Twenty-Two Boats Ready to Compete in First St. Thomas Yacht Club Invitational Regatta this Weekend

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. 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 sponsored by Leatherback Brewing Co. and MUTINY Island Vodka. COVID-19 protective measures such as social-distancing via crew limited to double-handed on IC24s and single-handed on Hobie Waves, plus face buffs as required racing attire, will be in effect for this two-day event as directed by the USVI Government’s Open Doors phase. Run out of the Club’s St. Thomas Sailing Center (STSC) in Cowpet Bay, this inaugural regatta celebrates sailing as an ideal socially distanced sport and the seas surrounding the U.S. Virgin Islands as the best place in the world to race.

Keen Competition in IC24 Class

The 13-boat IC24 Class, a one-design innovated at the STYC and converted from J/24s, packs a lot of talent and competition will be keen.

“We’re looking forward to having the sailing community back together and having some fun,” says Eric Cusin, who got his start sailing Optimist dinghies off his home waters of St. Croix, USVI. Cusin will have his hand on the tiller while crew Peter Nielsen works the foredeck.

The BVI’s Ted Reshetiloff will race with his 17-year-old son, Max, as crew. The regatta will be an extra special occasion since the two recently endured a two month plus COVID-19 separation.

“My family and I live aboard our sailboat at Nanny Cay and we had just purchased a new to us boat,” Reshetiloff explains. “We had it shipped from Singapore to Miami and I left in March to sail the new boat to the BVI with some crew. While at sea, the BVI borders closed and I was forced to divert to the USVI. I’ve been living aboard by myself since arriving March 29 but was just reunited with my family last Sunday, Father’s Day! So, I am very much looking forward to time on the water with my son.”

Peter Sernhede, who hails from Sweden, will benefit from local knowledge by racing with St. Thomas’ Cory Brown as crew.

“There are some things in life you just can’t get to much of and sailing is one of them. Then to be able to do so in these fantastic surroundings and waters is just such a pleasure. As a bonus this is a regatta, so I am hoping for good results to take to my home yacht club, Sunneskärs Båtsällskap,” says Sernhede.

St. Thomas’ Mike Finley, John Foster, Bill McConnell and Chuck Pessler; St. John’s Jarrett Altmin and Jasper Moon; Puerto Rico’s Jaime Balzac and Fraito Lugo; and Dave Franzel from the USA will round out the IC24 class.

Hobies Take to the Waves

Nine sailors will race one-design in 13-foot long two-hull Hobie Waves.

“Just sailing again even with social distancing, that’s what I’m looking forward to,” says St. Thomas’ Joyce Campbell. “This event is the first step in reinventing our sport in the new COVID-19 environment.”

St. Thomas’ Marcus Compton is especially happy to sail a Hobie Wave in competition.

“I didn’t sail the Hobie Wave at first because I figured it performed like a hotel rental boat for visitors. Big mistake. The more I sail it, the more I realize you make the boat do what you want it to. You squeeze performance out of it. The Wave planes lively in breeze and it handles a lot of breeze well. It also moves nicely in very light winds, which is definitely my favorite,” says Compton, a second-generation sailor and avid windsurfer.

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.

Learn to Sail

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.

Strong Sponsor Support

The STYC Invitational Regatta is the newest of the events hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club, which also includes the St. Thomas International Regatta, International Optimist Regatta, and a match race. The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism is a strong supporter of all these events.

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.

“We are happy for the opportunity to participate in the STYC Invitational Regatta. This event makes our close community stand out in the Caribbean and brings us all together. We always excited to support our local community!” says Todd Manley, CEO and Founder of MUTINY Island Vodka.

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 company will feature its MUTINY Island Vodka and its crafty infusions including Smoked Hot Pepper, Cold Pressed Coffee, and the new ROOTS edition featuring local roots of Ginger and Turmeric at the event.

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

CSA Launches Fundraiser to assist for development of Caribbean Wide Learn to Sail Programme

The Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) is seeking funding to establish a Caribbean wide sail-training program that will provide a creditable training resource for sailing associations, sailing schools and yacht clubs throughout the region to teach, promote, and grow sailing participation.

