St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. The familiar blue- and red-, wave-like, M-shaped logo of The Moorings will once again be a familiar sight to sailors racing in the Round the Rocks Race, set for March 25, and the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), set for March 26-28, 2021. Regatta organizers are pleased to announce that The Moorings, the Clearwater, Florida-headquartered premier yacht charter company, will once again sponsor the use of one of its custom-designed catamarans as a race committee boat. This is especially exciting given that The Moorings opened its first U.S. Virgin Islands charter base in St. Thomas in March at IGY’s Yacht Haven Grande Marina. The Moorings operates charter fleets in some 20 destinations worldwide, including seven Caribbean islands.
“With so many international regattas being canceled, this year more than ever we are honored to be a part of the STIR, one of the few Caribbean Regattas taking place in these challenging times,” says Ian Pedersen, senior marketing manager for The Moorings and Sunsail. “As everyone knows, The Moorings has always had a special relationship with the British Virgin Islands, but this year we are thrilled to include the U.S. Virgin Islands to our list of charter destinations as well. Our new base in St. Thomas will feature all of our signature charter products, from sailing catamarans, sleek power catamarans and luxurious all-inclusive crewed yachts, and we hope the addition of this operation will help bring added exposure to the U.S. Virgin Islands in the years to come.”
This year, the Moorings will provide one of its Moorings 4500 sailing catamarans for use as the Race Committee vessel. One of the newest yacht models in the company’s fleet, the 4500 provides ample space for the Committee to comfortably spread out and carry out the various functions the Regatta requires. This yacht is the signature 4-cabin sailing catamaran in the Moorings’ fleet and Pedersen says the company is proud to have it involved in the Regatta this year.
“We’d like to thank The Moorings for their many years of continued support for our event. The use of one of their vessels as a Race Committee vessel helps us to do what we are best known for as a regatta. That is, offering top-notch, professionally-run, round-the-buoy and round-the-island races,” says Dave Franzel, regatta director and director of the St. Thomas Sailing Center.
First Time Use of Virtual Marks
Stellar race management assures competitive racing. STIR organizers are pleased to welcome back Principal Race Officers (PRO), Dave Brennan and Dick Neville, both from the USA. Race officers are responsible for creating courses, choosing which to use each day, and making sure the courses are well set.
New this year, and for the first time in STIR history, race officers will set virtual marks for the CSA Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker racing classes. Virtual marks are GPS (global positioning system) waypoints on the course that competitors need to sail around, but these are not physical marks like buoys. The coordinates of these virtual marks are included in the sailing instructions that all entrants receive.
“The main advantage is course management. I can make a racecourse longer or shorter depending on time requirements for a given race,” says Brennan, who is the PRO on the CSA courses. I think going forward this will help in race management capabilities especially in setting deep water marks.
Who’s Racing – Round the Rocks Race
Seven boats in two classes – CSA Spinnaker and CSA Non-Spinnaker – will take their start at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 25 for the Round the Rocks Race. This warm-up for STIR features a circumnavigation of the 19-square-mile island of neighboring St. John, home of the Virgin Islands National Park.
“Many of the people who sail with me are not serious racers or necessarily even sailors,” says Steve Schmidt, who lives in St. Thomas, is a member of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club and owner of the Santa Cruz 70, Hotel California Too, which will race in the CSA Non-Spinnaker Class. “For this type of crew, sailing around reefs, rocks and islands is more naturally beautiful and enjoyable than doing windward/leeward between race marks. The Round the Rocks Race is a perfect course for that. It also provides the opportunity to experience all points of sail – reaching, running and beating.”
Thirty-four yachts are registered for STIR 2021, which starts on Friday, March 26 and runs through Sunday, March 28. Classes are CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association) Racing and Non-Spinnaker and One-Design IC24 and Hobie Wave.
COVID-Safe Top of Mind
Sound COVID-19 protocols implemented by the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands have kept infection rates low. At STIR, social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand sanitization stations are among COVID-19 protocols. On the water, crews in boats such as the one-design IC24 are limited to three this year, and bigger boat classes will remain in social bubbles throughout the regatta. Onshore, there will be staggered class finishes and Happy Hours daily. There will be two awards ceremonies on March 28: 4 pm for IC24s and Hobie Waves, 5 p.m. CSA Racing and Cruising boats.
Strong Sponsor Support
The STYC and STIR organizers thank the USVI Department of Tourism; Michelob Ultra, Stoli, Bacardi, and Milagro distributed by West Indies Company; Cardow Jewelers; the Moorings; and other businesses in the community.
How to enter
Registration continues Thursday, March 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at STYC. Final registration is Friday, March 26, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., also at STYC. For more information, call (340) 690-3681, Email: email@example.com
Tel: (340) 998-3650