may especially be interested in visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2017 as the territory commemorates its centennial or 100-year anniversary of the U.S.’s purchase of the islands from Denmark on March 31, 1917.

By sea, no cruising permit is needed to sail in U.S. Virgin Islands’ waters. Visas may be required depending on citizenship. Plus, the port in St. Thomas is served by regularly scheduled visits by yacht transport carriers such as DYT Yacht Transport. St. Thomas has a full-service logistics operation for Grand Prix race boats in Caribbean Racing Logistics, run by yacht club member Ben Beer, who has the ability to handle even the hall out and storage of large deep draft race boats ( or 340-998-6203).

On shore, Island Way Services ( or 340-244-8457), can assist with everything from accommodations to rental vehicles and more. In addition, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism website offers a wealth of information:

Register Now!

Register online now for the Round the Rocks Race and STIR Both events promise challenging courses, professional race management and island-style hospitality.

Take advantage of a discount for Early Registration for STIR! Entries received and paid for in full by 5 p.m. AST January 31, 2017 pay only US $250. The registration fee between February 1 and March 21, 2017 increases to US $400 for all boats, except US $250 for beach cats and US $300 for IC24s and Non-Rated Cruising Class boats.

The NOR is available at For more information, contact Regatta Director Chuck Pessler at (340) 642-3204 or Email: Check STIR out on Facebook (, Twitter @stycvi and Instagram #STIRVI