Resilience of the Caribbean region is a collective objective worked on by many leaders and organisations, and the Caribbean Sailing Association is no exception. For the last six years sailing development has been a key objective of the association. A major challenge identified has been the inconsistency of learn to sail programmes across the region and lack of funding and ability to access them in some cases.

This programme, with the working title Sailing 4 Success,  will provide an identifiable pathway for Caribbean nationals to discover sailing, develop competencies and then remain lifetime sailors.   It will be developed by Caribbean sailors for Caribbean Sailors.

The pathway will align learning to sail with the life opportunities sailing offers the communities of the Caribbean; careers, marine conservation, coaching, performance sailing and recreational activity.

The developed training resources will be aligned to support and promote regional marine conservation.  This will be achieved through the agreed partnership with the Sailors for the Sea KELP program.

The global Coronavirus pandemic is ensuring very challenging times lie ahead for the fragile local Caribbean island sailing communities. The Sailing for Success project will offer this workforce a lifeline of resilience as they are recruited to take part in the remote training and development of resources for the program.

President of the CSA, Alison Sly-Adams, says of the programme, ‘In comparison to first world countries, a main objective for many islanders to enter the sport of sailing is for the career opportunities. This programme will help break down the perceived barriers of our people from seeing yachting as a viable and accessible career option which is so important to building resilience of the industry island by island.’

More information and details on how to donate to the programme can be found on www.caribbean-sailing.com/sailing4success.

 

Fope Women’s Sailing Team Highlighted 2nd Annual Caribbean Multihull Challenge

The Caribbean Multihull Challenge has now established itself as the major annual event for racing and cruising catamarans and trimarans throughout the islands. And in keeping with that position of leadership, for the first time, the fleet in last February’s event included the Fope Women’s Sailing Team, an all-girl international crew sponsored by Fope Fine Italian Jewelry (www.fope.com); a natural fit as Fope’s beautiful pieces can be worn as active wear in action sports. It was an ideal match for everyone.

And the Fope crew held up their end of the bargain. Sailing the Leopard 47, Seaduction, and skippered by highly experienced St. Maarten sailor Stephane Ferron, the team met and overcame several challenges in the windy regatta to earn the event’s Spirit & Style prize. There’s no question the women competed with plenty of both.

Stephane, the daughter of local sailing legends Robbie Ferron and Cary Lee Byerley, obviously comes from a terrific sailing family. She further honed her skills during a decade working as a professional sailor racing and cruising massive yachts before returning to St. Maarten and taking a position with Budget Marine, the company her father founded. That background made her the perfect choice to command the Fope Women’s Team.

“Those ten years gave me a lot more confidence than I had before,” she said. “It also opened my eyes to the male dominance in the sailing world. It’s actually shocking how little confidence women have, which is one of the main reasons I did this regatta with an all-girls team.”

The crew Stephane assembled was a strong one, ranging in age from 14 to 64, with all levels of sailing experience and from all walks of life. “Jordan was the youngest, she’s from South Africa and was traveling around the world with her family,” said Stephane. “She’s a good sailor so I put her on tactics because I thought if she could master the skill of confidence and speaking up then I think she’ll really be able to go for it, and she did that.” Another crew member was “a lawyer who had never sailed before, but she was keen to join in and did everything she was asked to do.”

There was a fair bit of adversity to overcome during the course of the event: the jib furler line was lost, the traveler broke and, during one windy race, Stephane said, “We lost our steering during a tack. I was actually able to fix the steering cable myself which was something I’d never done before. So definitely an improvement there with my engineering skills! But despite it all we were able to keep going and keep coming back. I’m proud of what we did.”

Stephane also said that Fope and their local retailer Ballerina Jewelers was a fine, supportive sponsor. “I’m not sure they knew what they were getting into,” she laughed. “They got us some nice shirts and their presence was there throughout the regatta. I think they were very happy. They sold some jewelry and who doesn’t want a group of nice ladies at the after-race parties wearing their gear and posing for pictures? I think the Fope brand works well for women’s sporting events. The jewelry is very nice and is designed to be worn at all times and not taken off while sailing. It was a good fit.”

Stephane says she’d love to do it again for next year’s third annual CMC. “Yes, for sure,” she said. “I’d spend more time preparing, planning and practicing so we’d really be ready.”

