MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE
Now is the time of year when sailors from the U.S. and Europe plan their trips to the Caribbean to participate in one or more of the popular island regattas traditionally held there every Spring. Not all Caribbean regattas are created equal, however. Savvy sailors know that the International Rolex Regatta, hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club and scheduled for Friday, March 26 through Sunday, March 28, 2010, has an offering that goes beyond just beach parties and jump-up bands. The International Rolex Regatta guarantees exceptional racing by virtue of its dependable trade winds and, even more important, a professional race management team.
The International Rolex Regatta is the only major Caribbean regatta that is run by a yacht club, so competing sailors may be certain that the organizers know a thing or two about what the “whole package” should be. Absolute proof that this is the case will always be in the eventual entry line-up, and this year anticipated headliners are Jim Mitchell (SUI), returning with his Reichel Pugh 52 Vincitore to defend his 2009 title, and Tom Hill (Puerto Rico), returning to reclaim the past glory of multiple Titan victories with his latest steed, Titan 15, a Reichel Pugh 75. Also expected back is Phil Lotz (New Canaan, Conn./Newport, R.I.), who finished second in class with his Swan 42 Arethusa.
Among the highlights of the regatta are the spectacular race courses that thread their way through and around the cuts, cays and islands off the east end of St. Thomas. Competitors also enjoy the now famous “town races,” which take the fleet from St. Thomas Yacht Club right into the heart of the bustling commercial harbour of Charlotte Amalie. On shore, crews are well looked after with a variety of social gatherings, including a reggae music concert and food festival, along with traditional beach parties at the club.
The Notice of Race for the 2010 International Rolex Regatta has been published and is available for download at www.rolexcupregatta.com, where online registration is also now open. This year, registration has been integrated with Yachtscoring.com, making it easier to sign up and follow the current entries, competitor updates and results for the regatta. During the event, Yachtscoring.com will provide real-time race information, including blog updates and live results, which will be scrolled on large screens at the yacht club, making for lively post-racing discussions.
St. Thomas Yacht Club has continued its efforts to make sure all competing yachts are offered appropriate facilities. Once again, free dockage and container storage will be available during the regatta at Island Global Yachting's American Yacht Harbor and Yacht Haven Grande for boats that prefer to be at a marina facility rather than anchored off the Club. The Club has also teamed up with WICO (The West Indian Company, Ltd.) to offer dry storage in advance of the regatta season at the company's facility in Charlotte Amalie Harbour. Interested competitors should contact Event Co-Director Bill Canfield for assistance with all logistical requirements.
“Aligning ourselves with major players in the community and engaging ourselves with the teams and their needs are strategies that can only enhance the competitor experience here,” said Event Co-Chair John Sweeney.
The international Rolex Regatta typically hosts classes for IRC, CSA (Spinnaker Racing, Spinnaker Racing/Cruising and Non-Spinnaker Racing), One-Design IC 24s and Beach Cats. IRR remains a part of the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series and directly precedes the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, which is held next door and links the two to make Virgin Islands Race Week.
The event has been hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club for 36 years and is the oldest regatta in Rolex's portfolio of international sailing events. Rolex is known for sponsoring famous offshore and grand-prix events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Giraglia Rolex Cup, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship.
A.H. Riise, Official Retailer of Rolex watches in the U.S. Virgin Islands, takes an active role in sponsorship of the event. The St. Thomas shop is one of the largest in the Caribbean and is located on the historic waterfront of downtown Charlotte Amalie. Island Global Yachting and USVI Tourism are also sponsors of the event. Marriott Frenchman's Reef Hotel, Mount Gay Rum and Heineken are supporters.