STIR-Up the Sailing Fun! – 2023 St. Thomas International Regatta, March 24-26, 2023, Round the Rocks Race, March 23 – Still Time to Enter!

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Sailors from around the Caribbean and World are ready to STIR-up the fun this week at the 49th St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR). Nearly 50 yachts are expected to race in this ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Regattas’ set for March 24-26, 2023, and hosted at the St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC). There’s still time to enter until Wednesday at yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=15496. Everyone is invited! CSA racing and cruising; ORC; Large Multihull; Hobie Waves, and One-Design classes with a minimum length of 20 feet. Known for its iconic class prizes of time, regatta organizers are pleased to announce that the official watch of STIR 2023 is the Pirate Island Watch by Cardow Jewelers.

“We are grateful to our friends and partners at the St. Thomas Yacht Club for hosting this regatta for over 40 years. They make all sailors and entrants feel welcome and inspire stiff but fun and friendly competition. Enjoy your time on St. Thomas and to all the sailors competing, fair winds and following seas!” says Joseph Boschulte, Commissioner of the USVI’s Department of Tourism.

Sneak Peek @ Who’s Racing

Over a dozen yachts are registered to compete in the Round the Rocks Race, on March 23. The one-day event is a wonderful warm-up for STIR, plus takes the fleet around the beautiful islands and cays off the eastern end of St. Thomas and St. John. One entry is the J/42, Trinity IV, helmed by David McDonough, from Washington DC, USA.

“After last year’s STIR racing on our 1989 Pearson 37-2 cruising boat Trinity III and winning several STIR class starts, and then completing each race in the DFL position, we concluded a change was needed,” says McDonough. “With two STYC partners, we purchased and commissioned the hopefully faster boat, Trinity IV, a 1998 J/42. This boat was purchased on the Eastern Shore of Maryland last spring, commissioned in Annapolis, Maryland, and Freeport, Maine last summer, and then sailed from Maine to Nantucket to Bermuda to her mooring at STYC this past November. We have crew returning from on and off St. Thomas. Former STYC sailor Dave Walker will be joined by Martha’s Vineyard sailor Rich Hehre. A new addition will be another New Englander, Dennis Nixon, our tactician. As always, Trinity IV will adhere to her guiding North Star, ‘the boat with the most fun wins’. You can always lose a race, and still win the party.”

Trinity IV, competing in the Racer-Cruiser Class, is one of nearly 50 boats – Spinnaker Racer and Racer-Cruiser, monohull and multihull, one-design and handicap, from 24 to 70-foot – registered to sail in the three days of STIR 2023. Another Racer-Cruiser entry is Puerto Rico’s Jerome O’Neill, driving his J/39, Crystal.

Photo: Puerto Rico’s Jerome O’Neill and his team on Crystal are ready to race STIR 2023. Courtesy O’Neill.

“We are a group of sailors from Puerto Rico who have participated in this regatta since the 1980s aboard several different boats. This year, we’re racing on the 1991-built J/39 Crystal, formerly the Don Q V, designed to compete in the IRC. We are looking forward to sailing in the beautiful waters and favorable winds of the USVI as well as enjoying the shoreside activities,” says O’Neill.

The Beneteau First 10M, Chili Pepper, helmed by Sebastian Sarh, who splits his time between Puerto Rico and the USVI, is also a Racer-Cruiser entry, adding to the competitiveness of this class.

“STIR is something we look forward to all year,” says Sarh. “Most of the crew are new to sailing and are looking forward to participating in their first regatta. But we also have some experience on the boat so it’s a nice mix. Everyone has been planning time off work to come to the regatta for a sailing vacation. Sailing here is so much fun and just world-class. And the event was so much fun last year that we had more people wanting to go than we have positions for on the boat.”

Photo: The Chili Pepper Team returns to STIR 2023. Credit: Dean Barnes.

Yet another Racer-Cruiser entry is Bad Decisions, a J/30, whose owner is Shawn ‘Fuzzy’ Stoddard, from St. Croix, USVI.

Bad Decisions and Bad Decisions Racing Team are new to the circuit but not with a new boat or new crew. I bought the former Annick II, an old name to racing fans, and after extensive retrofitting renamed the vessel Bad Decisions. The team is from several different crews in St. Croix and St. Thomas and are very excited to be a part of this new team. Some are old hats at racing; however, we were able to incorporate some fresh new faces. St. Thomas is a wonderful place to sail and race. The team’s goal for this season is to go out, have fun, learn the new boat, and sail the best we can. If that leads to a podium finish, we’ll consider that a bonus.”

Strong Sponsor Support – Cardow Jewelers

Yacht racing is all about precision timing. For nearly a half-century, STIR has been synonymous with awarding prized timepieces to its class winners. The Limited Edition Pirate Island Watch, designed in the U.S. Virgin Islands by Cardow Jewelers, features a black casing and a black metal band with hints of yellow on the dials, date, hands, and signature chronographs of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John. Made totally of stainless steel, the watch features Japanese movement and is water-resistant to a depth of about 170 feet.

“Cardow Jewelers is once again proud to support the 2023 St. Thomas International Regatta and provide our signature prized timepieces that remind sailors of our islands and to visit again soon,” says Finia Goodings, sales director for the celebrated seven-decade Virgin Islands landmark retailer, known as a trusted source of gold and diamonds in the Caribbean.

Cardow Jewelers has three locations on St. Thomas: #1 Main Street in Charlotte Amalie, the Crown Bay Center, and Cyril E. King Airport.

STIR organizers thank the USVI Department of Tourism; The Moorings; Cardow Jewelers; Bacardi Rum, Milagro Tequila, Stoli Vodka, and Leatherback Craft Beer, distributed by the West Indies Company, and Carib Beer and Coors Light, distributed by Bellows International; Ocean Surfari; and The K3 Company for strong sponsor support.

Schedule of Events

Racing kicks off for an 11 a.m. start on Thursday, March 23 for the Round the Rocks Race. STIR competition follows Friday through Sunday, with an 11 a.m. start each day. Race courses will be set off the southeast, northeast, and east end of St. Thomas and in Pillsbury Sound between St. Thomas and St. John, with specific courses for each class designated daily by the Race Committee based on weather.

Real-time results for the Round the Rocks race will be posted at https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=15495, while STIR results are located at https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=15496

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

Media contact:

Carol Bareuther

Tel: (340) 998-3650

Email: bareuther@earthlink.net

Skype: Carol.Bareuther