A near-record 110 sailors, ages 8 to 15, from five countries, will race 8-foot long, single-sail Optimist dinghies in the TOTE Maritime Clinic, June 11-13, the TOTE Maritime Team Race, June 14, and the International Optimist Regatta (IOR). presented by Electronic Merchant System from June 15-17. The trio of events is the largest annual little boat regatta in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean. What makes it unique is the combination of instruction, team and fleet racing all in one week, which includes beginners and advanced sailors alike.
“We’re pleased to welcome this number of international sailors, which means another excellent year, great competition and an opportunity for our junior competitors to renew and make new friendships,” says Hollis Jenkins, regatta director. “Now in its third decade, we are very proud that several of the past winners and participants of the IOR, presented by EMS Virgin Islands, have gone on to become college All-Americans, and on the world sailing stage, first ranked match racers, one-design class world champions, Olympians and team members of America’s Cup campaigns.”
One sailor to watch this year is Stephen Baker, from the
Lauderdale Yacht Club in Florida. Baker finished third overall in the 2017 IOR, went on to place 4th in the 2017 Optimist World Championships in Thailand last July, and he most recently won the Optimist South American Championships in March in Uruguay. Baker will be joined by fellow U.S. National Team members: Peter Foley (Coral Reef Yacht Club, Florida), Thommie Grit (Sarasota Yacht Club, Florida), Ryan Satterberg (Santa Barbara Yacht Club, California) and Tommy Sitzmann (Lauderdale Yacht Club, Florida).
These sailors and the rest of the championship fleet will be up against tough competition from U.S. Virgin Islands sailors. These include St. Thomas’ Caroline Sibilly, who won the Pan Pepin International Dinghy Regatta in February in Puerto Rico and placed 32nd in the Gold Fleet at the Optimist South American Championships. Other talented USVI sailors competing in the IOR are St. John’s Winn Majette, who won the Silver Fleet at the Optimist South Americans, and St. Thomas’ Tanner Krygsveld, who championed the Optimist class at the BVI Dinghy Championships last month.
Over a dozen teams are expected for the TOTE Maritime Team Race, on June 14. The entry fee for this one-day event is $160 per team of four sailors. Registration is available only on-site from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 13.
“We are inspired when our business partners invest in the health, happiness and growth of their communities. EMS Virgin Islands’ continued commitment to the island community by presenting the 26th IOR will surely brighten and enrich the lives of many residents as well as the visitors it brings. The hardships that the island has endured over the past year have also impacted the staff at EMS Virgin Islands, but we are determined to help bring the economy and community back,” said owner Cobia Fagan.
A Breakaway Charters boat will be available for spectating. The cost is $80 per person on Friday and Saturday and $40 per person on Sunday. Drinks and snacks will be provided.
For information or reservations, call: 775-1171
Social activities will include the Parade of Nations and Welcome Party on June 14 and Father’s Day Brunch and Awards Ceremony on June 17.
Trophies will be awarded to the top five sailors in each fleet and top three overall. Additional trophies include the Peter Ives’ Perpetual Trophy, the Chuck Fuller Sportsmanship Award and the top female sailor. The Sea Star Perpetual Trophy will be inscribed with the names of the sailors on the winning team racing team. A new Perpetual Trophy, introduced last year, is inscribed with the overall winners from the past 25 years.
The IOR is sponsored by EMS Virgin Islands, TOTE Maritime, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, K3 Waterproof Gear and TRIO Sportswear.
For more information, call 513-2234 or email: [email protected]. For the Notice of Regatta, Registration Form and Results, visit the St. Thomas Yacht Club website at www.styc.club or www.regattanetwork.com