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50th St. Thomas International Regatta Overall

by Carol Bareuther 1 Apr 02:39 UTC March 29-31, 2024
Flying Jenny, foreground, wins the CSA 1 Class, with second place ShotGunn (middle) and third place M2 (far right) on day 3 of the 50th St. Thomas International Regatta © Ingride Abery

Spinnakers popped up on the horizon like Easter bonnets on parade during the third and final day of racing in the 50th St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR).

The breeze, blowing 10 to 17 knots, gave a glimpse of its traditional easterly tradewinds direction today, a change from the unusual westerly winds that gave sailors a tactical run for their money during the regatta's first two days. While the IC24 Class raced round-the-buoys in Great Bay, the rest of the fleet sailed a nearly 14 nm course that wove round-the-rocks across Pillsbury Sound to the north and south of St. John and back. In the end, Flying Jenny, Apollo, Exodus, Wild T'ing, Bill T and OT the App were class winners.

The winner of the CSA 1 Class, filled with One-Design Cape 31s, wasn't decided until the last leg of the one race of the day and the last of the regatta.

"We knew whoever won would win the regatta," says Rob Greenhalgh, tactician aboard class champ and USA-based Flying Jenny. "There was a hard fight at the start, and we won it by being at the pin end. That was the key for us. However, it was still a battle as the wind changed halfway through the course from off Moravian Point up to Henly Cay. But we crossed the finish line a minute before the other boats in our class."

The UK's Michael Wilson's ShotGunn placed second, with the USA's Marc McMorris on M2, third.

The third time sailing STIR proved a charm for the USA's Donald Nicholson's J121, Apollo, in the CSA 2 Class.

"We had a well-prepared boat, fabulous crew, fair winds, good luck, and the magic of the STIR regatta," says Nicholson, as to the secret to Apollo's success. "We'll be back."

The USA's Trinity IV, a J42 with crew from Tennessee finished second, and the UK-based race charter Beneteau First 40.7, Escapado, third.

In CSA 3, it was Puerto Rico's Keki Figueroa driving his Melges 24, Exodus, which capped the class. It was a podium position in which Figueroa was familiar.

"I won the Hobie class here twenty years ago," says Figueroa. "We sailed an IC24 for a while and now the Melges. My crew and I have been together for a long time. Between that and constantly watching the wind is what gave us the advantage."

Team St. Maarten Island Water World, another Melges 24 with Jan Bus driving ended the regatta as class runner-up. Puerto Rico's Julio Reguero's J35, Umakau, finished third.

St. Thomas sailor, Lawrence Aqui, raced his Dufour 40, Wild T'ing, to the top of the CSA Non-Spinnaker Class.

"Our team has been sailing together over a decade," says Aqui. "That means we know the boat well, what it can and can't do well to go fast. Local knowledge definitely helped, especially avoiding the shallows around the islands."

In second place was Hotel California Too, the USA's Steve Schmidt's Santa Cruz 70, while Trinity VI, the USA's David McDonough's J40, ended third.

The One-Design IC24 Class proved the biggest of STIR with 15 boats and was the class that did the most races with 13 total over three days. St. Thomas' two-time Olympian, Cy Thompson, on Bill T, successfully defended his class-winning title.

"We had conditions this weekend that no one had seen before, but many of the same crew, so our team was spot on for the transitions," says Thompson, whose crew was Maurice Kurg, Eric Cusin, Spencer LeGrande, and Emma Walters.

PJ's Magic Coffee Bus, chartered to race STIR by Guy Williams from New Orleans, placed second. In third was St. Croix Peter Stanton's Big Island.

Finally, the St. Thomas Sailing Center, the racing arm of the STIR-host St. Thomas Yacht Club, chartered its Hobie Waves for STIR in addition to IC24s. Nine Waves teams raced over two days with St. Thomas' Chris Curreri first on OT the App.

"I liked the heavier breeze today and capitalized on it. It was a tough class but a lot of fun," says Curreri who previously won the IC24 Class in STIR.

St. Thomas' double-handers 12-year-old Will Zimmerman and 11-year-old Finn Hodgins, ended as the runners-up with the USA's Mike Compton's Mike's Windsurfing rounding out third.

For full STIR results, visit yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=16227

Strong Sponsor Support

STIR organizers thank the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism; The Moorings; Milagro Tequila, Bacardi Rum, Stoli Vodka, and Leatherback Brewing, distributed by the West Indies Company; Cardow Jewelers, K3, and Ocean Surfari for their strong sponsor support.

STIR 2024 is a Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta, with green initiatives such as paperless event management and a water refill station.

For more information, visit stthomasinternationalregatta.com.

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