78.5 F
Charlotte Amalie
Friday, December 1, 2023


Sailing skill blended with good choices and a few moments of good fortune gave the 26thAnnual International Rolex Cup Regatta to defending champion Chris Rosenberg sailing Marriott Frenchman's Reef.
The cancellation of Saturday's racing due to lack of wind made the two races on Sunday vital to the fleet leaders and the many class competitors.
The Race Committee selected a course located in Pillsbury Sound between St. Thomas and St. John, oriented on a north-south axis due to the unusual north winds. This made the St. John ferry a grandstand for the colorful show, but placed one mark in the wind shadow of Mingo Cay at the northern end of the course.
The Mingo mark became the "make or break" spot of the race course. The order of boats approaching the mark would be shuffled completely as some boats "parked" and others drifted smoothly through the maddening area. The top sailors appeared to make their own luck as most of the leading boats did not get stuck for too long.
Four boats stood at the top of the leader board at the end of the first race on Sunday. Twister had a total of three points, Frenchman's Reef followed with five, Mermaid II with seven, and Crash Test Dummies with nine. Heineken, another leader after the first day, suffered a broken mast in the first race.
The last race became decisive with any of those four able to take the crown. Each of these boats was also involved in tough class competition as well. Twister, Mermaid II, and Crash Test Dummies were all sailing for the top spot in Class A, and Frenchman's Reef was leading the highly competitive Melges 24 class. The race committee moved the Mingo mark slightly to account for a minor change in the wind direction and the final race of the 1999 Rolex Regatta was underway.
Rosenberg and crew started in the middle of the Melges class, working slowly toward the lead and rounding the bottom mark only a boat length ahead of the tightly packed group. BVI Olympic sailor Robbie Hirst was calling the tactics on Frenchman's Reef and his choices stretched the lead to more than a minute at the Mingo mark. The following Melges class boats rounded in a crowd of several other classes while Frenchman's Reef sailed in clean air to finish first in class.
There was nothing the crew could do but stare at their stop watches and try to calculate the handicap formula mathematics as the Class A boats finished. The numbers were too close to tell out on the water.
It was nail biting time until the final award given out at the Wyndham Sugar Bay Awards Ceremony. The Class A protests had been settled and the winner of the 1999 International Rolex Cup Regatta was Chris Rosenberg and the crew of Marriott Frenchman's Reef.
For complete results for every class click on rolexregatta.vi

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.