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21st International Optimist Regatta and Clinic set for June 17-23

by Carol Bareuther on 1 May 2013
A record number and highly international fleet of sailors competed in 2012. Credit: Dean Barnes - International Optimist Regatta Dean Barnes
Register now for the International Optimist Regatta (IOR), presented by Glacial Energy – now celebrating its 21st edition, marking over two decades of fostering junior sailing in the Caribbean. Dates for the regatta and kick-off Sea Star Clinic and Sea Star Team Race are June 17th to 23rd, 2013.

Recognized as one of the first and largest regattas in the Caribbean to promote youth sailing, the 2013 IOR welcomes participants this year from around the world.

'We are looking forward to a strong representation of sailors this year,' says regatta director, Margo Lynch. 'To date, sailors already registered represent Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Bahamas, Grand Cayman, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Curacao, Mexico and of course all three U.S. Virgin Islands as well as a large number of U.S. sailors, including those from California.'

Nearly 100 8- to 15-year-old junior sailors are expected to attend this St. Thomas Yacht Club- and Virgin Island Sailing Association (VISA)-hosted and Caribbean Sailing Association-sanctioned regatta.

'Glacial Energy is proud to sponsor this year’s International Optimist Regatta, says Joel Finley, president of sales. 'Through this event and the other amazing events put on by the St. Thomas Yacht Club and VISA, our young people are given the opportunity to race in world class conditions with competitors from all over the globe.' Michael Giery, general counsel adds; 'This event not only prepares young sailors to face amazing competitors, but also gives them the understanding of good sportsmanship and healthy competition. The St. Thomas Yacht Club and VISA continue to produce world class sailors, amazing the international sailing world year after year and Glacial Energy is proud to be a part of the adventure.'

The Sea Star Clinic begins Monday, June 17th and runs through Wednesday, June 19th. Top international coaches from Optisailors.com, the U.S. National Team, St. Thomas Yacht Club and Virgin Islands Optimist Dinghy Association such as Pilo Rocha, Justine O’Connor, Agustin ‘Argy’ Resano and Santiago Galan, will teach the sailors registered for the clinic.

'The clinic focuses on starts, strategy and tactics,' Resano explains. 'It's chiefly focused for sailors that are not use to sailing in big fleets. Most Caribbean countries don't have more than 30 boats on a starting line. For the sailors that do have big fleet experience, the clinic provides a great tune up in which they will get a better knowledge of the racing area and the sailing conditions. It's very hard to just show up to these waters the day before the regatta and perform well. Sailors have to get use to sail in big waves.'

Cost of the clinic is $300 for non-U.S. Virgin Islands’ registrants and $275 for U.S. Virgin Islands’ residents, and includes breakfast and lunch for the three days. Clinic registration closes on May 15th.

The Sea Star Team Racing event is scheduled for June 20th.

'We are expecting 16 competitive teams, each with four to five sailors,' says Resano. 'Last year, we had Team FOR from the U.S. arrive early for a team racing camp. They enjoyed it so much that they will hold their annual team racing camp this year on St. Thomas too.'

Entry fee for the team racing is $160 per team of four sailors. Registration closes at 5 p.m. on June 19th.

'Sea Star Lines is proud to announce its sixth consecutive year in St. Thomas hosting its annual Youth Clinic and Team Race,' says Frank Urban, Caribbean and business development sales manager. 'I have been very fortunate to be a part of the outstanding leadership and vision of the Sea Star Team over the past few years and I hope to share these life lessons with the youths of St. Thomas. We all believe at Sea Star that children are our future and we must give back whenever possible. We hope that through our continued sponsorship we can help them to build a sense of self-confidence, purpose and discipline in a fun and safe environment.'

The three-day International Optimist Regatta presented by Glacial Energy kicks off Friday June 21st.

The regatta entry fee is $225 by May 15th and $250 after May 15th. Those that register prior to May 15th will have their names entered into a special drawing to win top-notch prizes. Final registration takes place June 20th. The entry fee includes an event T-shirt, registration ‘goodie’ bag, and all meals from Thursday June 20th Welcome Party through Sunday’s Brunch.

Shore side activities include an opening Parade of Nations, a Welcome Party and Caribbean-themed night that includes fire dancers. The fun culminates with a beachside brunch and Awards Ceremony on June 23rd.

Trophies will be awarded to the top five sailors in each fleet and top three overall. Additional trophies include the Peter Ives’ Perpetual Trophy, the Chuck Fuller Sportsmanship Award and the top female sailor. The Sea Star Perpetual Trophy will be inscribed with the names of the sailors on the winning team racing team.

This year’s event will follow an eco-friendly theme. Sailors will be urged to recycle all plastic water bottles, use the reusable water bottle in the goodie bag throughout the regatta, keep all lunch bags and wrapping out of the water and pick up any trash on shore and accept drinks without straws.

For more information, call 340-775-6320; fax: 340-775-3600, or Email: internationaloptiregatta@gmail.com. For the Notice of Regatta, Registration Forms and other information, visit the St. Thomas Yacht Club www.styc.net!website.

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