The Race is On to the Start Line! – 50th STIR, March 29-31, 2024

The Race is On to the Start Line! 8th Round the Rocks Race, March 28, 2024 – 50th St. Thomas International Regatta, March 29-31, 2024

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Enter the race now to secure your spot on the start line of the 8th Round the Rocks Race on March 28 yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eid=16226, and the 50th St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), March 29-31, 2024, yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eid=16227. There are less than two weeks left before registration closes on these back-to-back bucket-list regattas that feature round-the-island and round-the-buoy racing in the idyllic sailing conditions off St. Thomas, an island Caribbean Journal called the ‘Hottest Yachting Destination in the Caribbean’ in 2021. 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. 

STIR 2024 WIC Brands at STYC – Credit Dean Barnes

“What started a half-century ago as a handful of local boats sailing around natural marks with scores tallied by hand, has evolved into a regatta that features an international fleet of yachts that race around courses set by a professional race committee with scoring online that lets a local and global audience follow the action. Combine this with the toes-in-the-sand ambiance of our St. Thomas Yacht Club, spirited quenchers and Quelbe music, and a classic Caribbean mix of competition and camaraderie, and you have STIR. True to our tagline, ‘We Love It Here! Come Join Us!’,” says Pat Bailey, who co-directs STIR 2024 with Greer Scholes. 

Who’s Who Race Preview 

The swift-sailing lineup of entries for STIR 2024 includes a mix of One-Design and CSA-handicap race teams in seven classes. Hands down the largest of these is the IC24 Class, with nearly 20 entries. One of these is Big Boss, an IC24 chartered from the St. Thomas Sailing Center (STSC) by Ireland’s Darren Wright, who sails from the Howth Yacht Club, east of Dublin. 

“I had our Cape 31, Adrenaline, brought over to St. Thomas from Ireland last year and we had a great week sailing in STIR. While sailing, I took note of the large IC24 fleet on the water each day and thought to myself, ‘That looks like a heck of a lot of fun and a lot less expensive too!’ So, this year we decided to travel as two husband-and-wife teams and race-charter an IC24. We are very much an amateur team. I have never helmed an IC24, and my wife has never sailed. However, we are looking forward to sailing in your beautiful waters and to enjoying the wonderful hospitality and fun shoreside parties with little expectation of being on the podium,” says Wright. 

The Big Boss team will also sail in the Round the Rocks race, a circumnavigation of neighboring St. John, home of the Virgin Islands National Park. 

BlackPearl is another IC24 that’s been chartered by Team Hysteria, an all-female team with crew traveling to St. Thomas from California, Washington, DC, and New Jersey, USA, and Toronto, Canada. 

Lyzz Schwegler and Morgan Glier in San Francisco Bay – Courtesy Lyzz Schwegler

“We are all under age 40 and connected through a combination of college sailing and distance racing, including two onboard coaching members of the 2022 Team Bitter End, the youngest all-female crew to compete in the Newport-Bermuda Race. Every member of our team has a wide range of one-design and offshore experience from throughout North America and Europe,” says Lyzz Schwegler, who with Kat Kippel and Morgan Glier will crew, with tactician Allie Surrette, who represented Canada in the 2019 Pan-American Games, and skipper Maya Hoffman. “This will be our first regatta competing together on the same team. We’re looking forward to great competition and racing in an iconic venue while thawing ourselves out in the sun.” 

Mike Feierabend on Bravissimo – Courtesy Mike Feierabend

In the CSA 3, St. John, USVI’s Mike Feierabend will race his J/24, Bravissimo, whose team podium-placed in STIRs 2018 and 2019. “We are happy to be back racing STIR because we love the competition! We have been sailing in all the St. John Yacht Club events this year and we were first in the around St. John Race earlier this month,” says Feierabend. “Our crew is made up of St. John residents with two of my family members and two youth sailors. Cruz Lonski, a high school sailor, is our jib and spinnaker trimmer and Wyatt Fogerty, a green fleet Optimist sailor is our mast man.” 

Small multihulls have featured in STIR for many years, and this year is no different. There are still Hobie Waves available for charter from the STSC.  Sailing a beach cat this year is especially meaningful to Tony Sanpere, a former U.S. Virgin Islands resident who now calls St. Petersburg, Florida,  home. 

Tony Sanpere driving his J36 Cayennita Grande in a past STIR – Courtesy Tony Sanpere

“I raced a Hobie 14 in 1972 in the Caribbean Midwinter Regatta two years before STIR started. So, I decided to do it this year also in a Hobie. I enjoy the good competition, friends, and parties,” says Sanpere.  In the mid-1970s, Sanpere sailed this regatta with Lee Kelbert, founder of what was then called the Rolex Cup Regatta, on Kelbert’s Caviar, a Carter 37.

Over the years, Sanpere has enjoyed podium finishes on his many makes and models called Cayenne, as well as other boats like Broken Drum, Twisted Lizard, and Caccia a la Volpe.” 

Bacardi Rum, Stoli Vodka, and Milagro Tequila Official Spirits, Leatherback Brewing, the Official Beer of STIR 2024 

There will be plenty of shoreside fun at and after the 8th Round the Rocks race and 50th Anniversary STIR. Bacardi Rum, Stoli Vodka, and Milagro Tequila, distributed by West Indies Company, are the official spirits of STIR 2024. They will feature as key ingredients in four signature drinks available for purchase throughout the regatta. These are Bacardi Lime in Da Coconut (Bacardi Light, Coconut Water, Coconut Milk, Lime Juice, Lime Zest), Bacardi Painkiller (Bacardi Gold, OJ, Pineapple Juice, Cream of Coconut, Nutmeg), Bush Tea John Daly (Stoli, Lemongrass Bush Tea, Lemonade, Simple Syrup) and the Around the Rock Rita (Milagro, Sour Mix, Triple Sec, Simple Syrup). 

Sailors can additionally enjoy the local Leatherback Brewing Company’s craft beer, the Official Beer of STIR 2024, which is made with Caribbean-grown ingredients. Leatherback’s Pink Soca Seltzer will be available too. Leatherback Brewing Company donates $1 for every case sold to Cancer Support V.I. 

There will also be celebratory bottles of Moet & Chandon champagne for sale. Both Leatherback and Moet & Chandon are also distributed by West Indies Company. 

“West Indies Company is proud to sponsor STIR,” says Keiya Canton-Brooks, marketing director. “Our company came on board as a sponsor in 2019 because we wanted to be associated with one of the premier sailing events in the Caribbean. We wish good luck to all the competitors.” 

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. 

For charter, 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 

Media contact:
Carol Bareuther
Tel: (340) 998-3650
Email: bareuther@earthlink.net
Skype: Carol.Bareuther