Please select your home edition
Edition
Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

St. Thomas International Regatta set to kick off next month

by Carol Bareuther 13 Feb 08:48 PST March 26-28, 2021
IC24 Class races very competitively even with COVID-safe crew limit and face masks. © Dean Barnes

The starting horn is set to sound on the 2021 St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR) March 26 to 28, launching three days of keen competition in one of the world's top yacht racing destinations.

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. That is, highly competitive yacht racing with COVID-19 protocols in place on land and sea to protect the health and safety of sailors and island residents alike. The warm-up distance-style Round the Rocks Race on March 25 adds another great way for sailors to socially-distance at sea. Register for both at stthomasinternationalregatta.com

"It is our pleasure to welcome participants attending this year's St. Thomas International Regatta. I commend the St. Thomas Yacht Club for ensuring that COVID-19 protocols are in place so competitors and spectators can safely enjoy the action both on and off our waters. We encourage everyone to comply with the Territory's safety measures as they navigate our islands, experience our beautiful waters, rich history and culture, and the warmth of our people," says Joseph Boschulte, Commissioner of Tourism, U.S. Virgin Islands.

COVID-safe top of mind

Sound COVID-19 protocols implemented by the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands have kept infection rates low. Key among these is that every traveler, age 5 and older, entering the territory by air or sea, is required to use the USVI Travel Screening Portal and submit a COVID-19 test result before travel. On arrival, social distancing is the rule and, in most businesses, 'No Mask, No Service' is in force.

At STIR, social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand sanitization stations are among COVID-19 protocols. On the water, crews in boats such as the one-design IC24 are limited to three this year, and bigger boat classes will remain in social bubbles throughout the regatta. Onshore, there will be staggered class finishes especially on the final day with two awards ceremonies planned. Beverage stations will be set up in different locations on the STYC property to prevent exceeding the currently mandated COVID capacity. Plus, sailors will be encouraged to spread out and sample the many St. Thomas restaurants rather than crowding at the Club in the evenings. The local business community has long supported STIR and organizers want to again reciprocate in these challenging times.

Who's racing

Nearly 30 yachts were registered for STIR 2021 at the beginning of February, with several more expected to enter. Classes include CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association) Racing, CSA Non-Spinnaker, One-Design IC24, One-Design Hobie Wave, and PHRF. The PHRF class, which does not require a CSA handicap to enter, is ideal for the many cruising boats now in Virgin Islands waters.

The big boat CSA Racing Class entries include Fox, a Botin 52 owned by the USA's Victor Wild, a member of the New York Yacht Club; Liquid, the perpetually podium placing J/122 raced by Antigua's Pamala Baldwin; and Blitz, St. Thomas' Peter Corr's highly competitive King 40.

"Sailing in the Virgin Islands is magical. The weather is beautiful, the trade winds are very good and strong, the water is warm, and the people are amazing. Having no Caribbean racing last year, we were all looking forward to a great season in 2021. Racing with the Caribbean rules and numbers determines the boats in each class and the races are very close. That says a lot about the competition," says Corr.

Likely the largest class in STIR 2021 will be the One-Design IC24s with near 20 entries. Chicago, Illinois' Joe Hummel, his wife and friends will charter an IC from the St. Thomas Sailing Center (STSC) to race.

"My wife and I are avid sailors and sail our C&C 115 on Lake Michigan. In the off-season, we try to get out sailing and typically visit St. Pete in February and the Caribbean in March. Four of us will be racing, and since the crew is limited to 3 this year, we'll be rotating one off each day. Given the 2 feet of snow and freezing temperatures at home, you can imagine how much we're looking forward to sailing and enjoying USVI and in particular STYC."

The single-handed Hobie Wave class offers fun for weekend and family sailors. St. Thomas' father and son, Mark and Julian van den Driessche are both sailing Waves.

"I'm looking forward to sailing in St. Thomas' usual 12 to 15 knots of breeze. My 19-year-old son will be in the fleet and I am hoping that there will be a little intrafamily competition on the course," says Mark, the senior van den Driessche.

"What I love about Hobies is that they're the gateway to sailing. People who have no experience in sailing can learn easily. It was one of the only boats I had sailed in 2020 and 2021 so far. I don't think I could've got through 2020 If it wasn't for Hobie racing, the Thursday night race series and the people who participated in it," says Julian.

There are several types of race boats available to charter for STIR 2021. These include IC24s and Hobie Waves from the STSC. The UK's LV Yachting Ltd. is chartering its Pata Negra (Marc Lombard 46), Sailplane 3 (Mat 12), Phan (GP42), Addictive Sailing (a TS5 catamaran), and Escapado (Beneteau First 40.7) for STIR 2021. Perennial podium placer, El Ocaso (J/122) is available from Caribbean Yacht Racing. OnDeck based in Antigua is chartering its Spirit of Juno (Farr 65) by the individual crew spot and Ortac (Beneteau First 40.7) for whole boat race charters. Plus, J-aguar (J/120) can be chartered by the whole boat or individual crew spots from St. Lucia-based Caribbean Races.

Getting here is easy

Traveling to St. Thomas is easy! The following airlines fly direct from major U.S. cities: American (Charlotte, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Philadelphia), Delta (Atlanta, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York), Frontier (Orlando), JetBlue (Boston, San Juan), Spirit (Fort Lauderdale), Sun Country (Minneapolis-St. Paul) and United (Houston, Chicago, Newark, Washington Dulles). Airlines connecting St. Thomas to the Caribbean include Air Sunshine, Cape Air and Silver/Seaborne Airlines.

Available accommodations on St. Thomas in the Cowpet Bay area where the regatta takes place include hotels, B&Bs, resorts, villas, condos, VRBO rentals and Airbnb's. For more information, visit: www.visitusvi.com and www.usvihta.com

Notice of Race (NOR) and registration here

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
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 day 1
USVI perfect sailing conditions 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 Posted on 28 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
Coast Guard Foundation FOOTER 3Highfield Boats - SW - FOOTERMcConaghy Boats 2021 - FOOTER