International Optimist Regatta - About to set off at US Virgin Islands

Keen competition at the 2013 International Optimist Regatta.
Dean Barnes
The International Optimist Regatta (IOR) – one of the largest and longest held junior sailing events in the Caribbean – celebrates its 22nd year. The IOR will take place June 20 to 22, prefaced by the Sea Star Clinic June 16 to 18 and Sea Star Team Race on June 19.

'We expect over 80 sailors from throughout the Caribbean, the U.S. mainland and Europe,' says regatta director, Margo Lynch. 'The opportunity for our local Virgin Islands’ sailors to sail with talent from all over the world in their own backyard is incredible.'

Zane Rogers from Texas, younger brother of 2011 champion Wiley Rogers and member of the U.S. Optimist Dinghy Association (USODA) National Team, will be back to compete along with eight other members of the USODA National Team. These sailors will be up against tough competition from Team ISV whose members are Christopher Sharpless, Robert Hunter, Teddy Nicolosi, Mia Nicolosi and Julian van den Driessche of St. Thomas and Mateo Di Blasi of St. John.

Other talented Caribbean sailors set to compete include Thad Lettsome, Rayne Duff, Nathan Haycraft and Sam Childs from the British Virgin Islands and Rocco Falcone and Louis Bavay from Antigua. Many, if not most of these sailors, will use the IOR as excellent training for the Optimist North American Championships, which will be held in Nayarit, Mexico, July 9 to 16.

The Sea Star Clinic, run by top international coaches from Optisailors.com, will drill sailors on starts, tactics, and strategy.

Over 12 teams are expected for the Sea Star Team Race. Entry fee is $160 per team of four sailors. Registration closes at 5 p.m. on June 18th.

Final registration for the IOR takes place June 19th. The entry fee is $250 and includes an event T-shirt, registration ‘goodie’ bag, and all meals from Thursday June 19th’s Welcome Party through Sunday’s Brunch.

Optimists lined up and ready to launch from the beach at the St. Thomas Yacht Club. Credit: Dean Barnes
Dean Barnes


Shore side activities include an opening Parade of Nations and Welcome Party, Caribbean Night celebration that includes fire dancers, and Beachside Brunch and Awards Ceremony on June 22nd.

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 marks the third year that the IOR has taken part in Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regattas program. This program, the only ocean conservation nonprofit focused on the sailing and boating community, encourages regatta participants to recycle all plastic water bottles, use the reusable water bottle provided in 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.

The IOR is sponsored by the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism and Sea Star Line, LLC.

For more information, call (340) 775-6320; fax: (340) 775-3600, or Email: internationaloptiregatta@gmail.com. Or, for the Notice of Regatta, Registration Forms, information on hotel discounts and other information, visit the St. Thomas Yacht Club website.
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