In the meantime, the Fope Women’s Team made history, and empowered and enabled a great group of sailors to participate in the process. That’s what’s called a win/win situation. If ever there was an inclusive regatta, for multihulls and those who love them alike, it’s the Caribbean Multihull Challenge. Next year’s running is scheduled for February 5-7, 2021. Mark it on your calendar now.

First St. Thomas Yacht Club Invitational Regatta Set for June 27-28, 2020

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The first annual St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) Invitational Regatta sponsored by Leatherback Brewing Co. will take place on June 27 to 28, 2020. Run out of the Club’s St. Thomas Sailing Center (STSC) in Cowpet Bay, this inaugural event welcomes 11 teams representing all three U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S.A., and Sweden. COVID-19 safety precautions will be in place per the USVI Government’s Open Doors phase. Crews are limited to two in the IC24 and will race jib and main, thus eliminating extra crew needed to fly a spinnaker. Plus, sailors will wear facial buffs while sailing. Additionally, there will be a single-handed Hobie Waves class, thus enabling additional sailors to participate. The STYC Invitational Regatta ticks key boxes at this crucial time: sailing is a healthful activity that’s easy to socially distance, the invitational nature promotes a rebound of the territory’s marine tourism, and the format tests the waters for a future larger international event in this ‘new normal’ era. Best of all, the event makes use of and showcases one of the U.S. Virgin Islands’ signature and most valuable assets – the surrounding seas. The Regatta will also commemorate a perpetual trophy awarded to the winning teams dedicated to Rudy Thomson and Dick Avery for their long-standing contributions to STYC and Olympic racing inspiring sailors of all ages.

“Sailing is socially distancing at its best,” says Chris Rosenberg, STYC rear commodore, regatta founder and innovator of the IC24 (Inter-Club 24) design with boatbuilder Morgan Avery. “The whole idea of creating the IC24 in 2001, after successive hurricanes damaged much of the racing fleet, is that it makes it possible to host regattas with a fleet of identical club owned boats, where teams can fly in, jump aboard and race.”

Teams confirmed to compete in the 2020 STYC Invitational Regatta include Eric Cusin, St. Croix; Ted Reshetiloff, BVI; Marco Teixidor, Efrain ‘Fraito’ Lugo and Jaime Balzac from Puerto Rico; Dave Franzel, U.S.A.; and Peter Sernhede, Sweden.

The 2020 STYC Invitational Regatta tests the waters for a larger event in future years where teams from yacht clubs throughout the Caribbean, U.S.A, and Europe will be invited to race. Starting in 2021, the STIR Invitational Regatta will move to a permanent date of the third week in May, May 14-16. This time coincides with the wrap-up of the Caribbean race season and creates an extension to the territory’s tourism season, a win-win. In the future, there will be an opportunity for spectators to watch the racing.

The STYC Invitational Regatta is the newest of the events hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club, which also includes the St. Thomas International Regatta, International Optimist Regatta, and a match race.

Learn to Sail

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.

Strong Sponsor Support

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.

“We are excited to be a part of the first STYC Invitational Regatta! We truly love supporting the active and responsible enjoyment of our great outdoors. We are excited to be more involved in events on St. Thomas as we near the opening of our new Tasting Room and brewery,” says Packy Gilbert, managing partner of the Leatherback Brewing Company with Aaron Hutchins.

Leatherback Brewing Company brews and packages craft beer in the Virgin Islands with both traditional and uniquely Caribbean ingredients. The company recently began a limited release series and will be featuring its current selection, Acerola Cherry Hefe along with its four flagships at the regatta.

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 company will feature its MUTINY Island Vodka and its crafty infusions including Smoked Hot Pepper, Cold Pressed Coffee, and the new ROOTS edition featuring local roots of Ginger and Turmeric at the event.

