Please select your home edition
Edition
Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD
Product Feature
B&G Zeus³
B&G Zeus³

Inaugural St. Thomas Yacht Club Invitational Regatta - Day 1

by Carol Bareuther 28 Jun 2020 06:27 BST 27-28 June 2020
St. Thomas Yacht Club Invitational Regatta: William 'Bill' McConnell on One Love (foreground) races nearly neck and neck with St. Thomas' Chuck Pessler on Desperado © Dean Barnes

The thrill of competition plus a pent-up delight at being back on the water racing summed-up sailors sentiments on the first day of the inaugural St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) Invitational Regatta sponsored by the USVI Department of Tourism, Leatherback Brewing Co. and MUTINY Island Vodka.

Twenty-one boats with skippers hailing from all three U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, USA and Sweden, completed six races on windward-leeward and round the island courses. Conditions proved why the U.S. Virgin Islands is a world-class sailing destination: sunny skies, 4- to 5-feet swells and an easterly breeze blowing 15- to 20-knots. COVID-19 protective measures as directed by the USVI Government's Open Doors phase were visible with boats socially-distanced, crew limited to double-handed on IC24s and single-handed on Hobie Waves, and facial buffs in place.

"The Department of Tourism warmly welcomes participants from the Caribbean, the U.S. mainland and Sweden to the first annual St. Thomas Yacht Club Invitational Regatta. We trust you will have a wonderful experience exploring our waters and enjoying the offerings of our islands while observing the health and safety guidelines in place for the safety of both residents and visitors. The return of marine tourism is vital to our economic recovery, as it is a strong contributor to the economic development of the Territory, and we are always pleased to support this important sector," says Joseph Boschulte, Commissioner of Tourism.

Rosenberg Leads IC24 Class

A 10-point lead put St. Thomas' Chris Rosenberg and son Christian at the top of the scoreboard after the first day of racing. The senior Rosenberg probably knows more about the IC24 than anyone, except fellow St. Thomas boatbuilder Morgan Avery. The two teamed their talents back in 2001, after successive hurricanes destroyed much of the Club's fleet, to convert J/24 hulls into a one-design Inter-Club boat that was easy for all ages to sail yet highly competitive. Today, the STYC's St. Thomas Sailing Center (STSC) owns a fleet of over a dozen of these boats, making it possible for sailors to fly in from neighboring islands or from around the world to race without having to transport their own vessels to the venue. It's a concept that will become reality as the STYC Invitational Regatta becomes even more international at its second annual, May 14 to 16, 2021.

This year, two teams from Puerto Rico are racing in the regatta.

"We're a bit rusty since we haven't raced since last December, but we are focused on good starts, being on the right side of the course and boat handling," says Efrain 'Fraito' Lugo, from Ponce, Puerto Rico, with Pablo Mendez on the bow. "Plus, any time you can spend time with family and friends like this is priceless."

It's been a year since fellow Puerto Rican sailor, Jaime Balzac, has raced, given the pandemic plus becoming a first-time father to twins. "My crew, Ricardo (Alvarez), is a long-time cruiser but a new-time racer, so there's a learning curve. It's fun. And, it's just great to be out on the water."

Two instructors for the KATS (Kids and the Sea) program in Coral Bay, St. John, are each helming an IC24 with junior sailors as crew. One is Jasper Moon, with 15-year-old Arjuna Danobeitia, and the other is Jarrett Altmin, with his 14-year-old son Dylan.

"This is my first time racing an IC24. What makes it fun is the great breeze and the competition is so tight. It's also nice how the Race Committee is mixing up the racing with a combination of windward-leeward and around the island courses," says Altmin.

Greenberg on Top in Hobie Waves

Only four points separate St. Thomas' Evan Greenberg, who is currently first in the Hobie Wave class, from St. Thomas' Marcus Compton in second.

"I've been doing the Thursday night Hobie Wave series the STSC runs, but this is my first real regatta. It's a whole other level of competition, with a full fleet of boats and rules. I'm a competitive guy, so I like it," says Greenberg.

Nearly half of the sailors in the Hobie Wave class are women.

"It's great to be out with the other boats racing in an actual regatta. There's such a great community spirit. Plus, when you're out there, just you and your boat, it's possible for forget about the pandemic for a little while," says St. Thomas' Kyrre Culver.

The STYC Invitational Regatta will commemorate a perpetual trophy, which will be awarded to the winning teams and dedicated to Rudy Thomson and Dick Avery for their long-standing contributions to STYC and Olympic racing and inspiring sailors of all ages.

Strong Sponsor Support

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism is a strong supporter of the STYC Invitational Regatta, the newest of the events hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club, as well as the Club's St. Thomas International Regatta, International Optimist Regatta, and a match race.

Additionally, the Leatherback Brewing Company and MUTINY Island Vodka, both based on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, are co-sponsors of the 2020 STYC Invitational Regatta. Leatherback Brewing Company brews and packages craft beer in the Virgin Islands with both traditional and uniquely Caribbean ingredients. MUTINY Island Vodka, the Caribbean's Original Island Vodka handcrafted from breadfruit, is a first in the world new spirit and created in the USVI.

