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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, February 21, 2024


The 26th annual International Rolex Regatta will start racing on Friday, April 2. Pre race estimates place around 90 boats on the race course when the action starts.
Top boats and crews have had their warm up time in St. Maarten and Puerto Rico in the past few weeks, now the action moves to St. Thomas and gets serious.
For Rolex Regatta watchers, the good news is the return of the Coral World race, usually sailed on Easter Sunday. This race is sailed in Pilsbury Sound on St. Thomas' north east side allowing land bound spectators to view the colorful action from several beaches as well as the Coral World site.
Ten classes will be competing in the Rolex Regatta, with each class winner receiving a Rolex watch. The Rolex champion will be selected from one of the Spinnaker Racing classes.
Although the composition of each class will not be revealed until the skipper's meeting Thursday night some of top contenders are known
Expect close action in the Rolex's first separate Melges 24 class. Three past Rolex winners, defending champion Chris Rosenberg aboard Marriott Frenchman's Reef, Peter Holmberg crewing on Sassy Lady, and Tony Teixidor on Gamberro will join hot Melges sailors Barney Crook of Tortola and Fritz Bus of St. Maarten in the little carbon fiber speedsters.
The conditions don't always favor the small boats though, and there are lots of other classes with fast boats ready to fight their way to the top.
Another hot class of boats at 35 to 40 feet will contain the Puerto Rico Heineken Cup winner from Trinidad, Crash Test Dummies, St. Maarten Heineken Regatta winner Twister from the USA, Sheerness with Rolex Yachtswoman of the year Betsy Allison leading a female team, and Mermaid II a former Rolex winner as Titan IV.
A group around 30 feet has a good chance as well with former Rolex champion John Foster on his J-27 Magnificent 7, Jack Bishop of St. Croix on a J-29 Broken Drum, and Kevin Rowlette of Tortola on his Olsen 30 Rushin Rowlette.
The classic small race boat of the Caribbean is the J-24 with several Rolex wins in the late 70's. This class is as strong as ever with top sailors from Puerto Rico and Venezuela jockeying for top finishes.

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