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Sailors fired up for International Rolex Cup in St Thomas

by Kate Maudslay on 14 Feb 2001
It may be the Caribbean, but that doesn't mean the sailors will be laid back when they hit the start line of the 2001
International Rolex Cup Regatta in St Thomas this April. Back to defend the Rolex trophy that he won last year in his
class, Chris Rosenberg predicted the Melges 24 fleet would be as tough as ever. 'It's the biggest class and the most
intense competition. The rest of the class will be biting at my heels. ' he said.

Amongst his toughest opposition will be the Puerto Rican brothers Roberto and Stanley Lopez, who honed their boat-to-boat
skills in the white-hot competition of Key West Race Week in January.

The owner/driver rule of the Farr 40 has made this the one-design of the moment, and US yachtsman and New York sailmaker
Mark Ploch, sailing on Tom Hill's new Farr 40 called Titan, is eagerly anticipating another regatta at St Thomas. 'There is
no better regatta to go to in the Caribbean. The club is the most hospitable and the race committee gives us a good variety
of racing.'

Owner of the Santa Cruz 70 Donnybrook, Jim Muldoon, former President of US SAILING, said there were a number of regattas
that he could do at this time of year, but the pull of St Thomas was too great. 'We've had some pressure to head north, but
we've resisted it. You can't beat the quality of racing, the venue or the people in St Thomas.'

At the other end of the size spectrum is the beach cat class, with a number of top-flight Formula 18’s planning on
competing in the azure waters that surround the island. With the Olympic Tornado catamaran moving closer to Formula 18
configuration, St Thomas anticipates a number of Olympic hopefuls to come from the Americas and Europe to perfect their
boathandling skills in the warm Caribbean sunshine.

For others, the International Rolex Cup is the culmination of a three-regatta series known as the Caribbean Ocean Racing
Triangle (CORT). The series begins in late March with the Heineken International Cup, then on to Tortola in early April for
the BVI Spring Regatta, before moving on to the CORT's conclusion in St Thomas from 13-15 April, for what is now the 28th
International Rolex Cup. Some will come for the thrill of competition, others will use it as an excuse to soak up the
atmosphere of the beautiful US Virgin Islands.

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