The St. Thomas Sailing Center

Sailing is not only a great way to socially distance, but a positive activity for mind and body. The STSC offers several instructional programs for adults, from learn to sail to advanced bareboat certification and cruising classes. Classes are taught by highly experienced instructors aboard the Club's IC24s. Schedules range from a vacation week format for those who wish to fly in and combine visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands along with sailing instruction, to weekend end and late-afternoon classes for those that live locally and need to schedule around employment. Class registration comes with a 30-day Bluewater Membership, where students to use and enjoy Club facilities and amenities. A $150 Blue Water Boat Access fee enables students to sail IC24s and Hobie Waves throughout their Blue Water Membership. Students who get hooked on sailing can pursue their passion regularly. The STSC hosts several regular activities such as Ladies Hobie Wave Racing every other Thursday, co-ed Hobie Wave Racing every Thursday, double-handed IC24 racing every Friday and more.

For more information about the STYC Invitational Regatta and STSC sailing lessons, call Dave Franzel, , (340) 690-3681, or visit: stthomassailingcenter.com

Results after Day 1:

IC24 Class (Boat Name, Skipper Name, Home, Points)
1. Bill T, Chris Rosenberg, STT, USVI (10)
2. Roundabout, Eric Cusin, STX, USVI (20)
3. Magic Bus, Dave Franzel, USA (23)
4. Red Dog, Fraito Lugo, Puerto Rico (25)
5. Huron Girl, Mike Finley, STT, USVI (27)
6. Boat Drinks, Peter Sernhede, Sweden (30)
7. Black Pearl, Ted Reshetiloff, BVI (43)
8. One Love, Bill McConnell, STT, USVI (51)
9. Desperado, Chuck Pessler, STT, USVI (51)
10. Stinger, Kevin Wakelee, STT, USVI (56)
11. KATS Pajamas, Jarrett Altmin, STJ, USVI (62)
12. Viola, Jaime Balzac, Puerto Rico (72)
13. KATS Meow, Jasper Moon, STJ, USVI (76)

Hobie Wave Class (Name, Home, Points)
1. Evan Greenberg, STT, USVI (15)
2. Marcus Compton, STT, USVI (19)
3. Julian van den Driessche, STT, USVI (19)
4. Kim Duff, STT, USVI (25)
5. Kyrre Culver, STT, USVI (28)
6. Oriel Blake, STT, USVI (33)
7. Joyce Campbell, STT, USVI (40)
8. Nate Brooks, STT, USVI (40)

Related Articles

2021 St. Thomas International Regatta overall
FOX, Wild T'ing, Bill T, Mark win classes The combination of perfect conditions with 15 to 20 knots of breeze out of the east, keen competition and professionally set racecourses made the 2021 St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), sailed March 26-28, a winner. Posted on 29 Mar
2021 St. Thomas International Regatta Day 2
Leads lengthened, leads lost, leads landed Sailors in some classes solidified their lead in this second day of racing, others lost the top spot they held yesterday to fellow competitors, while those in the 8-boat Hobie Wave class landed on the scoreboard for the first time. Posted on 28 Mar
2021 St. Thomas International Regatta Day 1
Wild T'ing, Orion lead classes in perfect conditions The start line in the 14-boat IC24 Class looked like thoroughbreds jockeying to be first out of the gate on this first day of racing in the 2021 St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR). Posted on 27 Mar
FOX, Wild T'ing win in Round the Rocks Race
2021 St. Thomas International Regatta starts Friday Nearly a half dozen boats evenly divided between CSA Spinnaker Racing and Non-Spinnaker Racing took their start at 11 a.m. today in waters off the southeast side of St. Thomas for the Round the Rocks Race. Posted on 26 Mar
An interview with Dave Franzel on the 2021 STIR
Bathtub-warm waters at the 2021 St. Thomas International Regatta As winter drones on and on in North America and Europe, it's beyond tempting to daydream about sailing on bathtub-warm waters under sunny skies, wearing a t-shirt and a pair of sailing shorts. Posted on 23 Mar
St. Thomas International Regatta preview
Kicking off with the Round the Rocks Race on March 25th Board members of the host St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) and STIR organizers have worked diligently and with strong support from the United States Virgin Islands Departments of Tourism and Health to plan a best of both worlds event. Posted on 13 Feb
International Optimist Regatta registration open
The 2021 St. Thomas Yacht Club event can only accept a maximum of 125 sailors Registration is open! The 28th annual International Optimist Regatta (IOR), the TOTE Maritime Clinic and the TOTE Team Race will take place from June 14-20, 2021 at the St. Thomas Yacht Club. Posted on 18 Jan
St. Thomas Yacht Club announces 2021 schedule
Competitive and COVID-safe yacht racing returns in a new normal way The St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) Board of Directors is pleased to announce next year's dates for two of the Caribbean's favorite regattas and the second annual of a soon-to-be major international regatta. Posted on 19 Dec 2020
St. Thomas Yacht Club Invitational Regatta overall
Rosenberg, Compton top classes at inaugural event Sailing is social distancing at its best. No three people know this better than St. Thomas' Chris Rosenberg and his 15-year-old son Christian, who won the IC24 Class, and St. Thomas' Marcus Compton, who topped the Hobie Wave Class. Posted on 29 Jun 2020
St. Thomas Yacht Club Invitational Regatta preview
Twenty-two boats ready to compete this weekend Twenty-two boats, with skippers hailing from the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, USA and Sweden, are ready to take their start on Saturday in the first annual St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) Invitational Regatta Posted on 26 Jun 2020