The 36th running of the International Rolex Regatta is sure to build on its successes last year, which included the addition of IRC racing and joining with the BVI Spring Regatta to offer the inaugural Virgin Islands Race Week. The event is part of the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series and also hosts classes for CSA ("Caribbean Rule") racing as well as one-designs, beach cats and large multihulls.
“We’ve proudly hosted this regatta since 1974," said William Newbold, Commodore of St. Thomas Yacht Club. "Over three days, the finest yachtsmen and yachtswomen from around the Caribbean, United States, and Europe join in world-class racing in a spectacular environment, which includes the warm, clear waters surrounding our Club. It’s an adventurous way to get a jump on their summer sailing season."
Veteran competitor Bill Alcott of Detroit, Michigan, who owns the 68-foot yacht Equation, counts the International Rolex Regatta as "one of the highlights of my life and love of competition and the sea–I wouldn’t miss it for the world."
America’s Cup veteran Peter Holmberg, who calls St. Thomas home, is one of the more famous local sailors who attends, while last year Norbert Plambeck, from Cuxhaven, Germany, came from farthest abroad to sail his Frers 80 Hexe.
"The hotly contested one-design racing on the St. James Circle returns," said Regatta Co-Chair John Sweeney, "and now that we have IRC off the ground, we expect an increase in those boats on the Ocean Circle." Sweeney added that the picturesque distance race from the east end of St. Thomas to Charlotte Amalie Harbor and back has established itself as an Island tradition. Also highlighting the regatta is the beautiful yet tactically demanding Pillsbury Sound Race in and among the cays between St. Thomas and St. John. This "Sunday drive" has decided final standings in most classes each of the last four years.
After racing, beachside social activities blend St. Thomas Yacht Club’s island-style hospitality with camaraderie and competition. The finishing touch is the presentation of Rolex timepieces to winners of qualifying classes. A.H. Riise, Official Retailer of Rolex watches in the U.S. Virgin Islands, takes an active role in sponsorship of the event.
While most of the yachts moor or anchor (or rest on the beach, as is the case with the Beach Cats) within St. Thomas Yacht Club’s watery backyard of Cowpet Bay, the posh new Yacht Haven Grande Marina in Charlotte Amalie can be second home to any boats that prefer full-service facilities.
Preview submitted by International Rolex Regatta