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

Media Contact:
Carol Bareuther
Tel: 340-998-3650
bareuther@earthlink.net

Orma 60 Areté is first 2021 Caribbean Multihull Challenge Entry

It was a quiet April Saturday in locked down Sint Maarten, when Petro Jonker – Chair of the Caribbean Multihull Challenge steering committee (organized by the Sint Maarten Yacht Club in 2019) called to tell me that his friend Rick Warner, owner of the very fast ORMA 60 trimaran Areté, is planning to sail south from his home port in Detroit to compete in the 3rd annual CMC set for the first weekend of February 2021. Petro told me with joy in his voice that Areté will be the first entry in the 2021 regatta; AND the first entry in the event’s new Caribbean 60 Mile Multihull Sprint. My spirits soared, and I asked Petro when we could get Rick on the phone for us to learn about Areté and The Coral Project which is sponsoring Arete’s “Race Against Time” bringing awareness to actions that are saving coral reefs in the Caribbean and around the world. In a minute we set up a conference call for the next day and our plans were set in motion.

Areté is an Orma 60 trimaran designed by Marc Lombard and built in France in 2002 of carbon fiber with a Nomex core. The boat was purchased by Rick in the spring of 2015, and sailed from France to her summer home on the Great Lakes. In summer 2020, Areté and The Coral Project team lead by Rick and David Norton – another accomplished and well known sailor — will sail in Lake Michigan in an attempt to beat the Chicago to Mackinac World Sailing Speed Record https://sailinganarchy.com/2019/09/16/nice-try-tri/ The effort will promote The Coral Project which is working, alongside a global group of partners, to support the planting and growth of resilient coral in the Caribbean and elsewhere.

Their overall mission is to help save coral reefs around the world in what they describe as a Race Against Time. With 90% of coral expected to die by 2050, they believe the time to act is now. Coral is crucial for a healthy ocean and Rick, David, and their partners have committed to educating and actually making a difference for the future. Rick Warner states, “not only are we racing against actual time for the world record, we are racing against time to save the world’s corals.” https://thecoralproject.com/

This summer, plans to integrate the three-day Caribbean Multihull Challenge and its included 60 Mile Sprint with features of the Coral Project will be announced. According to Stephen Burzon, Director of Marketing for the CMC….”Anything and everything we can do to support The Coral Project will be good for our oceans, our sailors, and our event. We can raise funds for the project via the sale of project merchandise; and we can create extra world-wide interest via joint promotions with competitors and sponsors. Stay tuned for the fun details”.

Pamala Baldwin’s Team Liquid Wins the 2020 CSA Traveller’s Trophy

The CSA is delighted to announce that for the second year running the CSA Traveller’s Trophy has been won by Antigua based Pamala Baldwins’ Team Liquid. Although the racing season was cut short due to the worldwide Covid-19 Pandemic, Team Liquid had already earned a class win in CSA 1 at Grenada Sailing Week, second in CSA 2 in the RORC Caribbean 600 and second in CSA 3 at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.

CSA President Alison Sly-Adams called Pamala to give her the good news. Of the news, Pamala said, “I am so happy to win this for the second year. Skipper Jules White and I, and the rest of the crew, came together so well at the start of the season. We were confident without being complacent this year and we felt the team dynamics had fallen into place well. We had high hopes for the series for the season so we are delighted to hear that we have won. I am already looking forward to the 2021 season and seeing if we can make it a hat-trick. Thank you so much for the good news right now.”

Pamala joins a long list of famous winners of the trophy including many famous Caribbean sailors and those based in the region for the season such as Jamie Dobbs, John Foster, Hugh Bailey, Bernie Evan-Wong, Dougie Myers, Tom Hill, Scott Ledbetter, Andrew Birk, Jaime Torres and of course Sandy Mair, the creator of the trophy.

The CSA Traveller’s Trophy has been awarded for more than 20 years as a way of awarding excellence in yacht racing performance as well as effort in terms of travelling to away regattas.

To qualify for the Trophy, a boat must participate in a minimum of three regattas of which at least one must be in an away region and at least one a major event. Boats accumulate points over the season so that by season’s end an overall winner – “Caribbean Best Boat” – will emerge. Final totals are assessed at Antigua Sailing Week with the winner being announced and the trophy is awarded at the Antigua Sailing Week final awards presentation if the winner is in Antigua. Today would have been the prize giving of Antigua Sailing Week 2020 and therefore in line with tradition, the CSA decided to announce the winner.

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© Caribbean Sailing Association 2018