Feb. 13, 2004 – The three-day weekend will see lots of sails in the waters of Buck Island Channel as the St. Croix Yacht Club hosts the 11th annual St. Croix International Regatta. It's the season's first race in the CORT – the Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle – series, which has been part of the racing scene since the early 1980s.
Hundreds of volunteer hours are invested on St. Croix to be sure sailors have a good race and a great experience while on-island, regatta director Julie San Martin said.
Innovative Communications Corp. is the primary sponsor again this year, a release said. All sailors are welcome, and Yacht Club membership is not a requirement for participation. Cruzan Rum also has a featured role.
"The winning skipper will receive his weight in Cruzan Rum, and every captain gets a fifth of Cruzan in his goodie bag," San Martin said.
The weekend kicks off Friday evening with a welcome party from 6 to 8 p.m. at the yacht club at Teague Bay. Sailors from St. Thomas, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, other Caribbean islands including Antigua and Sint Maarten, and stateside (even snowy New Hampshire), will be welcomed alongside those of St. Croix. Divi Carina Bay Resort has offered sailors and their families a special rate.
"Most everyone who competed last year will return," San Martin said.
Added to the program this year is the St. Croix Valentine Optimist Regatta, a small-boat race off the yacht club beach for sailors under age 16. The Optimist race will be held Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 a.m. both days, with prizes to be given out at 3 p.m. Sunday.
"We are expecting 15 to 20 Optis, including two from Frederiksted coached by Susan Allick," San Martin said. The primary race official for the Opti race will be the St. Croix Yacht Club commodore, Karen Stanton. At least half the Opti sailors are expected to be from St. Thomas.
Big-boat racing starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Classes are racing, racer/cruiser, jib & main, beach cat, and large multihull.
Multihull racing "represents a large percentage" of the regatta's makeup, according to San Martin, whose husband, Joe, won the class in 2003 in his boat Piglet.
Although it's a small race by international standards, the regatta has a high-quality race committee and follows International Yacht Racing Union rules. Bob Phillips from Tortola will be the primary race official.
Among local sailors expected to compete are Llewellyn Westerman aboard Charis, Nick Castruccio on Annick II, Jeff Fangman on El Shaddai II and Morgan Dale on Sorceress.
The overall 2003 winner was Antigua Yacht Club's Shannon Falcone, skipper of Caccia Alla Volpe.
For information and a program of events, visit the St. Croix Yacht Club Web site. For more about the CORT racing series, see Cape Air's 2003 CORT Web site.
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